The deal we dare not turn down

Sometimes it is simply appropriate to, coffee shop style, slap an article down and announce, “You must read this”. Well, this is one of those occasions, because Johann Hari says it far better than I ever could …

Sometimes, there are hinge-points in human history -moments when we have to choose between an exuberant descent into lunacy, and a still, sober voice offering us a sane way out. Usually, we can only see them when we look back from a distance. In 1793, the great democrat Thomas Paine said the French Revolution shouldn’t betray its principles by killing the King, because it would trigger an orgy of blood-letting that would eventually drown them all. They threw him in jail. In 1919, the great economist John Maynard Keynes said the European powers shouldn’t humiliate Germany, because it would catalyze extreme nationalism and produce another world war. They ignored him. In 1953, a handful of US President Dwight Eisenhower’s advisors urged him not to destroy Iranian democracy and kidnap its Prime Minister, because it would have a reactionary ripple-effect that lasted decades. They refused to listen.

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