January 27, 2006

I think he's on to something

In the words of George Orwell, "We are all capable," he said, "of believing things which we know to be untrue and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right."

Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time. The only check on it is that, sooner or later, a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.

Two thousand two hundred American soldiers have lost their lives as this false belief bumped into a solid reality. And indeed, whenever power is unchecked and unaccountable, it almost inevitably leads to gross mistakes and abuses.

That is part of human nature. In the absence of rigorous accountability, incompetence flourishes, dishonesty is encouraged and rewarded.


Al Gore, MLK day speech, Jan. 16, 2006

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