Ed Driscoll

'Waiting for Princip'

Last week, an Instapundit.com reader wrote:

I have that “waiting for a bunch of shoes to drop” feeling about the current world situation. It’s not going to be nice. It’s not going to be over quickly. It’s like the summer of 1914, but I keep wondering “Where is the Sarajevo? Who will be the Archduke?”. What we now call World War I didn’t just happen without a long run-up, but still few predicted it. This is financial, at least in part, but then again, that was at the root of the beginnings of such conflagrations as the French and Russian Revolutions, whose aftershocks are still with us. So, where will it start this time, and when?

Business journalist Michael Malone, who sits in at both PJM and ABC (and who has dropped by Ed Driscoll.com HQ once or twice) is guest-contributing this week at Ricochet.com, and wonders, who will be the next Gavrilo Princip. As Michael writes, “The world is always a dangerous place; but in the last few years that danger seems to have spread…in Europe, the aging population, trapped between rioting welfare junkies and unassimilated Muslim immigrants, fervently hopes (they don’t pray anymore) that they will die before their long vacation from economic reality ends:”

Ours is not Auden’s “low, dishonest decade” before World War II, but it certainly has been a decade of denial and distraction.  But no amount of ignoring the magnitude of the threat, or busying ourselves with other matters,  changes the fact that there are not only millions of switches out there waiting to be tripped, but that, in our networked world, all of those switches are wired together.  Or that even one of them, snapping at the right moment, could send trillions of chains of consequence around the world in less time than it takes to say “Sarajevo.”

The awful irony is that I merely have to lower my eyes from the Browning pistol to my laptop computer to remind myself that there is also another set of indicators out there – breakthroughs in atomic level transistors, nanotechnology, cybernetics, and energy; along with the discovery of vast oil and natural gas reserves in the western hemisphere; and a million budding entrepreneurs out there ready to connect with the tens of billions of dollars sitting in venture capital funds.  With a little luck, a few more years, and lot less government interference we could find ourselves once again in an economic golden age.

But first, we have to get from here to there in an overconnected world of angry people, and pray that no one accidentally – or purposefully – trips the switch that sends us back to August, 1914.  There is no obvious path, and we seem chronically short of leaders to mark the way.  Worst of all, he is out there.  We don’t know who, or where, or when, and probably not even why, but our Princip, the little man with the little pistol, is waiting for us, hoping against hope that we stall once more and he gets his chance.

Read the whole thing.