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Sleepers, awake!


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Power Line

Scott Johnson

May 12 2024



Robert Kaplan concludes his admiring Wall Street Journal review of the book with this observation:

Though the author of this profound book doesn’t mention it, what stands out in these four accounts is the working of time. We believe that what we have built is so magnificent it must go on forever. But then it is eradicated, and the world does not come to an end. Only our own world has done so. Another is built in its place and goes on endlessly into the future, so that we become the ancients. In this context, one has to think of the fate of the U.S. and the West, and how—and if—it will come to an end: whether by internal decay or by a sudden cataclysm. Rather than saying it can’t happen to us, for the sake of our own self-defense we should always contemplate that it very well might.

“The working of time” is slightly off-kilter. I don’t think that proposition quite captures the commonality in Victor’s case studies. The title of Bach’s “Sleepers Awake” conveys a message of hope in the face of pestilence. In this case it might make more sense to convert it into an imperative: Sleepers, awake! I think that’s what Victor has in mind.



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