The Fragility of Good Government

The Fragility of Good Government


it’s an enormous and very rare privilege to have lived in the days of good government across nations and centuries few people have ever done so by a rare bit of of luck certain groups in a few corners of the globe tasted decades of this remarkable anomalous blessing they might foolishly especially if they traveled little seldom read history books or had a very high estimation of their own populations they might even have started to assume it was a natural or god-given norm yet the default state of almost all nations is quite other it is authoritarianism bullying demagoguery corruption monopoly racial segregation and state-sponsored aggression and murder we will not now it seems be living in dramatically unusual times it was the years before that will be remembered as unusual a daring bet against the facts of our nature we are sliding into a new age of darkness we are reverting to a mean civilization was always simply an unlikely concept those who are afraid are typically reassured by optimism all will eventually be well the kindly tell them but we need stiffer darker council we should explore not what might ideally happen which leaves us oscillating painfully between hope and despair but what will happen if the worst comes to pass we need to make ourselves entirely at home with catastrophe looking at it squarely in the eye so it’s not to keep catching glimpses of it here and there and so taking fright and you every time we stand to see that whatever comes to pass will in a desperately reduced and pitiful form still be survivable a home could be built among the ruins there might be some sort of life to be led despite everything nothing is ever properly unbearable not least because we always retain access to the best escape route the stoic philosophers of ancient Rome those poor souls agitated beyond compare by the antics of their hysterical thin-skinned murderous Emperor’s would known to calm themselves down by holding up their veins to the light and calling out freedom knowing it could if it came to that all be over in minutes we shouldn’t be surprised by our fellow citizens this is what the human animal is really like very sweet at points from close up usually generous two small children and the elderly hard-working but highly prone to delusion tribal offended by strangers an inclined to rational analysis and with a fondness for slaughter and reckless messianic plans the elite routinely derided as out-of-touch and not so on the basis of forgetting how much milk or the rent costs rather on the basis of forgetting have dark and broken human nature really is there’s a natural longing to do something quickly and angrily there’s an equal longing to give up and hide the Council of quietism neither feels quite right neither endurance nor explosion the only true avenue is to commit ourselves to years of careful adroit plotting to bring about a renewal of that now ever more implausible dream a land governed for a little while longer by a spirit as fragile as crystal of wisdom and tolerance