Endless Curiosity

December 26, 2009

Conceiving the Possibility of Failure (CPF)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 7:41 am

I read an interesting article in The Wilson Quarterly called Can America Fail. No, I’d never heard of the magazine either and can’t remember how I found it – some link from somewhere. But I rather like the full title: The Wilson Quarterly – Surveying the World of Ideas. Here’s what the article is about:

The simple thesis of this essay is that American society could also fail if it does not force itself to conceive of failure. The massive crises that American society is experiencing now are partly the product of just such a blindness to potential catastrophe. That is not a diagnosis I deliver with rancor. Nations, like individuals, languish when they only have uncritical lovers or unloving critics.

The author makes three points – or describes three systemic failures – which I’ll cover in three posts. Some of the ideas I agree with and others I question. But at least the article made me think. These systemic failures are:

  • Groupthink
  • Erosion of the notion of individual responsibility
  • Failure to see how the abuse of American power has created many of the problems the United States now confronts abroad

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