Thursday, April 07, 2011

Tidal waves and conservatism

Here is a link to an article on a protective measure against tsunamis that didn't work.

Modern sea walls failed to protect coastal towns from Japan's destructive tsunami last month. But in the hamlet of Aneyoshi, a single centuries-old tablet saved the day.
"High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants," the stone slab reads. "Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis. Do not build any homes below this point."
It was advice the dozen or so households of Aneyoshi heeded, and their homes emerged unscathed from a disaster that flattened low-lying communities elsewhere and killed thousands along Japan's northeastern shore.
I think those who are not conservative tend to forget the lessons learned by their forebears, often learned the hard way, with much pain and anguish.  They fail to realize that the quaint, old-fashioned, "outdated" customs they would overturn may be answers to very painful questions. 

In a number of instances, I would caution those who would throw away the quaint, old-fashioned customs to first be very sure what problem they were developed to solve, and then be very sure that particular solution is no longer needed.

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