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November 15, 2009

Thucydides in the Underworld

Thucydides saw that democracy, once again, imagined itself victorious.
Once again traditions were questioned as men became enamored of their own prowess. It was no wonder they were deluded. They landed men on the moon. They had harnessed the power of the atom. It was no wonder that the arrogance of man had grown so monstrous, that expectations of the future were so unrealistic. Deluded by recent successes, they could not see that dangers were multiplying in plain view. Men built new engines of war, capable of wiping out entire cities, but few took this danger seriously. Why were men so determined to build such weapons? The leading country, of course, was willing to put its weapons aside. Other countries pretended to put their weapons aside. Still others said they weren't building weapons at all, even though they were.

There was one more trend that Thucydides noted. In every free and prosperous country he found a parade of monsters: human beings with oversized egos, with ambitions out of proportion to their ability, whose ideas rather belied their understanding than affirmed it. Whereas, there was one Alcibiades in his own day, there were now hundreds of the like: self-serving, cunning and profane; only they did not possess the skills, or the mental acuity, or beauty of Alcibiades. Instead of being exiled, they pushed men of good sense from the center of affairs. Instead of being right about strategy and tactics, they were always wrong. And they were weak, he thought, because they had learned to be bad by the example of others. There was nothing novel about them, although they believed themselves to be original in all things. -- Past Global Analysis - J. R. Nyquist "Thucydides in the Underworld" 11/06/2009

Posted by Vanderleun at November 15, 2009 2:35 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

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Lets get out the vote for mayor of Revere. Vote early and vote often!

Posted by: mayor of Revere at May 13, 2011 5:02 AM

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