Still thinking about freedom. And about something that Walt wrote:
The question for us– who historically knew freedom as a tangible substance– is will we, as peoples, forget what we knew? And/or, will our children be taught to unlearn it?
I was thinking today that ideas like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ and so on might be said to be rather 18th century concepts, which have gradually ceased to mean very much. They’ve become obsolete. They’ve passed their sell-by date.
These days, with the rise of science, our elites tend towards a ‘scientific’ view of human life and human society – even though very few of them have any scientific education.
Our current eugenic social engineering programmes aimed at eradicating tobacco and alcohol and obesity are examples of late 19th century or early 20th century ‘progressive’ scientific thinking.
And notions like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ really have no place at all in scientific thinking. Neither do ‘compassion’ and ‘love’. Or ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Or ‘God’ and ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’. They’re entirely absent, after all, from physics and chemistry and biology. And so they are entirely absent from a ‘scientific’ view of life.
Instead, there seems to be a tendency to see human societies made up of millions of people as being akin to human bodies made up of trillions of cells, all under top-down DNA control, and all being told when to reproduce and when to die. Our modern technocrats are trying to create human societies which are like human cellular societies, and as much under the control of human will as the fingers that are typing these words. Which might explain why they are trying to micro-manage everyone’s lives.
That said, more or less all ‘science’ today seems to be pseudo-science. Eugenics is pseudo-science, much like antismoking ‘science’ is pseudo-science, and climate ‘science’ is also pseudo-science. And pseudo-science, more or less by definition, bears little or no relationship to the real world. It’s bound to be mistaken. And since it’s mistaken, its application will be as disastrous as the application of aeronautical pseudo-science in the design of new aircraft: The planes won’t fly.
So we’re in a situation where a set of useful but ‘outdated’ ideas have been thrown away, and replaced with a new, ‘up-to-date’ – but almost entirely worthless – set of pseudo-scientific ideas and doctrines.
And if you’re a member of the political elite, and privy to the latest ‘scientific’ thinking, it’s not just that you live inside a physical or geographical Westminster or Beltway bubble, but that you also belong in a cultural bubble of shared ideas – e.g. contemporary eugenic thinking – which isn’t shared by the wider population. For the modern emphasis on ‘health’ clearly grows out of some elite, ‘progressive’ culture to which the likes of Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg and David Cameron all belong – but hardly anybody else.
The old values and terminologies of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’, of ‘compassion’ and ‘love’, and also of ‘God’ and ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’, linger on only in the unreconstructed wider society, despite attempts to ‘educate’ people about the importance of ‘health’.
Anyway, in respect of Walt’s question, I suppose I believe that we will have to rediscover ideas like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ and perhaps even ‘God’, but we will have to rediscover them in the context of genuine science. Because I don’t think any of them are going to go away any time soon. For just because modern science has no terminology to describe some concepts does not mean such concepts are meaningless or valueless.