A Cautionary Foreword
Many years ago, a grand nation—flush with victory—explained its victory with theory, and used the theory to explain many imagined future victories. When the future finally arrived, it was far less grand and much more costly than expected.
All the while, the nations the grand nation dismissed as lesser-in-theory kept their own counsel and waited as the lifecycle of arrogance quietly rusted away the theory-in-practice.
With the puffing vanity of a sort only bygone victory can sustain, the once-grand nation, blinded by the dazzling burlesque of its own decline, strutted about, unaware.
In the end, the theory deterred no one.
To what does this refer? We have a context in mind, but in general it refers to any situation in which theory making justifies one’s self-congratulatory sense of superiority. Situations such as this usually cry out for critical reframing.