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Best/worst, kindest/most abusive

Sep 17, 2004 06:03 AM
by kpauljohnson

My thoughts--

Our library's non-fiction book discussion group meets monthly and 
September's selection was the biography of Truman by David 
McCullough. So my thoughts are influenced by consideration of the 
Marshall Plan, which represents America at its best and kindest, and 
the McCarthy era which represents its worst and most abusive.

It seems to come down to the light and dark sides of idealism-- the 
ability to imagine dramatic improvements in the human condition but a 
serious lack of critical judgment at putting ideals into practice. A 
disproportionate share of major inventions on one hand; on the other 
a disproportionate share of consumption of scarce resources (and 
willful blindness at official levels to the consequences.) Leading 
the world in science and technology, but also having the largest 
number of religious quacks and frauds (and the most violence) of any 
industrialized democracy. One could go on...


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