Just as William Voegeli has documented the fact no Big Government ever represents a big-enough government for partisans on the Left, Theodore Dalrymple writes in the latest National Review that you’ll search in vain for an instance in which a would-be reformer will declare victory over the cause of the day and then leave the public stage.

The last thing a professional reformer, that is to say a person who derives his sense of transcendent purpose from directing political change, ever wants is for our journey to end, for there to be fixed and settled principles (such as that marriage is by definition an arrangement between a man and a woman) by which we can live at the end of our life as we lived at its beginning. A professional reformer must be up and doing precisely because he is a reformer, always on the lookout for new moral applecarts to upset. His need to find something to reform is greater than his need to reform anything in particular. As a burglar in prison once protested to me when I asked him whether he was going to give up his life of crime, “How can I give up? I’m a burglar, burgling’s what I do.”