Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Condoleezza Rice spoke of 'an Afghanistan that does not complete its democratic evolution'. This is a metaphor based on bad science. There is no evidence of an evolutionary process in politics and history. There is certainly no evidence that democracy represents any kind of end point of any such process. But the metaphor was intended, consciously or not, to evoke a benign, directional process that leads from worms to apes to people. Democracy thus become the crowning achievement of politics just as people are the crowning achievement of evolution. But evolution has no direction and we are no kind of achievement. We just happened and we could equally easily cease to happen. Rice's words betray the scientistic nature of both her imagination and that of the secular neo-cons. In the end, Bush's failure should be seen not as the result of an excess of God - as many claim - but as an excess of science. No image more precisely captures baffled and frustrated scientism than the crumpled, crushed features of the increasingly inarticulate Donald Rumsfeld.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:26 am