Sunday, August 18, 2013
The Truth Hurts
After he corrected the errors in his reference materials, he achieved the impossible designing the Misubishi A6M Zero, the most capable fighter airplane at the beginning of World War II.
During the height of the Cold War, Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven wrote several stories about the Co-Dominium wherein the USA and USSR decide to get together quit competing and divide the world between them. The story shows a very stable empire wherein science and technology has stagnated and only the CoDo weapons labs are doing anything new.
What's interesting is the way the CoDo stifles scientific advancement. All the reference works published have had subtle errors deliberately introduced. This makes further scientific progress in the CoDo as impossible as the Japanese Zero.
Moving forward to today, I was reminded by a twitter exchange with someone who was insistent upon damning me for insulting Indigenous Americans. I had, in fact, inserted tongue in cheek and referred to academics living in a 23rd century Ann Arbor as "savages." "Savages in the Americas" could only mean Indians. Despite the fact that savagery has been perpetrated by all races in the Americas. (Little known fact: white people taught scalping to the Indians.)
deliberately obtuse is far too common in post-modernist rhetoric. I'm not ragging on any partisan group, but on ALL partisan groups. We all construe evil in the words of our political adversaries and impute good intent to the words of our political cobelligerents.
It is just easier to demonize the other than to engage, or learn from his/her ideas. I am openly a Christian, but I try not to blatantly shove it in people's faces. Yet, when I've talked to Atheists about whether any of that church stuff is real, the most thoughtful conversations have always taught me what my faith looks like from the outside. I've benefitted from those insights.
excuse to dismiss everything s/he's saying. We all have a fixed capacity for truth and can only accept truth in limited doses. Truth is complicated and as likely to critique my position in the midst of establishing it.
So, what has this to do with the Japanese Zero and the CoDominium?
In both of those cases, people were limited by mistake or by malice, because basic facts were wrong. In the case of Mr. Horikoshi, he dug deeper for the truth, found it and used it. Our post-modern rhetorical games of strawman bashing and deliberate obtuseness can win arguments, and make us feel better, but they push us away from truth and push us into stagnation like the CoDo. Think of it as a stupid tax.
And if you disagree with any of this, you're a poopyhead.