Friday, June 04, 2004
Apparently I have ran out of indignation, temporarily I hope, which would also explain my recent inactivity. Reading the news and fuming afterwards is simply unhelpful, and so I have stopped. I wince whenever I hear something bad on NPR, and can't really bring myself to wince more by thinking about it afterwards. Punditry is an odious habit; the self-important, self-indignant, philosophically pretentious, Socrates-in-the-midst-of-fools style punditry is throughly disgusting (This is why I can't stand Thomas Friedman; Maureen Dowd is at least entertaining and capable of occasional self-deprecation.). People aren't fools dimly aware; insulated & lazy, yes, but not stupid. What we need is to engage in little self-examination now and then; punditry and to a large extent, formal education, only serves to insulate people from having to do their own thinking with wooly notions and rote.

This is something that I really appreciate about Science, and why I love it: the essence of Science its constant self re-evaluation of itself. Science is self-correcting in the sense it obtains the right answers even though scientists always make mistakes. It is not possible to be a wooly-headed pundit or a dogmatic blow-hard in Science, because Science is supremely skeptical and the burden of proof is high. In other words it has a set of high standards that routine life do not.

Today is the 15th anniversary of Tiananmen, and what is there to say about it? I can't really bring myself to argue with the considerable numbers of people who argue how really, it wasn't as bad as it looked, or how really, plenty of governments have done much worse, and at least China is getting rich, &c. &c. In an "realistic" evaluation (via GDP, per capita) China is better-off now, than it was in 1989; but what existence does a country really have outside of the individual existences of is people collected? More than its policies, it is the CCP's stubborn refusal in the last 15 years to re-examine itself, that really dismays me. That so many people, in China and abroad, have gone along with this, makes me positively sick. Mistakes can be corrected, policies can change, parties can be thrown out of government, but how can any of this be possible if we don't constantly re-evaluate what we have done? People here who hold their noses and talk about whether the Dems or the GOP is the lesser of two evils, but really they are more or less all the same, &c., have no idea what utter political impotence, the lack of even an appearance of being able to make a public decision, is like.