Subconsciously or not, most of us presuppose malice behind failure. This goes doublyfor historical failures, and quadruply for political failures.The daily form of this hisses about “corrupt politicians” (past and present), perhaps about “businessmen and special interests”. The more extreme forms fall into conspiracy theory. Often this is diagnosed as a form of pessimism, especially “pessimism about politics”. That’s wrong; it’s optimism.