Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cult Of Irrelevance

Recently footloose and fancy free for a few precious hours - with cash on hand and strategic petroleum reserves sufficient to maintain certain activity, a call was made to a fellow hot! co conspirator to trek down the way and hit the mall.

No way. She was totally chained to the house - forbidden to leave - even for a few hours. Rumor has it - her mom was checking the mail and enroute back to the house spied her one of own dear dot's underthings in the backseat of the semi snazzy ride her and papa provided.

And all the pouting in the world about it was totally irrelevant.

Kinda like notorious Great and Little Satan hater, Dr Steven M Walt bemoans the happy fact that many super smart PHD brainiac Poli Sci Guys and Girls aren't taken seriously by policy makers or public opinion in Internat'l Relations or Foreign Policy.

"For political scientists, that ought to mean using our knowledge to address important matters of concern in the real world, and to contribute to the broader public discourse on these topics. That doesn't mean we should spend our days writing op-eds (or blogs!), but neither does it mean that we should studiously avoid any engagement with controversial real-world topics. "

Ah yes - those 'controversial real world topics'

In other words - espousing an amoral, corrupt return to the amoral corrupt cult of stability. Or, as 44 might say - "The failed ideologies of the past"

The Realpolitik reprobates like Dr Walt, Dr Desch and Dr Nye address many concerns and instead of blaming the message - they tend to blame everything else.

Let's just cut to it shall we?

Perhaps the real (no pun intended) reason that policy makers eschew the messengers is that these cats spend their entire adult lives in climate controlled environs - surrounded by smart people book learning wise - yet they have precious little real world experience.

All their problems, conflict resolutions and concerns have been handled in a face to face friendly give and takes, committee meetings, memos or ultimately a pink slip.

They have never had to stand up to creeps.

They've never put a stop to bullies at school, predators at the mall, or jerks at a Little League game.

The nature of gov service is officials at all levels will often be called on to deal with subjects with which they are unfamiliar. Even if they know what is happening now, they may not know what has happened before, or whether anything similar has happened elsewhere, or the likelihood that something worse will happen later.

The people they call on for help will be people who can fill in the gaps in their knowledge in a timely way -- not to make them experts or scholars themselves, but to help them serve the public.

Academics who can't do this aren't worthless for everything.

They are just not worth very much to cats that actually make policy.

And pouting about it only showcases the Cult of Irrelevance.


Raedwulf said...

hmm, besides the disturbing mall analogies, I think you are right.
I do not know the solution to the problem though in a country where an Ivy League education is a free pass to power. I have no answers only an acknowledgement that your premise is correct.