Ok, this is absolutely astounding. In an otherwise interesting piece about technological innovation, David Brooks makes me stop reading and drop my jaw about halfway through. I’m going to go back and read the rest of the column in a sec. But Jesus tapdancing Christ:
This utopianism is almost nowhere to be found today. Stephenson and Thiel point out that science fiction is moribund; the new work is dystopian, not inspiring. Thiel argues that the environmentalist ethos has undermined the faith in gee-whiz technological wizardry. Legal institutions and the cable TV culture dampen enthusiasm by punishing failure so remorselessly (!!!!!!). NASA’s early failures were seen as steps along the way to a glorious future. Deepwater Horizon’s failure demoralized the whole nation.
Emphasis mine, as you might guess. Yeah, seriously, if there’s one things that afflicts our culture, it’s the fact that we’re too hard on people that makes mistakes. Are you kidding me? People who crashed the economy are still in power or getting multi-million dollar bonuses in the private sector. People who formed the policy to
prolong combat the economic calamity are treated with the utmost respect by our courtier press. One of the two political parties, which was in charge for two unfunded wars, Medicare Part D and gigantic, debt-financed tax cuts, swept back into Congress running on a platform of fiscal responsibility. And, lest we forget, the people who advocated an idiotic, unnecessary, bloody, catastrophic war based on lies bad intelligence are still in the highest stratus of punditry. David Brooks should know this, because he’s one of them.
Of course, we are hard on people that make certain kinds of mistakes. LeBron caught lots of flack for his dumb ESPN spot when he switched to the Heat. Michael Richards got in hot water for saying some offensive words and hasn’t really been heard of since. Yeah, we get real mad at the people who make mistakes that don’t really matter. But destroying this country’s economy and other countries entirely? Meh.