"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." --John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Continuing On The Theme...

...of Hanson's quote below: David Letterman had on his show the other night Tommy Franks, the retired army general who is hawking his autobiography. They had an exchange that I will quote from memory.

Letterman: I believe that on 9/11 the terrorists hit us as hard as they're going to hit us. I don't think there's going to be another attack like that. Am I wrong?

Franks: Dave...I want to be your friend. But you're wrong...

Letterman's belief is pathetic in its naivete, and it is counterintuitive in the extreme, given the evidence we have of attacks planned and thwarted. Wouldn't simultaneous truck bomb attacks on Citigroup, Prudential, the World Bank, the IMF, and the New York Stock Exchange qualify as 9/11-like in their planning, execution, and potential for casualties? Letterman is demonstrating the triumph of hope over experience--the kind of childish thinking to which Hanson refers.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Well Said

"...[W]e have devolved into an infantile society in which our technological successes have wrongly suggested that we can alter the nature of man to our whims and pleasures — just like a child who expects instant gratification from his parents. In a culture where affluence and leisure are seen as birthrights, war, sacrifice, or even the mental fatigue about worrying over such things wear on us. So we construct, in a deductive and anti-empirical way, a play universe that better suits us."

--Victor Davis Hanson