We live in an age that admires those brave enough to challenge widely held orthodoxies. (Not those of our own age, of course. Let’s not get carried away.) Here, among other things, David Berlinski dares to suggest (correctly in my view), that most fundamental research exists almost entirely to amuse the few people who find that sort of thing interesting.
(*no, it didn’t)
Is it mean to laugh when part of a civilization enters full-blown dementia?
The downside of modern electoral democracy is that it aggressively screens out those candidates suited for office like no other job application process on earth. A candidate with a clearly articulated philosophy of what government should do and why and how it should do it would put the press into a coma and send the party strategists into a panic. Careful explanations contain multiple sentences. Sentences, which on their own might be excerpted and used by the other side as weapons to mislead. Crude “talking points” which resist being reduced to smaller fragments, stimulate the erogenous zones of the necessary subsections of the electorate, and fit into a headline are the only way to go.
Moreover, the degrading nature of the whole spectacle acts as an effective barrier to people with an ounce of self-awareness, capacity for shame, or a sense of decorum. So we get this: http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/03/07/why-dont-you-go-steal-some-more-money-from-your-mother-tory-and-ndp-mps-in-nasty-commons-foyer-exchange/