Here are all your posts at the gb cafe




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berrestr@execpc.com
D: Friday, 5 February 1999
P: 11202
R: 11259
T: > R.S. In your pessimism over world federation, you confuse human nurture with human nature.
T: > R.S. In his book 'How to Think Abourt War and Peace' (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1944), Dr.Adler aptly writes:
T: > R.S. 'There is absolutely nothing in the nature of man repugnant to the existence of a world community, as there is something in the nature of man repugnant to the existence of no communities at all. The nature of man makes world peace possible, for the same reason that it makes the war of each man against every other impossible. The reason is man's need for society and, in order to perserve the society, for peace.' (p.36)
T: No more than there is anything in the nature of man repugnant to maintaining the Hutchins approach at the University of Chicago or the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. After he left, the U of C has been returning to its former ways and the Center quickly faded away. Based on the results of these small scale tests, why would we put the entire world under a Hutchins program like the world federation?

N: 11241
S: Your neighbor's heart
A: Terrence Berres
E:
berrestr@execpc.com
D: Friday, 5 February 1999
P: 11148
R:
T: >> H.F. They are evil. They need to be declawed, defanged, and neutered. The only way to do that is to take away their ability to coerce. I think if we look deep into the heart of entrepreneurs and high management you will find a sociopath. [11076]
T: >> H.F. Voting continues the institutions which express themselves by means of their authority. Participation makes me an accessory. To put it into Biblical terms, I think it is analogous to saying that those who believe in statism have the mark of the beast on their foreheads, and those who offer support for the state in particulars have the mark of the beast on their hand. [10604]
T: > H.F. I do not see how this contradicts my statment that everyone's personal interests are tied together. Would you expand on it please?
T: Your statement implied that everyone should respect the personal interests of others. To judge all entrepeneurs or senior managers as sociopaths sounds like the prelude to a new liquidation of the kulaks. To judge everyone who ever voted as irremediably evil sounds like the prelude to far worse. Both are based on your apparent belief in an ability to look into the hearts of others and judge that most personal of interests.
T: You seem to start by drawing a line between the good and the evil people. Do you then disagree with someone who says that the line between good and evil runs through every human heart and our problems lie in our unwillingness to give up a piece of our own hearts?

N: 11262
S: The model crashed, let's build the plane
A: Terrence Berres
E:
berrestr@execpc.com
D: Sunday, 7 February 1999
P: 11259
R: 11263 11264
T: > J.G. The ideas behind the world constitution published by Hutchins's committee are quite distinct from those he brought to either the U of C or the Center. So even if what happened at those institutions reflects the viability of those ideas, this would not necessarily demonstrate any weakness in the ideas behind the proposed world republic.
T: Let's say I wanted them in the prospectus before anyone is asked to invest.
T: > J.G. Hutchins's principal weakness was impatience. He preferred taking a whole loaf with 51% of the vote to taking the time to convert his opponents to a position that might leave him with half a loaf but with much broader support. Predictably, when he wasn't around Chicago to help create the 51%, enough votes changed hands to put the kibosh on his approach.
T: This kind of impatience is almost universal, perhaps because we so much want to live to see the results. Since we have limited control over the 'live to' part, we try to force the results part, only to learn our control there is often quite limited as well.
T: Regarding the world federation, the last thing needed would be its constitution, yet that's one of the earlier things Hutchins worked on. This indicates to me the same kind of impatience at work.
T: > J.G. ... Hutchins had much difficulty dealing with ad hominem conflict, and for the most part did not attempt to resolve such conflict among his subordinates. ...
T: What is the world federation but an attempt to suppress conflict by the perfect structuring of institutions? How well was Hutchins able to shape institutions to carry out his goals for them over the long term? Not well at all, from what I can see. Its his goals that inspire people.
T: > J.G. It still seems to me that his ideas, if implemented by someone who was more patient and a better manager, could well have succeeded. As much to the point, I think that they ought to have succeeded, and that they are worth supporting even today. As is world government.
T: It's hard to read Dr. Adler's eulogies of Robert Hutchins and then pin hopes on a better version of Hutchins coming along, let alone coming along at the right time and place. Whether his plans ought to have succeeded or are worth supporting today depends on why they failed. Until universities are run on Hutchins' model to general satisfaction, there is no reason to do anything with his model for running the world.

