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How Collapse Happens

(Photo via Unsplash)

I have an Impromptus today, touching on Congress, Europe, porn (yes), and a lot more. It’s here, for those interested.

I’d like to publish a letter from a reader in Colorado. It responds to a Q&A I had with Robert Kagan, the foreign-policy scholar. He has written a book called “The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World.” Kagan writes, “The liberal world order is like a garden, ever under siege from the forces of history, the jungle whose vines and weeds constantly threaten to overwhelm it.”

On our podcast, we also talk about “Chesterton’s fence”: Who put it up? Why did they do it? What should be done about it now, if anything?

Anyway, our reader gives us an evocative and, in a way, deep letter:

In light of where I live, the jungle seems a bit foreign to me (even if I was stationed in Okinawa for a bit). I prefer the barn illustration.

Ever seen a collapsed barn? It’s always a bit depressing because you know that, at one time, it was built with care. Probably erected by craftsmen using methods that seem antiquated today but nevertheless stood the test of time.

No barn collapses on the day that you see it in a heap. It decays because someone takes it for granted, or decides to skip a maintenance step out of laziness or cost pressure. Then it becomes too difficult to restore so it stands the best that it can through season after season of punishing weather until, eventually, it can’t stand any longer.

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