Saturday, November 18, 2006

If It Ain't Broke...

The same logic that says an understanding of foreign policy is essential to an informed citizenry can be repeated for almost any aspect of human knowledge. Doctors balk at Americans’ lack of medical training; librarians cringe because I still, as a grad student, don’t give a damn about the Dewey decimal system; and any decent mechanic will laugh at the sad frat boy who can’t change his flat tire.

The fact of the matter is that the volume of human knowledge has increased exponentially in the last 50 years and we can’t all be expected to know everything, or even the fundamentals of everything. Who among us can skin a deer (unless you’re from eastern Kentucky), loom woolen thread, or grind wheat? Obsolete skills belong to luddites and boy scouts; the rest of us specialize.

And so we study foreign policy, the bastard son of a wild party featuring history, political science, law, anthropology, and business. What we study is interesting and essential to us, but far from necessary or even enjoyable to the average person; they don’t care and their apathy is none of my concern. Just because it is important to us doesn’t make it important to them. No mechanic loses sleep because I don’t care how my carburetor works; why they hell should I care that he doesn’t know much about the Sunni Triangle?

The only time this comes to a head when the question is asked: should an uninformed citizenry be allowed to vote? Who cares—there is no possible way to stay savvy on the wealth of problems that confront the modern American Republic. Our system of credentialed experts has a number of drawbacks, but by and large, it works when not interfered with. …don’t fix it.


Dr. Duke Nukem said...

Not entirely true. Foreign policy is a specialized sector, just like the military, medical and agricultural sector. But that field affects so much of the private sector, that you have to wonder how seperate and specialized it really is.

As you said, the world of foreign policy is a strange mix. of law, business, politics, strategy...and lately a great deal of morality, philosophy and ethics. It's a great deal more pervasive and influential than other studies.

On the one hand, a a possible counterargument could go like this. It's difficult/incorrect to seperate foreign policy from the responsibilities of the average citizen, because that sphere of knowledge affects the lives of American citizens the way deer skinning, performing kidney transplants, weaving and grinding does not.

We don't elect a senator or representative to be a silversmith or librarian; we elect them to vote on decisions like whether or not our country goes to war, sends billions of $ of foreign aid or passes a bill monitoring private conversations.

On the other hand, representative democracy has safeguards against voter ignorance. The media is good about informing people about the events that immeadiately concern them...even if they serve it up bent and tainted. Elected most cases...know more about important foreign issues than the electorate.

Finally, and best of all from the viewpoint of the Patterson student, those elected representatives employ the experts, researchers, think tanks, advisors, assistants, etc., to provide them with data and opinions they need to make their important decisions.

Dr Purva Pius said...

Hello Everybody,
My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in Singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of S$250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of S$250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius,via email:( Thank you.


1. Name Of Applicant in Full:……..
2. Telephone Numbers:……….
3. Address and Location:…….
4. Amount in request………..
5. Repayment Period:………..
6. Purpose Of Loan………….
7. country…………………
8. phone…………………..
9. occupation………………
11.Monthly Income…………..

Email Kindly Contact: