There is a final and essential battle to win in order to restore the power of American power: It is to defang those liberals and conservatives who repeatedly corner our leaders into making commitments they cannot fulfill. America has endured more than half a century’s worth of these unattainable goals. We live with them now: nation-building in places such as Afghanistan, where there is no coherent nation and certainly no outsider could do this for them anyway; spreading democracy to countries such as Iraq with no tradition of, or foundations for, democracy; and insisting on bringing such places as George or Ukraine under NATO’s wing with neither the intent nor the capability of actually sending troops to defend them. False promises and failures are the surest way to kill power.
If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails, he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible. He will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment, in the manner in which the gardener does this for his plants.
In sharp contrast with others, we are ready to take risks and to calculate the risk. Others are brave in the dark; thinking would just slow them down. But the truly brave are those who face danger undeterred by full recognition of life’s terrors and it’s delights.
Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to.