N: 11267
S: Why William was admired for being silent
A: Terrence Berres
E:
berrestr@execpc.com
D: Sunday, 7 February 1999
P: 11263
R: 11269
T:
T: > T.B. Whether [Hutchins'] plans ought to have succeeded or are worth supporting today depends on why they failed. Until universities are run on Hutchins' model to general satisfaction, there is no reason to do anything with his model for running the world.
T: > J.G. One of Hutchins's favorite quotes (attributed variously to William the Silent and Charles the Bold, but I think he got it via Maritain) was, 'It is not necessary to hope in order to undertake, nor to succeed in order to persevere.'
T: If whoever said it meant it literally, he is obviously wrong.
T: > J.G. We have the notion that the value of an idea is measured by its success in the marketplace. If the institutions founded on an idea thrive, it was a good idea; if not, it was a bad one.
T: Unless you mean marketplace in the broadest sense, these are two different criteria. But surely success is a more favorable sign than failure. Should Hutchins' lack of impact be celebrated by his admirers?
T: > J.G. The issue is complex: if an idea is doomed to failure, we might not want to rally behind it. ... But sometimes ideas that have failed in the world (for one reason or another) are more worth subscribing to than those that have succeeded. Hutchins's ideas about education and about government, I submit, are of the former variety.
T: Ideas about government and education are among those that ought to be able to work in the world to be worth subscribing to. Otherwise one could say they have superior ideas about how government or education should be conducted although experience indicates no way to be successfully implement them. As I said, we would at least want to see these ideas be made to work on smaller scales before trying to run the world by them.
T: > J.G. Hutchins's ideas remain good and true, and I have no doubt that they will be taken up again. Perhaps they won't succeed next time either, but they will remain good and true, and perhaps they will succeed the time after that. See the above quote from William the Silent.
T: If they be taken up with nothing learned from the prior failures in implementing them, then we should expect them to fail each and every time.

N: 11301
S: Tilting at Stagg Field
A: Terrence Berres
E:
berrestr@execpc.com
D: Monday, 8 February 1999
P: 11269
R: 11303 11304 11307
T: > J.G. When Hutchins died, Milton Mayer wrote that he had considered himself a failure. Mayer went on, 'He did not know that it is better to fail at what he failed at than to succeed at anything else.' If you don't agree with Mayer about Hutchins, is there anything that you think it is better to fail at than to succeed at something else?
T: I agree with Hutchins about Hutchins. He set out to get results he would live to see and failed. If you're saying it is sometimes better to take a greater risk for a greater end, I agree. But the risk is the risk of failure and Hutchins apparently was not going to console himself by calling it anything else.
T: > J.G. Look at some of what in this world is successful. Compare what Hutchins stood for with what, say, Bill Gates stands for. Whose ideas would, if implemented, make the world a better place? (No offense to Mr. Gates: I single him out only as an example of unquestioned success.)
T: If Hutchins' ideas are ever implemented more widely, then I'll have a factual basis for evaluation.
T: > J.G. Lord knows, I have nothing against success. But Don Quixote was onto something, too. He was of the same party as Hutchins and William the Silent. Sometimes it's worth tilting against the windmills. You never know.
T: Even based only on your quote from Martin Mayer, I don't see Hutchins as intentionally quixotic. Whatever Hutchins' party, I vote that it's worth reading 'Don Quixote' but not worth tilting against windmills ourselves.
T: > J.G. By the bye, why do you think William the Silent's statement ['It is not necessary to hope in order to undertake, nor to succeed in order to persevere.'] is literally false?
T: As hyperbole, it might inspire someone to take on an almost hopeless task or persevere with only the slightest chance of success. But there's no reason to undertake the literally hopeless or to persevere with literally no chance of success.

N: 11302
S: Tilting at rectifiers
A: Terrence Berres
E:
berrestr@execpc.com
D: Monday, 8 February 1999
P: 11271
R: 11306
T: > J.G. I was trying to make essentially the same point Dr. Adler made--that the glorious, Quixotic failure is due not to weaknesses in Hutchins's program, but to a culture in need of 'fundamental rectification.'
T: If Hutchins' program was not suitable for the culture he lived in, isn't that a weakness in it? It's like saying schools could improve society, if only society didn't need improvement.

N: 11317
S: Windmilly City
A: Terrence Berres
E:
berrestr@execpc.com
D: Tuesday, 9 February 1999
P: 11306
R: 11319
T:
T: >> T. B. If Hutchins' program was not suitable for the culture he lived in, isn't that a weakness in it?
T: > M.W. As Mr. Gold correctly points out, we have not yet achieved a democracy. Do you think we should abandon our considerable efforts in this regard?
T: T.B. I live in a democracy. On this and many other things, I disagree with Mr. Gold. I suppose that makes us as likely to get together for a chat as Mortimer Adler and William F. Buckley, Jr.
T: T.B. Whatever efforts you have in mind, if you thought they cannot succeed in our culture, then wouldn't you defer them and work for the prerequisite change in the culture?

