“This is a helluva way to run a railroad.” –from a 1906 speech by Leonor F. Loree, railroad executive, to a committee of creditors who asked him to take charge of the Kansas City Southern Railroad, which was described as two streaks of rust; its engines lost steam; the men were disheartened; and the stations were shacks.

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Since first said in 1906, the above quote has famously become a catchphrase for the high-and-mighty mentality of any commercial, governmental, military, or other top-down entity operating in a fashion oblivious to SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up). I (and maybe you too) have had occasion to view SNAFU close-up and personal, having served as a draftee in the military and as a 30-year “soldier” in the corporate milieu before retiring to savor domestic life anew (and rue honey-do). But at least I’m the boss of my own blog (though still at the mercy of invisible forces somewhere out there in the blogosphere).

Anyway, being of a philosophical bent, this got me to thinking about helluva railroads and SNAFU, writ LARGE –as in, dude: how did this whole woebegone world come to be so SNAFUed? Do we have a clue? Perhaps a few of us do.

It’s a story we can’t stop telling ourselves. Once, humans were benighted by superstition and irrationality, but then the Greeks invented reason. Later, the Enlightenment enshrined rationality as the supreme value. Discovering that reason is the defining feature of out species, we named ourselves the “rational animal.” But is this flattering story rational? From sex and music to religion and war, irrationality makes up the greater part of human life and history. –from a reference to IRRATIONALITY (subtitled A HISTORY OF THE DARK SIDE OF REASON), a book by Justin E. H. Smith, a professor of history and the philosophy of science.

Well, if that isn’t food for thought, I don’t know what is. The problem, of course, is what it has always been: those most in need of reflecting on and applying such appraisal to oneself wouldn’t be caught dead doing so. It’s Greek to them. The Trumps of the world live in their own little world where big money talks….and it speaks power.

Oh well. So much for funny money.