Monday, December 12, 2011

Concord Bridge or Fort Sumter Part IV

Parts I, II, and III are here for those who wish to play along at home.

A while back, Kevin of Smallest Minority posted his thoughts on the future, and more or less concluded we are doomed and at this late date there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. His commenters split into roughly two camps - the optimistic pessimists who believe nothing is written in stone, and while tough times are coming, there is a solid plurality of citizens who will take a stand for freedom - and the pessimistic pessimists who think the collectivists have bored too deeply into the foundations of the culture and have left it ready to to collapse at the merest touch.

While both opinions have something to recommend them, they are both missing elements which leave us vulnerable to preparing for the wrong kind of trouble - and it is important we do prepare, and we do get it right.

It is vital to hold these conversations because no one person's predictions of the future are going to be completely right; they probably won't be even ten percent right, but as events unfold the parts which are correct will become evident and recognized, and hopefully just in time.

That is the other thing, if you are a genius and have predicted the future ten years out, bless your heart. But that's not me - my goal is not to outrun the future, it's to outrun the other guy.

To the pessimistic pessimists, I would offer the following warning: In our darkest moments we can envision every bad thing we see happening being taken to its logical, evil conclusion - all at once. But that's not how it works. History limps along in fits and starts because of how people are. Even the most diabolical plan is subject to the human element - and often fails because those carrying it out are venal, easily distracted by trivia, and sometimes, shockingly stupid. Hard history is on the way, but make sure you are not barricading the door against jack booted thugs who may not be coming at the expense of weather sealing the windows against a winter which definitely is.

And to the optimistic pessimists, all I can say is remember the fake but accurate Pauline Kael quote about not knowing anyone who voted for Nixon, and do not extrapolate the nature of the world from your own experience. You may be sitting comfortably on the right hand side of the bell curve. Your friends and children may have read Hayak, Burke, and Friedman, but educating people about the nature of society and culture, and then bringing them to an understanding of the need to defend the same is done one on one - it is work for and by individuals. Destroying culture and debasing society is being done on an industrialized basis in Hollywood, and virtually every public school and university, and is far easier to boot. The tearing down of things is always always less difficult than building them up.

I hope there is a path between giving too much credit to our enemies and giving too much credit to ourselves and I hope we are clear minded enough to find it.

1 comment:

Kevin Baker said...

Well, I'm glad at least ONE of you is posting! Another excellent effort.