Tuesday, February 23, 2016

No Sure Thing

One of the lessons of history is that there is no sure thing. 

Powerful empires have fallen. Brilliant commanders have lost. The list of future presidents and prime ministers later becomes a source of amusement. [Harold Stassen was once a contender. Herbert Hoover was the "boy wonder."]

That is why the assumption that things will miraculously work out is dangerous. With rare exception, the leaders and teams who usher in disaster and downfall are not dummies. They are bright and hard-working. Study the French leadership in 1940. Those men were not fools and yet they made a series of poor decisions that produced a nightmare for their nation.

That should encourage us to approach any election year with caution. We don't score extra points for having good intentions. Our wants and intuition can blind us to our needs. We should have the eye of an auditor, not the passion of a teenager on a first date.

There is another lesson from history. Good things have a habit of arriving slowly. The bad arrive unannounced and can be very difficult to remove from our doorstep.

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