All judgement flees: cretinism gets a ‘hip’ new brand

Maybe it was always there and I didn’t see it, or didn’t care. Or maybe it is a more recent phenomenon. Perhaps a bit of both: it might have been that I didn’t care for the isolated instances of bad or missing judgement, but now that they are popular, populist, and even ‘trendy’, I find myself galled almost daily by their intrusive ever-presence.

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TLDR: why things turned out so crappy

Admiral Hyman Rickover.
Admiral Hyman Rickover.

Some recent ‘readings’ raised for me once more the topic of orthodoxy and opposition to it. That is, the idea of questioning ‘mainstream’ ideas about political economy, social norms, the ends of humanity, and the means we use to pursue actual as opposed to propagandised ends.

Not a very sexy topic for many people, because it requires patience and the will to understand that there are many more points of view than the stereotypical binary oppositions offered to us by partisans in those fights. Communism and capitalism. Decency and deviance. Lawful and lawless. Social and antisocial. Even good and evil.

In some tangential way these themes came to me again with force via a reminder of Admiral HG Rickover’s 1982 Henry Morgenthau Lecture, by the first six episodes of Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States, by Cosma Shalizi’s critique of central planning, and by Evgeny Morozov’s views on the dangers of digital tyranny.

In the mental amalgam of these not too disparate strands of thought, I was drawn again to the idea that we choose to turn our backs on alternatives and seem far too ready to embrace what is as inevitable rather than focusing on what we could create that might be better.

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