Saturday, October 10, 2015

Obituaries, Disasters, and Immunity

There is a game that many of us play when hearing that someone of roughly the same age has passed away. We search for a reason to distinguish the individual from ourselves: "He drank too much." "She was always very tense." "His father died of that." "She smoked."

Organizational and political disasters can also prompt a rush to find an easy explanation that will, we hope, place the victims in a group in which we, of course, would never belong.

The more one studies history, however, the more difficult it is to pretend that we, as individuals and as citizens of a nation, are magically immune from some very real dangers. 

True, we may be at the beginning of a new and exciting era but there is also the chance that we are in Paris in 1938.

More coffee?


Kurt Harden said...

Or Rome around 376. . .

Michael Wade said...


I think many Americans believe that civilization automatically advances, reason inevitably prevails, and that our enemies, if they truly understood us, would wish us well.