N: 11324
S: Putting the cart beside the horse
A: Terrence Berres
E:
berrestr@execpc.com
D: Tuesday, 9 February 1999
P: 11319
R: 11325
T:
T: > T.B. Whatever efforts you have in mind, if you thought they cannot succeed in our culture, then wouldn't you defer them and work for the prerequisite change in the culture?
T: > M.W. On the contrary, I would do just what Hutchins did -- diligently fight on both fronts.
T: T.B. Unless your understanding of what prerequisite means is different than mine, you would be wasting half your effort.

N: 11329
S: Qualified success and moral victory
A: Terrence Berres
E:
berrestr@execpc.com
D: Tuesday, 9 February 1999
P: 11303
R:
T:
T: > H.F. You ask, 'is there anything that you think it is better to fail at than to succeed at something else?' I am surprised you would even ask such a question seriously. Let me pick an example that I think works with your world view. ...
T: T.B. Actually it was Mr. Gold who asked that. Interesting that his world view and mine should be hard to distinguish. Perhaps it is a step toward an eventual world view federation.
T: > H.F. I do not know as much about Hutchins as many others at this board, but his life, through the Great Books and the Great Ideas, has profoundly affected my life. Perhaps Robert Maynard Hutchins shot at stars and never quite reached them, but he got further and did more good than the vast majority of humankind. ...
T: T.B. Or perhaps admiration for Hutchins' goals and character leads folks to hold him to a lower standard than he held himself. I know him only from a few of his writings but I get the impression he would regard this as akin to grade inflation.
T: > H.F. The fact that we are here discussing his life, his work, and his ideas clearly demonstrates that he was not a failure, and that his goals are not dead. The war continues.
T: T.B. Again, on his own terms, he failed to meet his goals. That he did much else of value and might yet inspire others to accomplish what he set out to do I have not denied.
T: > T.B. ... As hyperbole, it might inspire someone to take on an almost hopeless task or persevere with only the slightest chance of success. But there's no reason to undertake the literally hopeless or to persevere with literally no chance of success.
T: > H.F. Sure there is reason to persevere, truth. The cause is lost only if you don't believe. Hutchins, as I understand his thought, is right on a great many things. Loyality to the truth, doing the right thing, the moral thing is reason to presevere with literally no chance of success. It is a duty and a priviledge. Success are failure are irrelevant.
T: T.B. When I say literally I literally mean literally. If, for example, it were literally impossible to determine what is true, right, or moral, and what is not, then we could not persevere in seeking them. If success or failure are literally irrelevant, then it would have been irrelevant if Hutchins had succeeded in transforming the higher learning in America.
T: > H.F. I do not think Don Quixote was crazy. Evaluate the charactor by his actions, and you will see he was sane and the world around him was crazy.
T: T.B. Unless I'm crazy, Don Quixote was a fictional character who went on adventures under the delusion that he was a knight-errant, in a book written so that the reader often almost (but not literally) thinks the world delusional instead. If I recall correctly, on his deathbed Don Quixote, free of his delusion, looked on his life a bit like Martin Mayer says Hutchins looked at his.

N: 11344
S: Good for General Motors
A: Terrence Berres
E:
berrestr@execpc.com
D: Tuesday, 9 February 1999
P: 11340
R:
T: > H.F. The wealthy almost always go into politics. They rarely become politicians. There is no big money in being a politician. The goal is to control the rules of the game to maximize profit. That was Hamilton's goal when he pushed for a new constitution. When you control the rules of the game, you control the outcome. What are those phrases? Quid pro quo and plausible deniability? I believe it was the CEO of General Motors (Stempel or Smith) who said 'What is good for General Motors is good for America.'
T: Those interested in a different perspective might want to read the chapter 'The Professional: Alfred Sloan' from Peter F. Drucker's 'Adventures of a Bystander' (New York: Harper & Row, 1978).

N: 11365
S: Justice, expediency, prerequisites
A: Terrence Berres
E:
berrestr@execpc.com
D: Wednesday, 10 February 1999
P: 11325
R: 11368
T:
T: >T.B. Unless your understanding of what prerequisite means is different than mine, you would be wasting half your effort.
T: > M.W. Perhaps this insightful essay by Mortimer Adler will shed light on this matter. ...
T: Let me restate the question this way. In the United States today, is cultural change a prerequisite to education reform? By prerequisite, I mean must a particular cultural change be completed before education reform can be successfully implemented. If the cultural change is prerequisite in this sense, then premature attempts to implement education reform would be inexpedient in the sense Dr. Adler described in his essay, i.e., bound to fail and likely to bring discredit upon the reform.
T: Earlier in our exchange, you said you indicated you would assume the cultural change is not prerequisite and proceed on both fronts as, in your view, Hutchins did. Can you explain why you would expect the result to be different than it was for Hutchins?

N: 11369
S: Advancing on all fronts
A: Terrence Berres
E:
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