Sunday, January 14, 2007

 

On the nature of society?


Do you like this quotation? Do you agree with it?

“I would sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.” -- William F. Buckley, Jr., c. 1965

Comments:
No and No. Ever since Bush got voted into office for the second time, I've lost all faith in democracy. It's just a form of mob rule, and elections are just popularity contests. Better to have a ruling elite of intelligent and well educated leaders.
 
Given how Boston and Harvard have changed so dramatically since Buckley said this in 1965, I wonder whether he still feels this way.

For me, it depends on the city. I'd happily accept Boston's governance over Harvard's. But I'd be concerned about, say, Lubbock Texas.
 
The first option, (telephone book), would most likely yield the equivalent of rule by referenda which only works if individuals are sufficiently educated in history, ethics, etc. to rule by empathy, compassion and reason rather than reaction or religious persuasion. The second option would yield a well educated but elite ruling class. We've experienced rule by elite class, (Roman Empire, Medieval Europe etc), and have apparently rejected that route.

So I will accept neither and suggest that many of William F Buckley's positions (on firearms etc.) are dangerous if not absurd..this quote well represents his style of blindered black or white optionalism and hints at his propensity for specious argument.
 
I prefer not to be ruled. Given the choice, I'll select a random lot of everyday joes with diverse opinions, backgrounds and experiences over the more homogenous academic elite.
 
If you replaced the Boston phone book with that of your hometown/current address would it change your position?

Is there a school/organization other that Harvard that would change your position?
 
possibly , or more pertinently "why are clever people so stupid ?" .
consider bees ants etc- clever people who have learned their biology in rote fashion say that drones worker ants etc are showing "altruism" due to their not reproducing/passing their genes on.. surely they are merely "bots" and part of the way in which a queen bee /ant creates a new queen bee
or ant? again, survival of the fittest is considered to be the be all and end all of existence , have they never heard of contingency nor considered the slowness of the process - how many people does the average first world person know who have not lived to an age where they are capable of reproducing ? very few i expect. the good and evil top 10 you hosted was a very good example of people missing the point
most replies were of people thinking with their egos not their brains, most overlooked the fact that an awful lot of people in the world are quite capable of committing evil acts/ are committing evil acts /have committed evil acts - this has been the story of mankind throughout recorded history - children have been tortured horribly brutally in agony ripped to bits throughout this century yet still people try to justify it in terms of who they identify with , in terms of "the great game" , in terms of "the clash of civilisations" and other such rubbish ; the pain of a child ripped apart by an american cluster bomb is not the less for being in the service of the war on terror , equally a child ripped to bits by a mob in rwanda does not feel any less pain because it has died in the service of "ethnic cleansing"- would
it not be better not to have the educated elite in charge - phil dick
summed them up perfectly in null-o ,
rationality without responsibility ..go read it
 
Neither idea works well, that's one of the several reasons we don't and never have lived in a democracy. For which we should all give thanks, daily.
And to agree with another comment, I'd prefer not to be ruled by either.
But in an enforced choice, I'll take the phone book. If there is anything that the last 50 years have taught us, it is that great knowledge in a particular field does not necessarily impart wisdom, or kindness, nor patriotism, nor a sense of one's own limitations or of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
The faculties of most major universities serve as useful examples of this: experts in linguistics, or history, or art blathering idiocies on climate change or economics when most can't count their own fingers and get the same answer twice.
 
I don't think it really matters. In the end, they're all human and no amount of intellect can save us from our own nature. Sorry, that's a cheap answer.

I don't think it's really a question of who governs us, but how they do it. Do they sit in a room, far removed from the consequences of their decisions? Or are they on the proverbial front lines, directly affected by the decisions they make? Given a choice, if the latter applies, I'll take the Harvard scholars. They'll probably be too busy arguing amongst themselves to do too much damage anyways.
 
Sit in your car at your local grocery store and watch the people going in and out. Is there anyone you see someone you would want as your leader? To me they look like capalistic mongloids. Do we really want the whole world to look like these people? Because they are the democratic product. Take away the oil and see what happens to their society. However, in the store there were people who looked kind and loving. Every society since the beginning of time have had the same kind of market experience.
 
Dear Karl,

Please don't put these posters on your list.

Thank-you,
Chappele, The writers of the Daily Show, The Corbert Report, Bill Mayer, Ricky Garvis, Bach, Handel and over 3,000 conspiracy sights.Etc.
 
He's a Yale guy -- wouldn't say it about Yale.
 
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