Alternative title: Why Nations Keep Shooting Themselves in the Foot

Misgovernment is of four kinds, often in combination. They are: 1) tyranny or oppression…2) excessive ambition…3) incompetence or decadence…and finally 4) folly or perversity. This book is concerned with the last in a specific manifestation; this is, the pursuit of policy contrary to the self-interest of the constituency or state involved.

To qualify as folly for this inquiry, the policy adopted must meet three criteria: [1] it must have been perceived as counter-productive in its own time, not merely by hindsight…[2] Secondly a feasible alternative course of action must have been available…[3] a third criterion must be that the policy in question should be that of a group, not an individual ruler, and should persist beyond any one political lifetime.

–Barbara Tuchman, The March of Folly

A rereading may be beneficial to one’s mental health.

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One thought on “Alternative title: Why Nations Keep Shooting Themselves in the Foot

  1. Joann Prendergast says:

    I have owned this book for years; our current situation is less “intelligent” for want of a better word than many of the historical instances written about.
    I recommend this to anyone concerned about our place in the world, including our “mindless” saber rattling and boasting!

    Like

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