Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A shining city in a trough

In these past few years I have read various books on the George W. Bush administration's policies concerning Iraq and Afghanistan (the latest, the dry, academic, devastating study of Afghanistan by Tim Bird and Alex Marshall). The blindness, the pride, the ideological hubris of those years is beyond belief. The decadence: if you wield great power, you have great responsibility over people's lives - if you take decisions that will mean life or death for hundreds of thousands, for millions, you are then obligated to be extremely well versed, well adviced (and intelligently critical and questioning of your advice) about the people whose fates you will affect.

The moral and intellectual corruption of that administration is mind shattering, dispiriting. It is the clearest sign yet of the end of the American empire, this decadence, this casual ignorance of that president and his advisers.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Those were the times that were

Helsinki in November must be one of the most dismal places on earth: rotting leaves, darkness, subdued, tired people hurrying to get indoors, no sign of winter, of clear freezing air and snow reflected light. A moment in history too, as all moments are, this one surely better than most: no physical lacks, no war, silly, shortsighted elites certainly, but, more or less, that's what elites always are. (To be fair, this time Brussels cum Berlin seems to be outdoing itself in stupidity - no Lord Keynes around now, and these elites wouldn't listen anyway.)

Well, I should concentrate on other weightier matters, only this is not a time for concentration, November in Helsinki. Some years have earned their right to feel nostalgic about. Today I found myself bringing to mind one such... This is not to say that I would have regrets about this one: I have found my place, my voice - living life recklessly, to the full, seriously. But at times seriousness is not all you need. Not in this November.