Nate Binzen's blog spells out the latest.
terreplein (ter' pla-n) n. [Fr. < It. terrepieno < terrapienare, to fill with earth, terrace < terra (see TERRACE) + pienare, to fill < L. plenus, full: see PLENTY] a level platform behind a parapet, rampart, etc., where guns are mounted
Thursday, November 28, 2002
Go to the story of the source. Go to the art of sublime origin. Find the stone, the water, the sky, the life-fuse.
On free-market ideology, faith in technology, and other contemporary religions:
Religion is everywhere in this world. Economics, politics, and science are rife with religion.
No, I'm not talking about John Ashcroft's brand of Christian fundamentalism. "Religion" is simply any belief in something without the backing of stone solid scientific proof. Any such belief is an act of faith.
Mind you, I'm not dissing such faith. Life and love cannot exist without it. But an awareness of the ubiquity of religious faith sheds a different light on the workings of worldly affairs.
In particular, beliefs about the future are religion.
If you produce a predictive model based on relevant facts and hypotheses, and you trust that that model gives you a reasonable guide to future events, you are practicing science.
But whenever you really believe that the predicted events will occur, you are practicing religion. You are being guided by faith. Often, ideologies are built on a foundation of such faith.
Thus, when IMF bankers believe that a recipe of fiscal austerity, liberalized trade and capital markets, and privatization will improve the lot of developing countries, they are practicing their religion.
If you believe that advances in technology will save us from global warming and the draining of the earth's fossil fuels, you are practicing your religion.
None of this is to say you are right or wrong in your belief. It is just to say that you have found a rock of assurance in something that cannot be shown to actually exist.
Those who advocate, legislate, or issue orders guided by such beliefs are practicing religious ideology. A dark confirmation of the religious quality of such ideology is the way in which decision-maker-believers sometimes seek to hereticize those who do not share their belief.
A final thought on the recent election. California governor Gray Davis refused to debate Green candidate Peter Camejo, saying in effect that it was beneath his dignity to be in a debate with anyone who isn't in the Republican or Democratic parties -- e.g., a "serious" candidate. Yet the man Davis refused to be in the same room with got 6 percent of the vote -- without the exposure and legitimacy that a debate with the incumbent naturally provides. What percentage might Camejo have gotten if he had been allowed to debate the two other candidates in public? Isn't it ironic that Camejo's chance was disallowed by one man, the incumbent governor Gray Davis? Mightn't it be better if an election commission dictates such things (well, maybe a little better -- maybe?)?
It goes without saying that a person who is not allowed into the official debates never has won an election and hopefully never will, because such an outcome would indicate a genuine revolution against the standing power. Actually... not such a bad idea...
Like some kind of Roman tribune, this power to break a legitimate contender's chances is concentrated in the hands of one man -- the challenger's own opponent, yet -- and yet -- this is the breathtaking part -- look at how undemocratic a man Gray Davis is. Anyone who calls themselves a (small-d) democrat should be utterly disgusted with Davis. Because there's only one plausible reason for him to wallow in his worst instincts -- his fear of how good Camejo is.
I just saw Peter Camejo talking today at the Green Fest in San Francisco. He was actually giving investment advice less than a week after the election. That's his job, and he's darn good at it. In fact, it's obvious that his intelligence, fresh, great ideas, leadership and charisma would have posed a major threat to both Davis and the "businessman" Simon.
(One final note: Camejo the investment guy reminded us that Davis's purchase of long-term energy contracts during the energy crisis was, in dollar terms, the worst investment in the history of the world).