I am not a radical. But more than anything the Iraq War taught me the folly of mocking radicalism. It seemed, back then, that every “sensible” and “serious” person you knew – left or right – was for the war. And they were all wrong. Never forget that they were all wrong. And never forget that the radicals with their drum circles and their wild hair were right.
To read history is to know human failure: not only those who overreach in their ambition or sociopathy or those too distracted to govern well but also of the most clear-headed, sober-minded establishment wisdom of the time. Reason does not make us invincible; often reason only serves to scaffold the status quo, to preserve entrenched interests, to flatter ourselves that we’ve been right all along. We give credibility to suits and titles and polished words but truth presents itself in unexpected ways, and one of the hardest truths for a sensible person to admit is that as often as we might be right we are more likely still to be wrong.