Arrogance

The Oxford English Dictionary, the gold standard of the English language, defines arrogance as the assertion of unwarrantable claims in respect of one’s own importance; undue assumption of dignity, authority, or knowledge; aggressive conceit, presumption, or haughtiness.

Unfortunately, the United States, a teenager in comparison to many nations and cultures around the globe, has been comporting itself with the self-same arrogance of youth described by Mark Twain about his father. When he was fourteen, Twain considered his father the most ill mannered, ignorant, backward person he had ever endured. By the time he was twenty one, Twain was amazed how much the old man had learned in the past seven years.

The I-know-it-all tendency of youth, which requires a mixture of  limited knowledge and an over-abundance of energy, leads to rash and impulsive determinations which age and been there, (unfortunately) done that experience, might avoid. George Bernard Shaw once stated that youth was wasted on the young. I disagree. The resilience of youth is quintessential in order to bounce back from the hammer blows of life which experience, having once (or twice) encountered, permits the older and wiser person to avoid.

 There have been many empires that have existed in the world, regimes so powerful, energized, advanced, as to straddle the known world: the Persians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Spanish, the English. Each of those empires had their day or their centuries. Their sway was so great that to even consider that they might one day, as today, be a backward, or, even worse, a non-existent entity was too absurd to contemplate. Yet, where is the Greek culture that existed? Where is the Roman Empire that, in the day of chariots and foot soldiers, conquered the world? Where is the Spanish empire, which was replaced by the British empire?

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