Wednesday 8 July 2015

The Left are right - in practice and over the long haul, ideology/ religion trumps effectiveness/ efficiency (or Moralizing beats Modernizing)

The ideal of functional efficiency entails enforcing zones of moral neutrality - this was part of the development of modernity in the technical sense of modernity as functional specialization of society. Functional specialization is when science is operated primarily with scientific criteria, law with legal criteria etc. But perhaps it has been most important, and most closely approached as an actuality, within science.

Originally, society was primarily and explicitly religious in all its aspects, all its functional units - and science (etc) had to operate within this framework. But the idea of functional efficiency went against this.  

The idea of functional efficiency is that - for example - science works best if you appoint the best scientists rather than the best Christians or Communists. Or, to put it the other way round, if science is conducted with the focus on ideology or religion, then this will significantly impair science.

This has been an ideal for something like 150-250 years in England - at least among theorists - but has never been accepted by everybody - indeed it was never accepted by the mass of people, because it is too impersonal to be natural.

However, for a while - maybe a hundred years between the mid 1800s and 1900s - functional efficiency was accepted by the vocational, professional scientists themselves; and they ran science explicitly and with the ideal of 'functional' criteria - you appointed the best physicist to be your professor, you awarded your Nobel Prize to the best chemist - and whether he was a Christian, Jew or  Atheist; Conservative, Liberal or Socialist; man or woman, English or Japanese did not matter.

Communism never accepted functional efficiency, neither did Fascism - in the USSR biology was politicized under the leadership of Lysenko; so that ideology trumped science - and this strategy has been applauded, and implemented, by the 'hard' Left through most of its history.

(Although, typically, the politicization has been and is dishonestly and incoherently presented as its opposite - so, the introduction of explicit and formal bureaucratic Leftist bias is presented, at least initially, as being instead the elimination of covert and informal class/ sex/ race bias.) 

But the ruling elites turned decisively against the ideal of functional efficiency from the middle 1960s as they adopted the New Left ideology (feminism, antiracism, imposed diversity etc); and it has not applied for several decades. For the New Left, functional efficiency was always a lie - it was interpreted as merely a mask for partisanship, a cloak for class interest, patriarchy, racism etc.

So, in a nutshell, science used to be conducted primarily within the Christian  religion, for awhile science was conducted by scientific criteria (i.e. functional efficiency), but for the past half century science has again become subordinated to an external 'ideology' - this being the anti-Christian ideology of Leftism.

So: Christian - Neutral - Anti-Christian...


Functional efficiency depended upon science being regarded as a zone of relative moral neutrality - a zone where science trumped politics. But, this is no longer the case, and has not been the case for some decades - now science is  - both in practice and as its explicit ideal - a zone conducted within the ideology of Left wing politics.

Moralizing has replaced the functional focus of the modernization era. Prestigious jobs, promotions, awards or prizes are given on moralistic grounds - and the celebration is that a woman or a minority has been favoured. A scientific rationale for the conferring of status may, or may not, be manufactured post hoc - but that is not primary.

Likewise the evaluations of science. Whether some bit of science is regarded as 'true' or not, depends on whether it fits the prevalent Leftist ideology - if it does not fit the ideology, then it is evaluated as 'not true' - and necessarily the work is seen as incompetent or dishonest.


Taking an overview - modernization (functional efficiency) defeated moralizing in the public ... for a while. In doing this, modernization also defeated Christianity.

But modernization did not defeat moralizing in men's hearts. As science became enlarged and professionalized, moralizing returned - but as the prevalent anti-Christian ideology of New Leftism.

And that is where we are now in science, and in all other large and powerful social institutions: the ideal of functional efficiency has been discarded and modern society has returned to the primacy of religion/ ideology.


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