Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Thinking about what might have been, and what might come to be.

We can't know what would have happened if what did happen hadn't happened.
The beginning of July will be the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. During the entire period, people have been playing the "what if" game, guessing what would have happened if this or that had happened differently at the battle. This may be a relatively benign pastime, but it is ultimately futile. We can't know what the alternate course of history would have been.
It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.
The Battle of Gettysburg was the high point of the Civil War effort by the Confederacy. It marked the furthest incursion into the north, and after the fall of Vicksburg and the loss at Gettysburg, the defeat of the Confederacy seemed to be inevitable. As far as I can see, the generals on each side, already tested in battle, did their best to assure that their sides would win the battle, but in the fog of battle unforeseen events intervened and their best laid plans went awry.

For us lesser mortals, it is well to remember that our forecasts are likely to be wrong, our plans to fail. At least we should have a plan B, and probably a C and D. It may also be better not to bet the house on any one prediction.

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