Thursday, 27 March 2008

Metternich’s Prediction

“I have had the misfortune to belong to the revolutionary epoch. . . . Fate has laid upon me in part the duty of restraining, so far as my powers permit, a generation whose destiny seems to be that of losing itself upon a slope which will surely lead to its ruin.” [1] So said Klemens von Metternich, yet events showed his prediction to be a little off the mark, at least as stated in Dearieme’s Laws of Political Dynamics: — First Law: Conservatives are good at inferring the direction of change; Second Law: . . . but are prone to overestimate the pace of change. [2] Still, it was owing in no small part to his own efforts that his prediction was untrue.
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[1] Klemens von Metternich, letter dated 3rd September 1819, in Richard Metternich (ed.), Mémoires, Ducuments et Écrits laissés par le Prince de Metternich, 8 Vols (Paris, 1880-84), vol. III, p.307, quoted by Alan Palmer, Metternich: Councillor of Europe (London: Phoenix Giant, 1997), p.186.
[2] From a comment at Dennis Mangan’s weblog, Mangan’s Miscellany, “Letters to the Economist”, 8th February 2007.

4 comments:

dearieme said...

Third Law; when Conservatives are not prone, they are too often supine.

dearieme said...

Is this better: "Conservatives are too prone to be supine"? Too ambiguous, I suppose.

Deogolwulf said...

I prefer: "when conservatives are not prone, they are too often supine."

Semaj Mahgih said...

Supine, prone, as long as the wine was of suitable quality.