Evan Bayh, Ctd.
The historian Arnold Toynbee famously theorized that history proceeds by a special type of dialectic: challenge and response. He believed that flourishing civilizations grew in response to the challenges they faced. The Catholic Church, for example, responded to the anarchy following the collapse of the Roman Empire by uniting the warring kingdoms under a single religious creed. “Civilizations die from suicide, not murder,” Toynbee wrote. The fatal blow comes not from an external enemy but from a lack of inner resolve. When what Toynbee called a “creative minority” does not rise to the occasion of a great challenge, society withers and dies.
When Evan Bayh histrionically despairs of our political system’s capacity to adjust itself, he is implying that worse men and women than he are murdering our politics. But by turning up his nose and sashaying out of the public fray (and into his next lucrative private endeavor), he is the one who is destroying his own “beloved” country—by bringing America one step closer to dying by its own hand.