WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2021
Limitations of us the humans: It rarely happens, but this morning it did:
As we made our early-morning rounds, we saw an establishment journalist actually getting it right!
We refer to the assessment of Colin Powell's legacy offered by Zak Cheney-Rice. In this short essay for New York magazine, Cheney-Rice notes the conflicted way that topic is being explored by a wide range of upper-end players.
The scribe's aim strikes us as true. This almost never happens at this point, as American democracy—such as it is—is widely said to be nearing its end.
"We the People," alas!
It was with those words that a famous document, such as it was, announced itself to the world. The document appeared in 1787. Its preamble started like this:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
The statement was authored by "We the People of the United States," such as that congregation was defined at the time.
Today, "we the people" can more accurately be described as "Us and Them the people." Increasingly, we the people have split into a substantial array of disputatious groups.
The red and blue tribes are the most prominent among these groups, but many subdivisions prevail within those larger congregations. Can a very large nation function this way?
We'll guess that it maybe cannot.
Increasingly, "we the people" are subdividing into versions of Us and Them. Throw in our species' limited ability to work outside Hard Tribal Viewpoints and the future can start looking grim.
We're going to leave it right there for today. Increasingly, reading the major newspapers of Our Own Remarkably Limited Tribe leaves us unable to speak.
(It's easy to create a false impression, much harder to take one apart.)
In the end, we the humans may simply be "too dumb to be self-governing!" Long ago, we used that as the title for a periodic radio segment.
Now the irony arrives:
At the time, in the early 1990s, we were offering that as a joke!