But I do want to call your attention to the blog’s “new” motto, which is not altogether new. I have heard the occasional question about the Latin phrase in the banner — which I had originally put there without giving much thought to how it would appear to readers — and so I have decided to replace the Latin with an English translation.
The quote is from seventeenth century Swedish statesman Axel Oxenstierna, who, when his son was heading to Westphalia to represent Sweden in peace negotiations in 1648, sought to calm his son’s nerves with the advice, “Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?” I have been struck by this quote since I first encountered it, and I found it appropriate for an ongoing discussion of Japanese politics, which every day seems to provide more evidence in support of Oxenstierna. Indeed, Aso Taro seems to reaffirm the value of this motto with each passing day.
Oxenstierna’s warning provides a useful reminder to all of us that national leaders are not nearly as in control of events as often appears, that far from being omnipotent and omniscient, our leaders — especially our democratic leaders — are just trying to keep their heads above water.