They say that Generals are “always fighting the last war”. After all, it’s the prudent thing to do– and it’s the Conventional Wisdom.
I will add an addendum to this: “Generals are always fighting the last war–but, at least they’re fighting it”. A good example of this was that, after Norman Schwarzkopf landed in the sands of Araby in prelude to fighting the Iraqi Army in Gulf War One, he realized that the camouflage designed for the campaigns of the last war in South East Asia and and the plains of Europe (all green and brown) stood out like a sore thumb in the dun-colored desert. Thus, he designed, and implemented in a few quick weeks, the “chocolate chip” camo that is ubiquitous on the military today.
But, as I say, at least, Stormin’ Norman started fighting the war. He didn’t pack up his gear and go home, saying he’d stick out like a sore thumb, and he might get shot at, and to hell with that.
The election just passed in Delaware is an astonishing bit of the politics of Conventional Wisdom. The Conventional Wisdom was that the erudite, effete Mike Castle was a shoo-in. All he had to do was show up. He was “electable”, they said. “They” (whoever the heck “they” are) continue to say he’s the only one in the race that was electable, despite the empirical evidence to the contrary. For a guy who was “electable”, he sure didn’t get elected to much.
“Conventional Wisdom” is very much conventional, but it has very little wisdom. Remember the Soviet Union? There was a lot of “conventional wisdom” lying around in heaps about the Soviet Union–until 1990, that is. The “conventional wisdom” took it as an article of faith that the Soviet Union was the future, democracy and the west were the past, and we better just let Leonid and his band of Merry Men trample places like Angola, and Afghanistan. Then, a small hole appeared in the impenatrable wall of eastern Europe, the starving citizens sluiced into the west, and the place folded like a cheap baby stroller. Anyone with “wisdom” (-think Reagan or H. Regnery) could see what a dumpy Potemkin Nation the USSR was, but anyone of the “conventional” bought the propaganda of steely Soviet greatness.
“Conventional Wisdom” holds that Mike Castle is the best Republican you can hope for in a festering swamp like Delaware. After all, the people of the Northeast (-and, here I thought Delaware was more in the Central Coast) really like having their private property seized, their freedoms truncated, their choices restricted. That must be the reason why Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution– they really enjoy watch it getting shredded and trampled. Because the people of Delaware really, really like Big Government, we better nominate Mike Castle. Thank goodness the grandees of theDelaware GOP weren’t in charge of Gulf War One; our soldiers would have been tramping around in bright green camo, because, hey, it was the best we could do in a pinch. Yeah, we know, that lady with the pretty Taupe Colored camouflage looks nice in her fatigues, but we don’t have time to change. And she can’t win, anyway.
Conventional Wisdom, as once spouted by Alfred P. Sloan, was that what was good for General Motors was good for America. Conventional Wisdom once held that the NFL would never play a game against the AFL. Conventional Wisdom once held that cable TV was only useful in the mountains. Conventional Wisdom had Stuckey’s buying up rural interchanges all over America. Conventional Wisdom held that once gasoline hit $1 a gallon, America would need bike lanes everywhere.
And now, Conventional Wisdom holds that, once a geographic locale goes liberal, it’s march toward tyrannical Marxism is inexorable. Who thinks up this crap?
Those who hold to conventional wisdom are fundamentally uncurious, and uncreative. Thank goodness Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer weren’t at Independence Hall in 1776, for their words would have made a cutting, devastating difference to the patriots that knew their odds for success were long, even if their motives were pure and right. These men are not creative, they are not risk-takers, and thus, have no role in moving our national experiment forward. They are especially gifted in commenting on what has already taken place, but, like the wizened Generals, they are fighting the last war.
Conventional Wisdom is also lazy. It is also patronizing. It says to those that have conviction, and passion, and creative strength to lay back, watch and wait–thus allowing the lazy and uncurious to move into position. Conventional Wisdom never started a small business in a garage, thinking maybe someday people might want a computer in their home. Conventional Wisdom never thought that a pin-prick of dead virus might prevent the spread of live virus. Conventional Wisdom never would have inspired Charles Wait to paint a pair of work gloves the color of his flesh so he could wear them while playing baseball, and not get scolded as a wimp.
Conventional Wisdom should be banned from the American Lexicon, because our entire existence is in complete contraindication to Conventional Wisdom. And Conventional Wisdom has no place in Delaware.
We are clearly, clearly on the cusp of a new dawn. Those that can’t see it are the ones that saw Constantine Chernenko as the bright and glorious future of the Russian People, or the ones that thought the Cutlass would be the best-selling automobile in American ad infinitum. They should be ignored, for yes– they are of the Conventional, but they have no wisdom.