“Lese-majesty … is the crime of violating majesty, an offence against the dignity of a reigning sovereign or against a state.”
George Will, writing before the first Presidential debate argued that Mitt Romney had to take a risk. “Romney is behind — in the important swing states, with the national electorate regarding who would best handle the economy and health care, and in national measures of favorable voter perceptions.”
So on Wednesday night it might be risky for Romney not to take risks. But what can he do? He might add to his menu of policies by embracing, say, the idea of breaking up the largest banks, a sound policy that would subvert the caricature of him as rapacious capitalism embodied. But debates are not good venues for explaining . . . well, anything, actually, but especially not new initiatives. And October is a time for summations to the jury, not new submissions of evidence.
Risk is part of any action. Before Spruance set out for Midway he received this one paragraph guidance from Nimitz.
S E C R E T
From: Commander-in-Chief, United States Pacific Fleet.
To: Commander Striking Forces (Operation Plan 29-42).
Subject: Letter of Instructions.
1. In carrying out the task assigned in Operation Plan 29-42 you will be governed by the principle of calculated risk, which you shall interpret to mean the avoidance of exposure of your force to attack by superior enemy forces without good prospect of inflicting, as a result of such exposure, greater damage to the enemy. This applies to a landing phase as well as during preliminary air attacks.
C. W. NIMITZ.
But it was not just Spruance who was at the mercy of fortune. Nagumo was also sailing under a fickle star. The difference was that Spruance knew it. Fortunes can shift very rapidly in a dynamic situation.
On Akagi ’s flight deck all planes were in position with engines warming up. The big ship began turning into the wind. Within five minutes all her planes would be launched. …
The Air Officer flapped a white flag, and the first Zero fighter gathered speed and whizzed off the deck. At that instant a lookout screamed: “Hell-divers!” I looked up to see three black enemy planes plummeting toward our ship. Some of our machine guns managed to fire a few frantic bursts at them, but it was too late. The plump silhouettes of the American “Dauntless” dive bombers quickly grew larger, and then a number of black objects suddenly floated eerily from their wings.
What is man’s relation to Fortune? What is written?
Prince Feisal: Gasim’s time has come, Lawrence. It is written.
T.E. Lawrence: Nothing is written.
Sherif Ali: You will not be at Aqaba, English! Go back, blasphemer… but you will not be at Aqaba!
T.E. Lawrence: I shall be at Aqaba. That, IS written. [pointing to forehead] In here.
At every juncture life presents a choice of paths. Down one is … and down the other is …? Well who can say. But the choice must be made, whatever befall. The only illusion, as the DNC video above continues to perpetuate, is that life is a Royal Progress.
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