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Archive for December 15th, 2019

By the late summer of 2018, it was already clear that the US and the world order it had helped establish during my lifetime were facing deep-seated political, economic, and cultural challenges.
Nonetheless, I drew reassurance from my mother’s reminder that the US had endured a brutal civil war, two world wars, a great depression, and still emerged as the leader of the “free world”, a model for democracy, open markets, free trade, and economic growth.  That was, for me, a source of both pride and hope.
Today, threats facing that model have grown more ominous, and our ability to withstand them feels less certain.  Increasingly, by design or not, there appears to be a movement to undermine Americans’ faith in our government and its policies and institutions.  We’ve moved well beyond former president Ronald Reagan’s credo that “government is the problem”, with its aim of reversing decades of federal expansion.
Today we see something very different and far more sinister.  Nihilistic forces are dismantling policies to protect our air, water, and climate.  And they seek to discredit the pillars of our democracy: voting rights and fair elections, the rule of law, the free press, the separation of powers, the belief in science, and the concept of truth itself.
Without them, the American example that my mother so cherished will revert to the kind of tyranny that once seemed to be on its way to extinction  —  though, sadly, it remains ensconced in some less fortunate parts of the world.
Seventy-five years ago, Americans rose to the challenge of vanquishing tyranny overseas.  We joined with our allies, keenly recognizing the need to defend and sustain our hard-won democratic freedoms.  Today’s generation faces a different, but equally existential, test.  How we respond will determine the future of our own democracy and, ultimately, of the planet itself.
There is a need to “keep at it”.  It cannot be set aside.
  —  Paul Volcker
Chairman of the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve System from 1979 to 1987
This quote was taken from an “opinion” piece published in the Financial Times (ft.com).  It is taken from an afterward in Mr. Volcker’s upcoming publication of the paperback edition of his autobiography.
The full version can be found in the FT hard-copy edition (at your local library) and online at:   https://www.ft.com/content/2389d7ec-1b3c-11ea-97df-cc63de1d73f4
Note: The “bold and italic” emphasis in the quote above is mine and did not appear in the additional piece.  These two lines appear in multiple articles online describing Mr. Volcker’s comments and are what prompted me to seek out and read the full original opinion.  There is more in the piece worth reading and I encourage all readers of this post to visit the FT site and read the original.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 For Most Of Us
2017 Stories We Need On Life’s Edge
2016 Heart Trouble
2015 From The Inside Out
2014 Alone And Free
2013 Superstition Is Your Way
2012 Escape Hatches
2011 Sing Like No One Is Listening

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