It was a theory adopted during the Cold War — embraced by those brilliant Harvard-educated policy wonks in the Kennedy Administration and beyond — believing that if one nation succumbed to the evils of communism, others would quickly fall like a perfectly aligned row of dominos.
A theory is perfectly fine to have; once applied in practice, however, it can have devastating consequences. It was based upon such a theory that Vietnam was fought for — a backward country full of jungles and malaria, of which few Americans were even aware of its existence until thousands — then, tens of thousands — of young men began to die there.
Like other theories which once were embraced by intellectuals and “experts” whom everyone accepted as smarter than everyone else, such beliefs and those who once held them are now merely leftover vestiges of historical follies. Once Vietnam fell, the rest of the world did not fall like the dominos they were supposed to represent.
We tend to forget that a theory is merely a thought put together in an antiseptic setting divorced from reality and, even if applied to the real world, may remain as nothing more than an academic exercise. It may be nothing more than the “flat-earth theory”; one can believe in it, but it doesn’t make it true.
In other areas of life and practice, however, real-world consequences force people to actually respond in more practical ways. There are “theories”, and then there are applications which have real-world consequences. Vietnam was a prime example. Having a theory that you are invincible and indestructible is one thing; walking in front of an oncoming bus to test such a theory — well, that is quite another matter.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management because of a medical condition, one may well have a “theory” that getting an OPM Disability Retirement is merely a matter of gathering one’s medical records and filling out those incomprehensible OPM Disability Standard Forms (SF 3107 Series and SF 3112 Series); but if you actually test out that theory, it is likely that you will end up with a denial from OPM.
Before testing out such a theory, however, you may want to contact a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest your theory concerning the ease of getting a Federal or Postal Employee Disability annuity ends up like those other theories, like the Domino Theory of the forgotten past.
Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.