via Henry Dampier
Where we should be concerned is that there might not be much of a
home country to be able to support that kind of short distance
When you select for an administrative, bureaucratic elite based on
how maudlin their essays are about their trips to Africa and South
America — along with how crowded their extracurricular schedules were,
and how well they filled in bubbles on exams with no. 2 pencils — you
may discover that you’ve selected for a group of feckless and
sentimental morons who are nonetheless disproportionately good at
lacrosse and cheating on take-home exams.
This group will be completely immune to persuasion that it might be a
bad thing for all the nice people who posed so nicely in those photos
when you were on your international community service trip might be less
than compatible with the countries that you have been charged with
ruling. When the only pilgrimage you recognize as valid is the one taken
for community service hours to buffer your application to Harvard, it’s
going to be hard to empathize or understand cultures that take things
like pilgrimages to Mecca seriously.
It’s hard to impress upon people not familiar with religious trends in the temples of high progress as to how different
the march of the global south must look to them as it does to people
with less elevated affinities. To the undereducated, it looks like an
invasion. To the enlightened, it appears like the deserving poor on the
threshold of attaining justice. These two worldviews are irreconcilable.
If, your whole life, you have been raised to believe that your
highest and most sacred mission is to shower money, attention, and
resources on the third world, it’s not terribly likely that it’ll be
possible to persuade you out of it. This is more frightening than the
conspiratorial vision of elite behavior, which tends to interpret
self-destruction as part of a hidden plot instead of dreamlike
self-annihilation. Rational evil can be dealt with in rational terms,
through argument and persuasion. Holy insanity can only be opposed
directly or survived by hunkering down.