Strong’s Words

A lawyer active and interested in American politics, George Templeton Strong scribbled in his diary one day in 1854. He wrote, “Life and property grow less and less secure. Law, legislation, and judiciary are less respected; skepticism spreads as to the existence anywhere of anybody who will not steal if he has an official opportunity. Our civilization is decaying. We are in our decadence. An explosion and crash must be at hand.”

Strong’s words are strong words. He was seven years ahead of his time.

It’s often said that wars have changed. World War II, for example, may likely be a conflict unique to its time. Its emphasis on massive armies, amphibious landings, and so forth could well be an anachronism for conflicts in the 21st century.

I wonder, too, if the Civil War of 1861-1865 acts the same way. Maybe the “culture war” of today is the foreshadowing of a Civic War a few years off. And maybe the Civic War shares some broad tendencies of the Civil War but with an entirely new look that fits social media, digital technology, changing generations, artificial intelligence, transformed economies, and more.

Strong’s words. Tuck them away.