On why we don’t learn from history

A commenter on Powerline had the following priceless comment:

What is driving us to ignore history and repeat these same mistakes?

  • Lesser Hubris: We could probably make it work this time.
  • Greater Hubris: Only our genius holds chaos at bay.
  • Complacency: Hey, it kind of works, and the pay and perks are good.
  • Cynicism: It’s going to blow up eventually anyway, might as well get something out of it.
  • Simple Greed: There’s always a way to pluck the pigeons.
  • Machiavellian Design: There are paths to great power through chaos.

I suspect that it is mostly lesser and greater hubris followed by complacency, then cynicism, simple greed, and least of all by Machiavellian design.

It would behoove us all to remember not just Santayana’s Law, but indeed, Antonov’s Observation on Santayana’s Law.