03 August 2008

Profession

Mencius Moldbug has been on good form while I've been quiet, but one particularly original and interesting idea he came up with was, as a transition to a new form of government, handing power to a member of a particular profession - he suggested pilots.
Let's look at the advantages of this ... I am not myself a pilot - I am neither wealthy enough, nor responsible enough. But everyone I've ever met who was a pilot, whether private, military or commercial, has struck me as not only responsible, but also independent-minded, often even adventurous. This is a particularly rare combination. To be precise, it is an aristocratic combination, and the word aristocracy is after all just Greek for good government. Pilots are a fraternity of intelligent, practical, and careful people who are already trusted on a regular basis with the lives of others. What's not to like?

The reason I was so struck by this idea is not because it's a particularly good one. It's because it rests on one of those claims that is only ever denied, never asserted - the claim that one of the most important things you can say about any person is what they do for a living.

In fact, probably anything we deny as assiduously as we deny that should be assumed to be true.

Of course there is more to every professional than their profession, but few other single things say as much about someone. We all know what we think of Lawyers, Estate Agents, Accountants, Teachers... they are each more homogenous groupings than Lutonians, grandparents or Audi drivers.

Thoughtful people have probably already wondered what it means that Parliament consists overwhelmingly of lawyers, journalists and adminstrators - however they probably nevertheless underestimate the importance of that, by underestimating the significance of profession to a person's habits and outlook.

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