[Letter excerpt, probably 1955]
I have had my ever-wandering attention drawn to a number of colorful magazine articles about our Maxl [Gen. Maxwell Taylor]. My busum swells with pride when I now remember that the same dinky little 75 mm shell the gave him his Purple Heart covered me from head to foot with a fine powder of red brick dust. Also that on that occasion our general was a very surprised man – which Napoleon says no general worthy of the name ever should be.
Well, that all has bearing on the case. One day Ike and Winnie gave us a speech, and then Stettinius gave one, then Monty, and Ike again, then Gen. Sir Miles Dempsey, and so on. And the moral of it all, rubbed in deeper and deeper after every performance, was the old quantula sapientia regitur mundus [with what little wisdom the world is governed!].
They may have had character and dash, and Churchill did have imagination – but not one of them seemed really to know what it was about; they were always being “briefed” on this and that, but none of them bothered to carry around in his head any permanent usable fund of stuff – the Junkers had it all over them in Bildung.
I think that was my hero’s weakness (always granting, of course, the possibility that as a human he could’ve had a weaker side) – somebody had briefed him on railroads and that was it. I am afraid the human race is hopelessly inadequate and, as Plato says, those who are so supremely naïve as to offer themselves as leaders are the worst of all.