Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Momentous Implosion of the Liberal Enlightenment in our Time

In this election we are witnessing the gradual and continuing implosion of the Liberal Enlightenment begun in the 18th century. The belief that, through the use of scientific rationalism the future can be bought and harnessed with the judicious use of the “right” Science, the “right” equations and the "right" data.
An early symptom was the depressive bully, Alastair Campbell and his belief that the ‘control’ of the News by politicians and arrogant Spin Doctors could really be achieved until Iraq proved him wrong. It moved through the 2008 banking crash, where it was demonstrated that human folly and rapaciousness in the markets could not be controlled by economic forecasting. From there to the failure of the pollsters to manage the outcome with Brexit and Trump and, now, the all too explicit meme in use in the data-generated mantra chanted to the voterbots of “Strong and Stable” when there is no such politician anywhere on the horizon.
The rationalist belief in control of the future presumes to replace reliance on stout moral character in the face of an always unpredictable future. For how can the future, by definition, ever be anything other than unpredictable?
It is Churchill replaced by an insulting algorithm and humility replaced by the illusion of perfect control achieved through science and a God complex. Hubris begins to meet its nemesis.

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