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dusty dead old men vs. teknocrats

February 3, 2011

“remove God, and the government becomes God” – GK Chesterton

Agree or disagree with the premise – but Francis Schafer’s idea from “How then shall we live” has stuck with me. The question he asks  is similar to the premise of “Guns Germs and Steel” – why – if the Western Europeans aren’t any more intelligent than any other race on the planet – did so many of the breakthrough innovations and discoveries in the 18th-21st centuries originate in the West? His answer? From Chapter 7

The foundation of science is rooted in confidence that God designed the universe with intent for us to discover it

Both these recent articles point out the difference between a teknocrat and the brilliant, unconventional, difficult to constrain innovators. Discovery, creativity, the uncredentialed represent a frightening reality that everything cannot be controlled, managed and predicted.

 Barack Obama is the quintessential product of modern Western culture: credentialed, polished, connected, and inculcated with a belief in government solutions for everything  …

…What it boils down to is a hubristic notion that we have the knowledge and wisdom to organize our fellow men for a collective “good” that we define. Ancient emperors of the pagan world used to operate on this principle; the divine-right monarchs of Europe did so, as have Marxist revolutionaries, fascists, and autocratic rulers in the Islamic world.

The point is really that while Obama got the youth vote out, his ideas and his very self as a product of the late modern West are not new at all. They’re old, tired, predictable. They attempt to control and assert control where there is none to be had.

we cannot order and control each other to avert all possible forms of injustice. Nor do we exert any control over earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, the energy of the sun, the orbit of the moon, the path of the Milky Way through the cosmos, or the development of living species on earth.’

Fundamentally, this is what I believe is the root of “global warming” – the desire to believe that the very weather can be controlled by humanity simply because we’ve convinced ourselves we have an outsized impact upon it. And the real tragedy of this is how dull, dusty, boring and lifeless it causes life to be…

Uncredentialed Wonder:… today  it does seem that credentials matter more than ability. Demonstrating that one is able to conform to curricula currently trumps boldness; seat hours in the auditorium count more than audacity…

It is a wonderful thing to sit in a classroom and grow in knowledge, if one is in fact doing that, but often it seems that degrees should be awarded in going through the motions; they come without a genuine expansion of thought, or an enlargement of wonder

if credentials are all we value, we miss out on the Churchill, or the Baxter, or the Hamill, to our great detriment

Hope is no longer audatious – ability is trumped by connections to the “palace” and the palace power brokers – the truly creative are stifled and devalued. To me, this kind of bankrupcy is an even more tragic legacy than the trillions of dollars of debt we’re left with…

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