The piece is titled Two Bad Answers?answers, that is to the question: "What kind of politics is best suited to a postindustrial society?"
(As always in the matter of titles, columnists propose but editors dispose. My proposed title was "Let A Hundred Flowers Wilt.")
I couldn't resist a brief self-promotion:
The first thing to be said about this is that if, like me, you welcome summer by reading a good thick middlebrow novel, here’s just the thing. Not only is it the definitive 6-4 novel, it would also have been the definitive 1980s bond-trader novel if Tom Wolfe hadn’t got in first with Bonfire of the Vanities; and it would have been the definitive opera novel if Willa Cather hadn’t ditto with Song of the Lark. Damn these wanna-be-first upstarts!The piece drew a gratifyingly long and thoughtful comment thread. In among it was commenter "Tom Thumb" who first quoted my column saying:
Tomorrow’s politics will be the art of providing make-work for as many as possible of the employable minority while pacifying the un-employable majority with a state dole. In that world, universal-suffrage democracy will be untenable.Then he commented:
I have a letter to the editor in today's paper addressing this whole thing. I put it this way: people who do useful work, people who do useless work and people who do nothing.I followed that with:
That's very good, Tom. I shall plagiarize. Interesting to try to reconstruct the historical ratios useful-useless-nothing. For the U.S.A. I'd guess the mid-19C to be 85-10-5, the mid-20C maybe 60-25-15, the mid-21st perhaps 30-30-40.Several readers scoffed that I was being way too nice.
Inside today's large companies there is an unfathomable amount of people and entire departments that have not a thing to do with the mission and function of the company. You can start with HR, Compliance, Community Outreach, Inclusion; but it doesn't end there. As someone who sells six-figure-plus technical solutions into major corporations, I'd add Procurement to that group. They seem to know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.It is, of course, a matter of definitions. Is reviewing science books and blogging about the National Question, politics, and Human Science topics useful, useless, or nothing? Uh . . .
I have as usual been remiss about posting notices to stuff I've published in other outlets. Try my feature in the June American Spectator reporting on the Tucson "Toward a Science of Consciousness" conference.