drat fink

View current page
...more recent posts

Sunday, Apr 07, 2002

starry eyed

"It has been a long time since Santayana's maxim about forgetting history and repeating history could be cited without irony. The sentence--which first appeared in 1905 in a chapter on "Reason and Common Sense" in Santayana's book The Life of Reason--has been so often and oppressively quoted that it has itself become the very symbol of cliché, the most common way of teaching a platitude by example. Those who do not remember Santayana's maxim, you might say, are condemned to repeat it. But there is at least one precinct of American life in which the famous admonition still has the power to sting: the American government, and particularly the institutions of American foreign policy."