Warnings 2

On December 7, Patrick Watson (Senior Editor at Mauldin Economics) tweeted in response to bellicose comments made by Donald Trump. In his tweet, Patrick included a picture of three tombstones located at the Arlington National Cemetery. Some detractors and a certain Trump supporter alleged the Watson tweet was a fabrication.

Here are facts. They are the tombstones of Muslim-American military personnel who died serving in the armed forces of the United States.

In a day of cynicism, Photoshopping, and untrustworthy Internet information, a challenge to authenticity is normal and perhaps reasonable. With this in mind, I decided to email John Mauldin, Chairman of Mauldin Economics. There then ensued a dialogue with Patrick Watson.

My email to Patrick was a request for assistance to authenticate the pictures in his tweet. He did. His email message included links, posted below, to prominent publications concerning the three Muslim-American servicemen buried at Arlington.

  1. Army Maj. James M. Ahearn, 43, Concord; killed with another soldier by a bomb in Iraq” (Los Angeles Times)
  2. Serving Was Soldier’s Mission” (Washington Post)
  3. More on the Soldier Kareem R. Khan” (New York Times)

Patrick also included a link to Colin Powell’s interview on Islam, in which he discusses one of those three servicemen. Click here to view a clip of the interview.

Although this commentary covers a topic that may seem to have nothing to do with the financial markets, there is a point here. The point of this exercise is to serve as a follow-up to our piece “Warnings,” in which we discussed distortions, hyperbole, demagoguery, and bombast. The use of those manipulative tools in politics, economics, governance, and media are intrinsically warnings. Those who do not heed warnings sometimes have to pay a serious price later for their inattentiveness. Other commentaries in response to “Warnings” are forthcoming. We will include implications for financial markets in some of them.

Our great country thrives on diversity. The vast majority of Muslims who immigrate to the United States are not the enemy. Perhaps the words of George Santayana can guide us as we think about warnings and what we may or may not have learned so far.

Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (Bartlett’s)

George Santayana (1863-1952) wrote The Life of Reason (1905-1906), Vol. 1, Reason in Common Sense. He paraphrased Euripides, who said, “Whoso neglects learning in his youth, loses the past and is dead for the future.” Santayana also paraphrased Thucydides, who wrote The History of the Peloponnesian War in the fifth century B.C. and said, “My history has been composed to be an everlasting possession, not the showpiece of an hour.”

In these contentious times, we cannot allow ourselves to be swept up in the surging passions of the single hour while losing sight of what is real. Thoughtful folks must stand instead on the twin bulwarks of reason and the lasting lessons of history. In our view there is little difference between a fulminating cleric preaching hate and a businessman in a suit doing the same on a bus.

We all consider the former and fear it. Can we operate with a system that also considers the latter equally dangerous?

The story below is true. The writer is the daughter of my personal friend Michael Drury, who also now chairs the Global Interdependence Center. Mike is an accomplished world traveler and economist member of several prestigious groups.

His daughter’s story is found here and has become viral on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/sharareh.drury/posts/10153574865727034?pnref=story

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. RW commented on Dec 13

    Trump is only saying bluntly what has been present in Republican dog whistles since Nixon and Lee Atwater.

    Still, I want to say I am sympathetic to those who fear terrorism — those who don’t understand statistics or believe in science are not going to be swayed by knowing the odds of being killed by a sibling or spouse are far greater — but whether it is witches on broomsticks or brown folk in headscarfs there also comes a point where feelings of disgust with foolishness, cowardice or prejudice begin to war with a fear of my own, a fear of what ignorant, frightened and angry people are capable of.

  2. Molesworth commented on Dec 13

    Note today’s TBP quote to your right on the sidebar. Apt.

  3. Terry commented on Dec 13

    Life is full of risks, one of which is terrorism. Nonetheless, as terrible as terrorism is, I expect the risk of dying from a terrorism attack in the US is less than being hit by lightning, certainly less than being hit by car as a pedestrian. Yet some of us continue golf on stormy days and jaywalk.

    When we ban all golf and all walking, then Trump’s comments will make sense (or at least be joined by equally stupid ideas).

  4. Whammer commented on Dec 13

    That story by Ms. Drury is appalling.

Read this next.

Posted Under