“Optimism is a confidence-man, got up in the garb of hope. Pay him no mind. Some ages are more gullible that way than others, but surely anyone now who believes that we have cause for optimism must be the most self-deceived creature ever to wander across the face of the earth. Our schools do worse than fail to educate; they produce people who are ineducable, and proud in their ignorance. The arts are either dead and forgotten, in free fall, or in the stews, sweating. Our political elites are as tyrannical as Caesar, but nowhere near as capable or patriotic. Our churches are havens of heresy, and the more our leaders err and fail, the more committed they are to the same errors and failures, as witness those incorrigible sorts who wish to emulate every folly that has gutted the liberal churches, as if arsenic would be sugar if only we pretended hard enough.

There is no reason for optimism. There is every reason for hope.”

… “hope, resting upon our sense that the world is good, not evil, can rest in our hearts when optimism-the-confidence-man has been driven out into the darkness where he belongs. For hope, the theological virtue, rests upon what God has promised, and what God has done. His rod, His staff are there to comfort us.”

… “We have a chance then to bring to the world almost the only well-read people around; to save great works of art and human thought, not by drying and freezing them or pinning them to a wall in a museum, but by loving the unloved and keeping their memory alive. Someone must inevitably notice it, and say, “Whatever those Christians are reading, or listening to, or singing, it is more interesting than anything the rest of the world has to offer.””

Anthony Esolen, His Rod, His Staff: Every Reason for Hope

You might also enjoy Hope Surprises God, also via the Eighth Day Institute.