History is useful to the extent we learn from it what we need to know about the times in which we live. Richard Friedlander says that when it comes to folly history is a repeat offender.
Barbara Tuchman was twice a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian with no advanced degree but a commitment to telling history in a way everyone could understand. One of her books, "The March of Folly," dealt with historical periods in which leaders knew they had taken the wrong road, but chose to drive off the cliff rather than change course.
The first of the four events examined was the Trojans wheeling the great wooden horse within their walls despite the repeated warnings of Cassandra and others that it would lead to their city’s destruction.
The second study concerned the six Renaissance papacies, which, despite constant cautions kept to their corrupt and venal ways and brought on the Protestant Reformation.
England’s Mad King George the Third was next up to the plate. His policy of trying to coerce the colonies into obedience, when opposed even by his own prime minister, cost him the second most prized jewel in his imperial crown.