And not a single taco was tucked

Or trucked, if that be your preference. Either way, Severian has an historical nugget for you:

You can’t study the history of anything for too long before you conclude that the real driver of man’s fate isn’t God, or the forces of production, or class conflict, or the clash of ideologies — it’s vapid, hubristic Dunning-Kruger cases getting bored.

Take the Mexican War. It was obvious to everyone, certainly including the Mexicans, that the United States was going to attack Mexico. James K. Polk practically ran on it in 1844, and by 1846 everything was ready. The fact that this was naked aggression, and that the supposed casus belli — the strip of Texas between the Brazos and the Rio Grande — is obvious bullshit to anyone who’s ever been there, didn’t even register. Everyone wanted to throw some weight around, and Mexico — just then getting over one of its periodic revolutions — was convenient.

Then came a deflection of mass:

Until David Wilmot added his famous Proviso. He tacked it onto an appropriations bill, the sneaky bastard, so that in order to get their splendid little war, everyone had to put their cards on the table. The Mexican War was a war for slavery; the vote on the Proviso made it obvious to even the dimmest-witted. After all, the vote was taken just three months into the war — American troops were barely arriving in the theater, much less actually winning on the battlefield. The fact that nobody cared — that Congress got out of the Proviso with procedural shenanigans — showed just how badly inertia had already set in. Events were going to take their course.

Wilmot’s Last Stand, as it were, came in 1848, when an attempt was made to attach the language of the Proviso to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. It didn’t happen. And what’s the relevance today, anyway?

Over the next two years, everyone will have to put their cards on the table for everyone to see. It should be momentous … but it’ll pass unremarked. Congress will do what it does with procedural shenanigans; Trump will do what he does by executive order, and nothing will get done. We voted for things to continue as they are … and they will, God help us. The political theater will be train-wreckily entertaining, but nothing of consequence will happen in the legislature.

We should be paying the estates of Messrs. Dunning and Kruger royalties, I think.

2 comments »

  1. McGehee »

    9 November 2018 · 11:40 pm

    If favoring the use of government power is our barometer we’re all Dunning-Kruger cases to one extent or another. Deep down we would all wish to advise God on how His Creation could be improved. Just a little bit, around the edges.

    Unfortunately, nearly all of us would eventually advise ourselves out of existence. “Oh, and there’s no need for people who — [pouf!]” And it might be the only suggestion we made that God would heed.

  2. John Salmon »

    10 November 2018 · 10:01 am

    Lincoln’s heated opposition to the Mexican War and Polk’s flimsy pretext for same is discussed here: https://worldhistory.us/american-history/abraham-lincolns-opposition-to-the-mexican-war.php

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