Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Good enough for other people's children - but not yours?" Innovation, degradation, or rupture?

I offer this question as an antidote to fierce claims for defective innovations - innovations less likely to improve than to degrade services and rupture the  social fabric that is already stretched too thin.

I'm tired of listening to the distracting conclusions of Romantic Techno-Zealots (technology as individualizing, self-actualizing), Romantic Neo-Luddites (technology only undermines deep learning, human connections), and  Hyperrational PseudoEgalitarians (everyone should accept what can be provided by the technology  and practices that fit within the boundaries of current methods of observation and measurement)... and self-serving politicians.

You've probably heard the advice about imagining your adversary naked or in underwear when you feel intimidated.  I have similar advice when you encounter someone enthusiastic, articulate, deeply convinced, ... AND  ignorant, inexperienced, and deviously ill-intended.  
Imagine this person stripped naked of superficial statements and shallow understandings, and temporarily unable to deflect your questions.  Imagine asking "Do you believe that what you're proposing is good enough for other people's children....  but not your own?"  
Now that I'm anticipating the arrival of my first grandchild, I've begun thinking:
"Would you want what you're advocating for your own children and grandchildren?"  
"When you claim that your new alternative is more efficient, entirely adequate, and that 'the research' does not support the practices you oppose, and you say that your alternative is good enough, don't you really mean that it is good enough for other people's children and grandchildren, but not your own?"  

Can you imagine people advocating healthcare reform that would provide treatment for cancer patients that is "good enough for other people's children" - but not good enough for their own?  Can you imagine anyone admitting that - even to themselves?

My question about "being good enough for other people's children" may be cynical, but it can reveal and deflate the rising bubble of hypocrisy.  You may find some disturbing similarities between this idea of "other people's children" and the role of "Other People's Money" as described in speeches by Danny Devito and Gregory Peck in the 1991 movie of the same name.

IMAGE selected by Steve Gilbert 20120125
Photo of "Kindlifresserbrunnen am Kornhausplatz...Ogre Fountain (lit. 'Child Eater Fountain') at Corn House Square, Berne, Switzerland"...
"Author Andrew Bossi; sculpture by Hans Gieng (de)...19 July 2007"
Permission:  "Own work, share alike, attribution required (Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.5), via Wikimedia Commons
[Photo of same statue:]

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