Ann Coulter & UC Berkeley: Linguistic Totalitarianism?

April 26, 2017

Totalitarianism is a strong word.  Worth looking up.  It’s as sad as it is dangerous.

Ann Coulter has been invited to speak at the University of California, Berkeley, and the threats against her, along with the event, have come rolling in.

Such is the state of play in too many colleges and American centers of higher learning.  The commonplace, thankfully not universal mantra is: scream, destroy, and avoid debate.

Ann Coulter is highly articulate.  That might be an inconvenient truth, but its veracity remains.  That’s why the insecure must attempt to shout her down.

Coulter is an erudite elocutionist, and if educated individuals in pursuit of intellectual advancement cannot hear her views without melting down and mashing free speech, it highlights a much deeper problem.

Setting fires, breaking glass, and rioting as an extra-curricular activity, is the image UC/Berkeley seems hell-bent on putting out to the world.

Really?  Is that OK with the Trustees and wider student body population, not to mention the parents paying dearly to foot the bill?

Some in that institution may shrug and laugh off the antics of those they deem part of the “lunatic fringe”.

But, if my degree had the imprimatur of that institution emblazoned across the top, I’d be very disappointed.

At best.

 

 

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Good & Evil

April 2, 2017

Long, long time ago, it was written:  The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;  but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

This verse in the Book of Genesis may be the most profound exposition of the human predicament ever set down with ink upon paper.  Yes, the increase of knowledge brings with it dynamics of good and evil.

Apparently, knowledge, by itself, is not an automatic happy meal.

Indeed, with increasing automation and artificial intelligence, what will we do when many jobs can easily be done by robots, with humans only required to do, what?

The day is soon coming when our burgeoning intelligence will leave us squarely facing the challenge of remunerating, and also finding a role, for those that smart machines will surely replace.

In other words, our amazing intellect will leave us with an ethical and economic question fundamentally more difficult than any society has ever had the luxury of encountering before.

Simply put, “What if we don’t need to do anything, because, by our increase in knowledge, the need to do something has been eclipsed by the emerging ability to do nothing at all?”

Can we happily sustain a society in which sophisticated computers will rule, without relegating some people to some kind of redundant slag-heap?

I have great confidence in our future, but I am also convinced that finding our future will not be an easy task.  It will be a struggle of ideals, more than technology.

The machines our knowledge has developed will force us to find a good way we can relate to one another as a community of people beyond the laws and principles of commerce.

Thus, while robots make some things easy, with that factor, other enormous challenges may well emerge.