Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Establishment

Chicago IL – In the three hundreds BC, Alexander the Great of Macedon faced off against one of the mightiest kingdoms of his time, the empire of Persia.  The Persian King would order his massive chariots to line up and prepare to roll over the outnumbered Greeks. Alexander wheeled his men away from the chariots, the sort of tanks of their time, and came in on the Persians from the side, something you did not do in old style warfare, and wiped them out.

In 1415, in France, on the plains of Agincourt the French knights swept forward. They were the great knights who decided the outcomes of battles. Infantry were cut to pieces by them. But here, they were blown out of the saddle by a simple weapon-a long bow.
Innovations, new inventions, have often turned the tide of battles. The old system, from Mamelukes fighting against the guns of Napoleon to cavalry fighting tanks in World War I.
The same can be said of politics. Richard Nixon as an old style trying to go against the young, new John F. Kennedy, could gain no traction. The Communists took China by storm with their “four news.” When Jesus came to earth, he did not go to the temple leaders, he did not go to the kings, he went to the peasants, completely sidestepping the establishment.
Seldom in the course of history has the old system had a resurgence without reform, and often new systems must be built to fight crises, the establishment bowing and buckling. Many times the ones with a simple new idea have ridden that to power or reform. The Romans did not use the old phalanx way of fighting, which at one time had been a great invention, but rather they used the new legion style. They conquered the world with it.
A Civil War general once noted that in battle there comes a lull, and whoever charges in that moment will win, no matter the circumstances. So it often is in the realms of social thought. The establishment is rarely the one to make the charge, and so they are often beaten. Just like French Knights stuck in their ways at Agincourt, the Old Federalist Party fell apart when they were unable to help America in the war of 1812. The old establishment seldom brings about the great reforms, usually it fights them.
We must always be the ones that are charging. The Romans lasted a long time, partially because they learned from their mistakes, changed their methods, and charged again. Like in the First Punic War, when they had no fleet, they built one, lost it, built an improved one, and after more loses and more improvements finally won the war.
New it is not everything, but it is often a great deal. Whether the reformers be good or bad, they will often win, at least temporarily, for little other reason than that they are new. That must be remembered. Establishments must be ready and prepared to meet new challenges, if they do not, they will sink like the stones of Atlantis beneath the waves.
Andrew C. Abbott

No comments:

Post a Comment