Not really. Just trying to get your attention.
But a laurel, and hardy handshake, to anyone who can identify the provenance of this peculiar locution without using a search engine...
No, a more apt, and more felicitous, title for this post would have been "A Reverent Awareness of Human Folly."
That nice turn of phrase appears early on in a book I am enjoying right now, First Democracy, by Paul Woodruff. In spite of being a professor of philosophy, Mr. Woodruff writes with wonderful clarity, and explains his thinking in a way even I can follow. He contends that "...democracy was born out of a reverent awareness of human folly," in fifth century B.C.E. Athens. Not being an expert in either political science or history, I will take his word for it.
Now I know our republic is not a (pure) democracy, but it does embody important features of such a democracy, and the model the Athenians bequeathed us, as described in Professor Woodruff's book, can be usefully applied in the criticism of our republic's efforts to live up to the ideal of a government by and for the people.
Yesterday I was treated to a detailed description of the fruits of Congress's passage of the "prescription drug benefit." This will be implemented (at least for my workplace) as Medicare Part D.
For about two hours I sat through a PowerPoint presentation, given by a rather smart individual, about how this plan, Medicare Part D (see also), will enable (or should enable) elderly patients, and a subset of disabled patients, to afford the drugs that they need to keep alive or, more often in my psychiatric practice, the drugs that they need to keep out of the hospital.
During and after the presentation I was able to ask questions, and later at home I studied the sheaf of handouts I'd been given.
Now I do not hold myself up as a paragon of wisdom or insight, and I am almost disabled myself in my abilities to understand complicated bureaucratic programs, but I am probably about average, as a citizen, in my abilities to make political judgments, and to vote as a "reasonable person."
But even if I had been asked to vote (I wasn't) on the implementation of this plan, I would have been unable to do so in an intelligent way. I simply had trouble understanding how, if implemented, everything in this plan would shake out, both for the purported beneficiaries, and for the republic as a whole.
Let me confess at the outset that my work inclines me to support the idea of helping indigent and/or elderly patients get the medications they need, even when such an inclination is at variance with my general tendency to be a fiscal conservative. But I just cannot determine whether the outcome of this whole effort might be, among other possibilities, both that the needy patients don't get their drugs, and the country goes bankrupt in a failed effort to get them their drugs.
Furthermore it is my impression (as wretchard would say, speculation alert) that the solons who voted on this behemoth didn't have the faintest idea either.
Read here* about "The Doughnut Hole" and see if you don't agree.
*(Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch'entrate!)
Chairman Grassley then and now
20 minutes ago