We seem to be forgetting the lessons of history...
IT SOMETIMES seems as if the whole progress of the 21st century has been used to remove the impediments to catastrophe — good sense, prudence, tradition, rules, principles, and the lessons — learned at such great cost over so many centuries. Like unread copies of The Wealth of Nations or The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, they are tossed into the trash bin. No stain of history is left on the spotless mind of the new century, writes Bill Bonner in the Daily Reckoning.
The century began with George W. Bush's 'pre-emptive war' doctrine — contradicting everything nations had learned over at least 2000 years. Even the Romans new better than to go to war unprovoked. Not that the attacker can't win from time to time. But an aggressor nation sets the gods against himself; eventually, he is punished...often brutally. We saw that as recently as 7 decades ago, when the aggressor nations of WWII — Germany, Italy and Japan — were crushed.
But now the US is the aggressor. Can good guys be bad guys? We don't know, but we think we see the gods edging over to the other side.
So too was it long established that the rule of law was more comfortable and agreeable than the rule of men. Law was predictable. Law was fair.
Men were given to prejudice, perfidy, and power-struggles. Especially in a matter as important as war, the highest authority in the US — the Constitution — makes it clear that the law must be followed. Congress had to consider, debate and decide.
But that law went out the window long ago. In the 21st century it was forgotten altogether. Now, the president can decide for himself how and when to waste the nation's treasure and the lives of its young men and women. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya...Sudan...Pakistan...where were the declarations of war?
Who needs them? Besides, they just got in the way of catastrophe.
And what about Habeas Corpus? That's gone too. Established hundreds of years ago, to protect citizens from the arbitrary power of their own government, habeas corpus is...well...history. Now, the president can decide who lives and who dies...who gets sent to jail...and who lives at taxpayer expense.
But our beat is money. And in the world of money, too, the constraints that kept people from going into bankruptcy and ruin have been removed.
Once government leaders were ashamed of deficits. Now they're proud of them.
Once, economists, finance ministers and heads of households tried to avoid debt; now they welcome it.
Once, a central banker who created money "out of thin air," had his private parts cut off; now his manhood grows with the money supply.
Once, a banker who lent money at less than the inflation rate was regarded as a fool; now he is seen as a hero.
Once, we were happy...young...handsome...and now...oh, never mind.
That's all for us...we're headed for the hills.
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