Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Snake-Oil Standard

"Persuasive guessing has been at the core of leadership for so long—for all of human experience so far—that it is wholly unsurprising that most of the leaders of this planet, in spite of all the information that is suddenly ours, want the guessing to go on, because now it is their turn to guess and be listened to.

Some of the loudest, most proudly ignorant guessing in the world is going on in Washington today. Our leaders are sick of all the solid information that has been dumped on humanity by research and scholarship and investigative reporting.

They think that the whole country is sick of it, and they want standards, and it isn’t the gold standard. They want to put us back on the snake-oil standard."

That's from "A Man Without A Country" by Kurt Vonnegut Jr and featured at In These Times. The full excerpt is here.


  1. carpenterjd3:11 PM

    I don't know what it is, but the words Intelligent Design have popped into my head.
    Actually, the facts have never gotten in the way of a good propagandist. Just ask Himmler...or Rove.

  2. Tim Smasken3:32 PM

    That book is on my Christmas list. I have wanted it ever since it came out. Can't wait. Did you see Vonnegut on The Daily Show?

  3. Nothing a liar hates worse than the truth.

  4. I did not see KV on the Daily Show, but have seen him on Bill Maher recently. I am so happy he decided to keep writing even after his announced retirement. His keen insights are bitter medicine to some and a much needed antidote to the rest of us.

    And Intelligent Design is a shoddy excuse to abandon Science in hopes of appeasing a minority of hard-core fundamentalists who use Fear and Ignorance to lead their sheeple (as Jed would call them).