I was watching a video of US Marines about to attack a town in Afghanistan. The Captain addressed his battalion. At about 2:20 into the video he said (I paraphrase) : “The plan we have gone over and over – as soon as you land, it will fly out the window. You will be called upon to make a hundred decisions that there is no right answer to. But guess what? you will have to decide; you will have to act.”
I enjoyed the approach, and it ought to be better understood. You will have to act, you will have to decide. I wish it were more broadly understood in society. You have to decide and you have to act. Make a wrong decision? Go ahead and make another. This one may be better. This approach is utterly contrary to the bureaucratic mindset which fears decision-making.
A former boss of mine was a judge. He said: “Make ten decisions. Eight will be right. One will be wrong. One you win or lose on appeal”. But the message was” keep making decisions.
This brings me around to Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s book on the newest generation, and it is not pleasant reading. The Coddling of the American Mind
chronicles the increase of neurotic levels of fear among American college students: how good intentions and bad ideas are generating a generation of weak people. As he says: prepare your children for the road not the road for the children.
The message Haidt is giving in his YouTube lecture is that we are heading for tribal war. That was in 2019. Look around you. What do you see? Dogmatism, groupthink, a crusader mentality and anti-intellectualism [at 42:40]. The riots and revolt we have been witnessing these last few days have been long prepared by the erosion of cultural and educational standards. The failure of the forces of order to act, because they have been told to lay off by mayors and governors, is yet another signof the scale of the rot inside our institutions.
Someone, possibly Jonathan Kay, said that this could be Trump’s Reichstag Fire moment. I avoid the connotation that Kay would like to put on these riots. These are an excuse for looting and for anti-fa to break windows. Everyone is seeing far too much disorder to be enthusiastic for kneeling before the black race and beseeching forgiveness, as the Left would have us do. Time for some violence from the state against Antifa and the looters. And yes, Derek Chauvin disgusts me. But so does mass break down of order.