Friday, January 28, 2011

'It is Not That The Emperor Has no Clothes, it is That he Has no Divisions.

Obama's Spudnik reference in his State of the Union going over about as well as the news of the launch did at the time here in the US. I am of course exaggerating, but surly there is a better analogy of what we should strive for in the future then a race we lost half-a-century ago to a regime so inefficient and incompetent that it collapsed under its own weight within a lifespan.

"Which generation's Sputnik moment is this, again? If we're fated to work with metaphors from the middle of the twentieth century, let's at least choose one that resonates with people who are coming of age in the twenty-first.

Say, perhaps, the Hitler Finds Out metaphor. From the vantage of the young, for the President -- and, indeed, virtually the entire leadership class of the United States of America -- this is their Stalingrad moment: the moment at which the vast armies they continue to maneuver around the gigantic battle map turn out to be gone, destroyed, never to return again. The bold challenges, the arbitrary and random numerical goalposts (80% more of these, 100,000 more of those) -- it all gave off the disconnected feel of denial-driven fantasy. It's not that the emperor has no clothes. It's that he has no divisions."

"This is to be our "Sputnik moment," when the fear of the foreigner spurs us to innovation and greatness of the kind that yielded NASA and the moon landing.

Apart from the irony of this appeal being made by the very president who has just killed NASA's manned space program, there is the fact that for three decades, since Jimmy Carter's synfuel fantasy, Washington has poured billions of taxpayer dollars down a rat hole in vain pursuit of economically competitive renewable energy."

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