The price of wisdom

At various times in history wisdom has been highly valued and those who attain it vastly admired and much sought after by those who wished to attain it.  Witness King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

I Kings 10 1-5

When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at[a] the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.

Alas, wisdom is not the hallmark of our age, rather we are beset by sophists preaching Marxist derived cargo cults of one kind of another, and tragically, by and large we have believed them.  Worse, committed to faith in these hollow dogmas many millions have not only turned away from wisdom, but attempt to silence those who would proclaim it, labelling it “hate speech.”

The best way to learn wisdom is sit at the feet of a master and drink it in.  We used to have a lot of these masters, expounding one form or another of it from our pulpits, our public intellectuals, our schools and as a result, from our kitchen tables.  From Ben Franklin to Bishop Sheen, from Abraham Lincoln to Ronald Reagan, words of wisdom went forth and were eagerly devoured by those who loved wisdom.  That’s the easy way.

The hard way is, well, hard.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

The hard path to wisdom hard precisely because it is painful.  What does not work, has never worked and can never work won’t work for us just because we want it to.  And when we try to work it, the results are failure.  This is called “making a mistake.”  The good news is that a mistake is an attempt that did not achieve the desired or expected end, and that, if you survive it, you learned what does not work.  So next time do something differently.  Ideally, follow the advice of Wisdom.  Tears plus contrition are the price we all pay for wisdom.

Wretchard of the Belmont Club

Those tears need not be our own, we can learn wisdom just as well by observing the mistakes of others, especially by observing the fool persist in his mistake.  We surrounded by fools persisting in their mistakes, which ought to mean that we are immersed in a learning environment.  The Progressive network of policy prescriptions are resulting in many things turning out not as expected in very painful ways.  Over at The Belmont Club Wretchard (aka Richard Fernandez) has a great essay on just exactly this.  A sample:

It was a grand, glittering vision that hit a snag. China and Russia did not democratize and liberalize as theory held.  The September 11 attacks suggested MENA wouldn’t either.  The crash of 2008 warned of the danger posed by bad information in the system. By Obama’s second term the Arab Spring, the European migrant crisis, Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine and China’s expansionism should have made it clear the End of History was off course. But Hillary in 2016 somehow managed to miss it even with Brexit staring her staff in the face.  Despite its control of conventional wisdom or perhaps because of it, the establishment candidate failed to detect the biggest threat to her candidacy with shocking results.

The Left and the Donks are pulling out all the stops not because they are feeling confident of victory, but because they smell defeat in the air and are desperate.  They have tied their fortunes to the ravings of a millenarian visionary and while they themselves still believe that the path to power lies in repeating the same tired old, shabby mantras the great mass of the electorate sees them for the shady barking of a threadbare flim-flam artist.

The elections next week are a test to see of America has sufficiently awakened from the hypnotic spell of the Socialism Oil Salesman.  As patriots it is our proud but difficult duty to do all we can to awaken our countrymen to the danger that threatens us all.  Let’s be about it, then.  We shouldn’t have to wait for those on the brink of destruction to tell us, we should see it for ourselves.  I, for one, am grateful for their witness, despite the rather crude language at times.