Misc people have lauded Kwame Anthony Appiah and his piece What will future generations condemn us for? He comes up with four fairly obvious and worthy answers: prisons, industrialised meat, isolation of the elderly, the environment. He doesn’t dare mention some other obvious ones: the war on terror, the war on drugs, for example, are notorious failures that have cost countless billions and countless lives. And mine, after not all that much reflection, are:
1. Our ridicuous decision-making processes. We have institutionalised bad leadership and institutions and structures that are appalling at taking decisions. And whenever anyone mentions this, some idiot is bound to pop up and say, aha, its the worst form of government except for any other, as though it made sense. This one fault causes so many others. For example, we have a fairly rubbish popular press that feeds the masses what they want: tripe. With a more sensible process, this wouldn’t matter.
2. Lawyers. First up against the wall when the revolution came, of course. Part of problem 1, too, but a problem in their own right. Far too many sane and sensible things cannot be done because of our ridiculous legal system, which similarly mandates and number of insane things. Yes, I’ve just confused the legal system with the lawyers, but I don’t care.
3. Waste and general “fatness”. Not fat as in your body being overweight, though that is a small part of it. Water-fat, as in Dune. Fat as in all the rest: the fools who drive SUV’s, who need ridiculous numbers of toys (who, after all, could possibly need a GPS watch? This one folds into “environment”, too.
4. Schools. Or, perhaps, just the general shape of society. Which indeed folds into his “isolation of the elderly”. Some schools teach some children well. But for many pupils at many schools they are really just a baby-sitting service allowing the parents to work. Am I being unfair? Yes, because in fact all the schools I’ve been associated with have been pretty good. But still there is that sense that there is just too much… teaching. I’m not being very clear, am I?
5. Religion. Sign of a sick society if there is too much of it (there, I threw that one in for PZ, I hope he is happy now). I’m prepared to cope with the good old C of E though.
Enough ranting for one evening.