Thursday, October 09, 2008

Lessons Unlearned

The collapse of the Stock Market, which had begun in late October, was in some ways like the fall of a gigantic boulder into the still waters of a lake. The suddenness of it sent waves of desperate fear moving in ever-widening circles throughout America. Millions of people in the far-off hamlets, towns, and cities did not know what to make of it. Would its effects touch them? They hoped not. And the waters of the lake closed over the fallen boulder, and for a while most Americans went about their day's work just as usual.

There was another deeper, darker, and more nameless wound throughout the land. What was it? Was it in the record of corrupt officials and polluted governments, administrations twisted to the core, the huge excess of privilege and graft, protected criminals and gangster rule, the democratic forms all rotten and putrescent with disease? Was it in "puritanism"---that great, vague name: whatever it may be? Was it in the bloated surfeits of monopoly, and the crimes of wealth against the worker's life? Yes, it was in all of these, and in the daily tolling of the murdered men, the lurid rendering of promiscuous and casual slaughter everywhere throughout the land, and in the pious hypocrisy of the press with its swift-forgotten prayers for our improvement, the editorial moaning while the front page gloats.

-Thomas Wolfe, 1930. You Can't Go Home Again

How sad that it appears we haven't learned from the lessons of the past at all.

1 comment:

Liberality said...

Seriously, that could have been written for today!