State of Fear

Two days on the road and we arrived in Central California. Jen's family is here so we will have a small Christmas get-together (about 30 people). I finished reading the new book from Michael Crichton -- State of Fear -- a few minutes ago. It is a work of fiction but set in present times and deals with the current 'crisis' regarding the Environment. It is wonderful to see a book that has footnotes on most pages, several Appendices and about 23 pages of bibliographic References at the back. Dr. Crichton spent three years researching this and has come to some very interesting conclusions, ones that I agree with entirely. Basically, the Earth left what is called the Little Ice Age in the late 1800's and we are now entering a warming period. The Little Ice Age lasted about 400 years. Previous to that was a warming period which allowed for the archeological findings of wine grapes growing in Greenland. Here is one quote from the book -- the character was brought in to introduce a new idea. We have been warned against the growth of the Industrial-Millitary Complex. Here is a new one - the PLM - the Political-Legal-Media complex. Here's the quote:
"Fifty years ago, if you wanted to lead what was then called 'the life of the mind,' meaning to be an intellectual, to live by your wits, you had to work in a university. The society at large had no place for you. A few newspaper reporters, a few magazine journalists could be considered as living by their wits, but that was about it. Universities attracted those who willingly gave up worldly goods to live in a cloistered intellectual life, teaching timeless values to the younger generation. Intellectual work was the exclusive province of the university." "But today, whole sectors of society live the life of the mind. Our entire economy is based on intellectual work now. Thirty-six percent of workers are knowledge workers. That's more than are employed in manufacturing. And when professors decided they would no longer teach young people, but leave that task to their graduate students who knew much less than they did and spoke English poorly -- when that happened, the universities were thrown into crisis. What good were they anymore? They had lost their exclusive hold on the life of the mind. They no longer tought the young. Only so many theoretical texts on the semiotics of Foucault could be published in any single year. What was to become of our universities? What relevance did they have in the modern era?" He stood up, as if energised by this question. The abruptly he sat down again. "What happened," he continued, "is that the universities transofrmed themselves in the 1980s. Formerly bastions of intellectual freedom in a world of Babbittry, formerly the locus of sexual freedom and experimentation, they became the most restrictive environments in modern society. Because they had a new role to play. They became the creators of new fears for the PLM. Universities today are factories of fear. They invent all the new terrors and all the new social anxieties. All the new restrictive codes. Words you can't say. Thoughts you can't think. They produce a steady stream of new anxieties, dangers and social terrors to be used by politicians, lawyers and reporters. Foods that are bad for you. Behaviours that are unacceptable. Can't smoke, can't sweat, can't screw, can't think. These institutions have stood on their heads in a generation. It is really quite extraordinary." "The modern State of Fear could never exist without universities feeding it. There is a particular neo-Stalinist mode of thought that is required to support all this , and it can thrive only in a restrictive setting, behind closed doors, without due process. In our societies, only universities have created that -- so far. The notion that these institutions are liberal is a cruel joke. They are fascist to the core."
This particular character is prone to ranting but I cannot think of anything wrong with the preceeding quote... A bit over the top in its presentation but that is the character, not the thought. Check it out -- it's bound to annoy people but that alone makes it worth reading.

August 2019

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Environment and Climate
Cliff Mass Weather Blog
Climate Audit
Climate Depot
Green Trust
Jennifer Marohasy
Planet Gore
Science and Public Policy Institute
Solar Cycle 24
Space Weather
Space Weather - Canada
the Air Vent
Tom Nelson
Watts Up With That?

Science and Medicine
Derek Lowe
Junk Science
Life in the Fast Lane
Luboš Motl
New Scientist
Next Big Future
Ptak Science Books
Science Blog

Geek Stuff
Ars Technica
Boing Boing
Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
Hack a Day
Kevin Kelly - Cool Tools
Slashdot: News for nerds
The Register
The Daily WTF

The Argyle Sweater
Chip Bok
Broadside Cartoons
Day by Day
Medium Large
Michael Ramirez
Prickly City
User Friendly
What The Duck

Awkward Family Photos
Cake Wrecks
Not Always Right
Sober in a Nightclub
You Drive What?

Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog

Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
The Online Photographer

A Western Heart
American Digest
The AnarchAngel
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Babalu Blog
Belmont Club
Bayou Renaissance Man
Classical Values
Cold Fury
David Limbaugh
Defense Technology
Doug Ross @ Journal
Grouchy Old Cripple
Irons in the Fire
James Lileks
Lowering the Bar
Maggie's Farm
Marginal Revolution
Michael J. Totten
Mostly Cajun
Power Line
Questions and Observations
Rachel Lucas
Roger L. Simon
Sense of Events
Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
The Smallest Minority
The Volokh Conspiracy
Tim Blair
Weasel Zippers

Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on December 24, 2004 6:13 PM.

A Cowardly attack in Mosul was the previous entry in this blog.

Back at a computer again... is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives


OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Powered by Movable Type 5.2.9