Misgovernment is of four kinds, often in combination. They are: 1) tyranny or oppression…2) excessive ambition…3) incompetence or decadence…and finally 4) folly or perversity. This book is concerned with the last in a specific manifestation; this is, the pursuit of policy contrary to the self-interest of the constituency or state involved.
To qualify as folly for this inquiry, the policy adopted must meet three criteria:  it must have been perceived as counter-productive in its own time, not merely by hindsight… Secondly a feasible alternative course of action must have been available… a third criterion must be that the policy in question should be that of a group, not an individual ruler, and should persist beyond any one political lifetime.
–Barbara Tuchman, The March of Folly
A rereading may be beneficial to one’s mental health.
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