This Is Not the Natural State of Things
I don’t think John was talking about the attack but the US election and elections now across the world. But perhaps he was talking about the whole picture in toto.
Autocracy is government based on fear, domination and insecurity. It is of course billed as the opposite. But it is born of these three horsemen and in turn breeds them. One of the shaping thoughts of the generation of actors and thinkers who emerged from the Second World War was the seared perception that stability, trust, peace and virtuous cycles of all sorts are not natural phenomena or human norms. In fact, they are brittle creations and perhaps abnormal in human affairs. Of course, these beliefs and the ambitions and goals which grew out of them led to their own follies. One can jump from 1945 to 1965 and see the wisdom of this recognition leading the same luminaries to walk into a folly of an entirely different kind. The men who built much of the world we live in today also built a world that was perpetually on the brink of cataclysmic nuclear annihilation. Their creation, let us say with some understatement, had real shortcomings.
And yet, for all that complicated history and all that human folly, basic realities they understood remain. Democracy, borders that are peaceful rather than armed and bloody … none of these things are natural states of being like a rock that rolls to the bottom of a hill and then stays there until some greater force than gravity and friction pushes it along or hauls it back up the hill.