16 August 2011

If your grandfather did it that way but your dad didn't, there might be a reason

PEG 2.0 | Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
FrumForum | David Frum | What Really Went Wrong with the Nixon Shock?

Just generally, whenever anybody praises an arrangement from the past, it’s a smart idea to ask: “If this system was so great, why did people abandon it?
This is a great counterpart to the famous Chesterton quote about how only those who know why a fence was put somewhere should be allowed to tear them down.
I don't see that as a counterpart at all.*  If anything, it's a companion.

Chesterton advised us not to tear down fences if you don't understand why they were put up. Frum is giving the same advice: if you don't understand why a fence was torn down, don't put it back up. They're both saying that the things which have happened did so for a reason, and it is necessary that we be aware of those reasons.

(* Am I reading this correctly to conclude Gobry thinks these two ideas are in opposition to one another?)

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