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The Caledonian Record's Modern Archive contains staff-written and other selected articles from 1997 to the present.

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President Biden has told us that if we behave prudently between now and then, we might be able to grill hot dogs in the backyard this Fourth of July. This sort of patronizing pap has become more or less standard for people in government, many of whom seem to believe that they possess superior intellect, insight, experience, and such. And, that those of us who think of ourselves as citizens capable of making our own decisions are, in the end, children in need of adult supervision. Which takes the form of … government.

When the pandemic has passed, there will be reflections and studies on what “we” might have done and how “we” could have done more effectively the things we did. One suspects that there will be a lot of the usual backdating and backstabbing and not much serious reflection. Our “elites” don’t seem to be very good at learning from their mistakes. Or, for that matter, even acknowledging them. A case in point would be the governor of New York, whose state has suffered catastrophically, not least because of his decision that resulted in admitting infected people into nursing homes. He has since written a book congratulating himself on his wise leadership during the crisis.

Imagine you’re a leader and don’t have a clue what to do. How do you make decisions in an unprecedented situation? What people and data do you rely on? How do you keep the respect of the people you’re leading when many of your decisions are going to turn out to have been wrong?