How does that sound? Is it pretentious enough? I’m watching trains and, between Amtrak runs, I’m contemplating how established and solid the world of 1921 appeared to be.
Despite a catastrophic war, the British Empire was sputtering back to normal. The Irish and the Indians were making noises, but it looked like the Empire would stay intact.
France was beginning wave after wave of political turmoil, but there was a new modern culture being created, of Picasso, Joyce, Ravel, where word and image and sound were not like that of twenty years ago.
In America, great businesses dominated the economy. United States Steel, Westinghouse, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the New York Central Railroad were more powerful and wealthier than many foreign countries and many American states within the Union.
Today, there is only the British Empire of memory, held together on Cricket ovals, and bankers and financiers in the City.
Modern art has descended into self-immolation, burning whatever aesthetics it tenuously possessed, in its slash and burn migration toward The Modern.
And America? The Pennsylvania and Grand Central are now remembered for their architectural remnants. United States Steel? Westinghouse? All this “power“ has vanished, just like the Preacher of Ecclesiastes said it would.
And people out there want to “cancel” this culture. They desire to reshuffle the cards of learning, politics, religion, and biology and deal anew. People had such ideas a century ago. They forecast their novus ordo mundi would last a thousand years. One lasted twelve years, another about seventy-five.
The curse of freedom is that the ignorant have gravitas because they can vote. And the Faithful and the Pious must endure without supporting evidence until the faithless and impious sandcastles vanish in the surf of their own hubris.
Anyway. Trust, but verify.