The Age of Incompetence – Intro

The Roman empire fell because of a fatal cocktail of arrogance, incompetence and indifference. Arrogance and incompetence result in an inability to identify problems, in a tendency to underestimate (or, dare I say, misunderestimate) challenges and threats, and the incapacity to solve them. Indifference lets those problems further fester and grow, like gangreen, or a cancer tumor, until it’s too late and the patient is lost.
The West and the United States in particular can be and is being regarded in many ways as an empire, and in my opinion an empire worth sustaining, as there doesn’t seem to be a much better alternative. The values of the Illumination, the resulting progress in science and technology, the liberties we enjoy as a result of the efforts of Voltaire, Montesquieu and countless others have given the western civilization and culture tremendous leverage. The US, even under the command of Bush and his acolytes (or should I say, Rove and his acolytes), still embodies these values, more so I think than Europe, which has become somewhat cynical and tired after a bloody and war torn century.
Arrogance and indifference are now certainly quite ubiquitous, it suffices to read about the startling statements of Donald Rumsfeld in the news today to get an idea.
It is however the third demon, Incompetence, that bothers me the most. The rise of religion, and its inverse proportionality to scientific progress is one thing. The tightening of immigration laws in the US, reducing the number of qualified engineers and scientists around, is another one. The local level of education yet another one (add some creationism and related religious crap in highschool and we can start playing in the same class as Saudi-Arabia). Competence is the only thing that will save us and keep the barbarians at the gate. Maybe India or China will be the next emperors (though I wouldn’t rule out the Republic of California), but they will do so by unleashing the power of their people’s minds, and keeping religion and other mind viruses where they belong.
I decided to do my bit and started writing an essay called ‘The Age of Incompetence’, in which I intend to structure all these favorite little topics and thoughts on the matter of mine to which you can regard this an introduction. As usual, I will wrap up things ‘morregen’...

6 Responses to “The Age of Incompetence – Intro“

  1. Hombre Says:

    Een link met meer Dawkins:
    http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/dawkins/WorldOfDawkins-archive/index.shtml

  2. Ayatola Hombre Says:

    Wat een pompeus gestamel…

  3. El Hombre Says:

    Ik kan u overladen met nog veel meer ‘pompeus gestamel’ moest ge daar zin in hebben, arrogant stuk paljas. Maar ik apprecieer uiteraard uw feedback.
    Verder Hombre, bedankt voor de link, Dawkins is inderdaad een uitermate verlichte mens…

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Ik heb ongeveer alles op die site gelezen, en ga me een paar van zijn boeken aanschaffen. Elke mens die een beetje wil proberen de wereld te begrijpen zou dit moeten lezen.

  5. Hombre Says:

    Die Anonymous ben ik dus

  6. El Hombre Says:

    Hazo!
    Ja, ik heb grote stukken van ‘a devil’s chaplain’ gelezen (een verzameling essay’s en stukjes) en heb nog meer appetijt want hij heeft de gave zijn striemende opinies en grote gedrevenheid in redelijk onderhoudend proza te vertolken.


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