Monday, 20 August 2018

Brexit Britain Has Plenty of Adolf von Kleists But No Hernando Cruz

In his short novel, Galápagos, Kurt Vonnegut looked back a million years from 1986 on the extinction of the human race as we know it, tracing the plight of the passengers and crew on an environmental tour to the famous islands, billed "The Nature Cruise of the Century". Half way through, Vonnegut describes the critical moment when the highly experienced Hernando Cruz, having supervised the delivery and outfitting of the doomed Bahía de Darwin, suddenly abandons the cruise to save his family, leaving the final voyage in the hands of the ignorant, incompetent buffoon, Adolf von Kleist:
"If 'the Nature Cruise of the Century' had come off as planned, the division of duties between the Captain and his first mate would have been typical of the management of so many organizations a million years ago, with the nominal leader specializing in sociable balderdash, and with the supposed second-in-command burdened with the responsibility of understanding how things really worked, and what was really going on.
The best-run nations commonly had such symbiotic pairings at the top. And when I think about the suicidal mistakes nations used to make in olden times, I see that those polities were trying to get along with just an Adolf von Kleist at the top, without an Hernando Curz. Too late, the surviving inhabitants of such a nation would crawl from the ruins of their own creation and realize that, throughout all their self-imposed agony, there had been absolutely nobody at the top who had understood how things really worked, what it as all about, what was really going on."
Sound familiar?

Related Posts with Thumbnails