The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam By Barbara W. Tuchman (1984) 5. ‘Mankind, it seems, makes a poorer performance of government than of almost any other human activity,” Barbara W. Tuchman writes. The “wooden-headedness” of rulers, she argues—whether the Renaissance popes who enabled the Reformation or the British leaders who lost America or the five presidents who pursued an inherently flawed policy in Vietnam—has been an intrinsic element of government. Reason is “more often than not overpowered by non-rational human frailties—ambition, anxiety, status-seeking, face-saving,” Tuchman points out. “Rulers,” she notes, “will justify a bad or wrong decision on the ground, as one historian and partisan wrote of John F. Kennedy, that ‘He had no choice,’ but no matter how equal two alternatives may appear, there is always freedom of choice to change. . . . Yet to recognize error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government.”


  • Save this Post to Scrapbook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *