The Age of Enlightenment Has Left the Building (At Least in America)
by Bob Schwartz
Age of Enlightenment: an intellectual and scientific movement of 18th century Europe which was characterized by a rational and scientific approach to religious, social, political, and economic issues.
It was great while it lasted. At times difficult, but fun too. The Age of Enlightenment gave us, for example, the American Revolution. Helpful.
If more evidence is needed that the “rational and scientific approach” is going or gone, here is the new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on the role of carbon dioxide in global warming:
“There’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact…So, no, I would not agree that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change disagrees with him. Almost all scientists disagree with him. The current EPA website disagrees with him (though that will be fixed). Many junior high school students disagree with him (though our new Secretary of Education should be able to fix that too).
The Age of Enlightenment doesn’t have a special holiday, because it is already embedded in so much we do (see, for example, the Fourth of July). But maybe we should at least recognize its passing. We’ll miss it, more than we know.
I love you, Bob, but there’s no news here, is there? Pretty much EVERY one of Trump’s picks is THE worst possible choice, in terms of fit, qualification, and experience. They are all selections that are arrogantly defiant and cynical to the max. Scott Pruitt falls right into that mode. It’s the “new normal”, and just another example that the right is wrong. Go write about Satie, or something we might not so readily know. (Really enjoyed the Satie verses, BTW)
Thanks for the appreciation and the comment. Yes, you are completely correct in saying that there is no news here (sun rises in east, tigers have stripes, etc.) On top of that, so many others are earnestly and with good intentions reporting stuff like this, stuff that we already know. I have tried and continue to try to strike a balance that is healthy for me, for my readers and for the world. Faced with the circumstances, I will try, as you suggest, to add a little light where I can, and not get mired in nonsense. That’s kind of what I suggest to others, so I best take my own advice. Thanks again.
Since English was not my first language, Bob, and communication (especially on paper) being so tricky, please allow me to clarify. There was no complaint about you writing the piece per se – indeed, I rather enjoyed reading the sobering comparison (if one could use that word in a piece on a subject so grim). So, my “criticism” was tongue-in-cheek, with the focus much more on this being just one individual on a ship of fools, even if one can argue that, in this ugly litter, the Pruitt puppy is particularly unattractive.
Oh no, I did not take it as a complaint. I think I needed to express my own ambivalence about being so caught up in these special times. Thanks for mentioning “ship of gools.” It’s almost worth a post of its own. Here’s an excerpt from the original description in Plato’s Republic: “Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors are quarreling with one another about the steering––every one is of the opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary.” A perect description, isn’t it?
PERFECT! So now we have, to go with the platonic one, a REAL ship of fools.