Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Wood Has Been Made into a Boat

John Derbyshire I find one of the most honest, down-to-earth writers in journalism. As a conservative, and a pessimist, he is asking a very basic question: which changes (whether I like them or not) are here to stay because you just can't go backwards, and which come and go.
I remember reading somewhere about a general delivering his valediction at West Point. He said something along the lines of 'I have introduced many changes, but only at the right moment: when there was no choice'. The assumption underlying this seems to me a healthy one: that we can never presume to know the full significance of any institution or idea, or the consequences of removing or changing it - therefore, do so only when the force behind the change is irresistible, or when not to change would damage the whole.

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