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Tanks and pears

Posted by Richard on July 6, 2005

Go read neo-neocon’s latest (5th) installment in her series, "A mind is a difficult thing to change." The series is about how a lifelong liberal Democrat became a neocon after 9/11. Long, thought-provoking essays, kind of like a more introspective, less intense Bill Whittle.

In this installment, she discusses the period from the mid-70s to 2001, during which she wasn’t very political or even tuned into world affairs. Tanks and pears? A story from a Milan Kundera novel — you’ll have to read the post.

I found her reaction to the fall of the Soviet Union interesting (emphasis added):

…  I knew that I hadn’t paid proper attention to the news in recent years, so for a while I wondered whether I had missed something. But when I tried to read more about it, I couldn’t find anything that made sense to me; when I tried to ask other people whether anyone had seen this coming, I was met with resounding silence, indifference, shrugs.

Surely, I asked friends and family, the Soviet experts at the NY Times or even in the State Department or at Harvard, surely they had seen this coming, right? If not, then
why not?

It would be an overstatement to say I became obsessed with this question. But it certainly was the world event that engaged my interest more than anything since Vietnam, and my puzzlement about it was profound. If the experts–academic, governmental, and media–had been unable to foresee this, then how could I trust them to guide me in the future? In retrospect, it was probably the first time I began to distrust my usual sources of information, although I certainly didn’t see them as lying–I saw them as incompetent, really no better than bad fortunetellers.

Aha, the first tentative step away from liberal dogma: beginning to distrust your usual sources of information.

HT: David Aitken 

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