All history of human conflict converges on the fact that without absolute intransigence of purpose no victory could ever be achieved, for it is always has been that the side that blinks is the one routes. It is equally true, conversely, that it is this same intransigence that has precipitated the most destructive wars of recent centuries. The art of statesmanship, then, is just as much the knowledge of when to show flexibility and when to grow backbone, at the time when the nation’s interest can no longer be served by accommodation. To advocate perpetually for peace, as it is for war, will be to court destruction.
Not all conspiracy is willful and deliberately planned. All too often, it would seem, a first germ is picked up, coddled and embellished by new hands, because it fits with their prejudice or wishful thinking, and so fortuitous conspiracy is midwifed by unwitting subsequent conspirators. Thus many strange and persistent mass delusions could be explained, from the furthering by all of the Piltdown Man hoax to the great Flying Saucer myth.
Whenever a new politicizeable tragedy serves to relight the cauldron of fresh outrage, it is always striking how all interest groups whose ox is likely to be gored by any change to status quo waste no time in pointing fingers at one another as the real culprit. Reality, as always, is generally more complex than advocates would likely want to readily admit, and true solutions more difficult and far less effective.
Now that we have awoken to find the world not having ended, perhaps it is worthwhile to remember the fate of past predictions of apocalypse even as we are barraged by prophecies of doom whether it be financial, environmental, Mayan or celestial. Without exception such prophecies require of us repentance so as to help avert catastrophe, certain as it may be unless we ACT NOW to raise taxes, cut spending, stop emitting carbon, send money to a cult or build an anti-asteroid NORAD — all such calls having one thing in common, namely a great deal of money to be sent to benefit the prophets.
Before we surrender to the cult of fear and rush to open our checkbooks in order to buy our way out of perdition — always all-in, and no half-measures — we should recall that when facts have to be fitted to support a theory, all validity of that theory must be called into question and that most half-baked solutions generally have a clear beneficiary who is not, broadly, us and often do more harm than good by generating failure even by their own success. Doom merchants will respond, always, with redoubled passion, and when facts fail to fit their Procrustean bed of favored theory or their self-serving preconceived conclusion by fudging metrics, pressure tactics and — always — the ad-hominem attack.
Nevertheless, it is our business to mind our own store and to ignore howls of the self–interested and recall that none of the prophecies of annihilation have come through, regardless of how much calls for repentance have enriched the prophets.