Who benefits from the continuation of culture ?

From something I wrote a decade ago that still seem quite appropriate given the difficulty we have we with change in this country who benefits from the continuation of culture. “The sanctity of property, the unflinching materialism of farmer calculations, the defense of professional status” were for decades the key values of the Irish State, values baptized by the Church (Lee, 1989 pp 159). These barren virtues were typical of the mercantile cultures that predated the intellectual enlightenment in Europe, and indicate unenlightened attitudes to knowledge and innovation as dangers that can upset the status quo. Innovation does upset the status quo, generating a new dynamic in a non-linear system leads to unpredictable results. Enabling this dynamic to proceed is the essence of economic growth and development. Powerful interest groups tend to block technologies to protect their rents (Mokyr, 2000, 2002); society’s structures, beliefs, and attitudes need to ensure that dynamic change is allowed to occur. The essential Faustian bargain of dynamic living systems is the recognition that the birth of new things involves the death of old...

Less a conscience provision than bigotry derived from religious principles

The Catholic Church would like to insert a conscience provision around the forthcoming equal marriage legislation. Not one that has an opt out for priests. That already exists.  But they’re looking for one for lay Christians. Asking “does he not have freedom of conscience. Is his conscience different to mine as a priest”. At one level it sounds almost reasonable. What’s not to like about having freedom of conscience? In the end though religious based bigotry is still bigotry. Its also a power play. If you are member of a religious group and members of religious groups have an opt out from providing certain services there will be an attempt by the church to ensure that none of its members provide those services. More fundamentally its freedom for bigotry. As with many good arguments when I Googled a few specific phrases, a well written version of what I wanted to say presents itself  on Crooked Timber Bigotry derived from religious principles is still bigotry. Whether the people who implemented Bob Jones University’s notorious ban on inter-racial dating considered themselves to be actively biased against black people, or simply enforcing what they understood to be Biblical rules against miscegenation is an interesting theoretical question. You can perhaps make a good argument that bigotry-rooted-in-direct-bias is more obnoxious than bigotry-rooted-in-adherence-to-perceived-religious-and-social-mandates. Maybe the people enforcing the rules sincerely believed that they loved black people. It’s perfectly possible that some of their best friends were black. But it seems pretty hard to make a good case that the latter form of discrimination is not a form of bigotry. And if Friedersdorf wants to defend his sincerely-religiously-against-gay-marriage...
Dept of Education and Primary Online Database

Dept of Education and Primary Online Database

What is the Department of Education up to with the Primary Online Database. Simon McGarr has a hypothesis Why is the Department of Education so determined the #POD database be established that it will threaten to defund children's education? — Simon McGarr (@Tupp_Ed) February 8, 2015 I'd have said it was blind institutional inertia. But then I read the papers on the site the Dept refers schools to re DP from the #POD site — Simon McGarr (@Tupp_Ed) February 8, 2015 Though it is always impossible to know the motivation of a gov Dept, my new theory fits all the available facts and explains #POD mysteries. — Simon McGarr (@Tupp_Ed) February 8, 2015 Dept of Ed plans to keep a database of sensitive personal data on school children goes back to at least 2008, per DPC http://t.co/euMEJTO5vO — Simon McGarr (@Tupp_Ed) February 8, 2015 2008 was the year Louise O'Keeffe lost her Supreme Court case to find the Dept liable for child abuse in school. Appealed to ECHR #POD — Simon McGarr (@Tupp_Ed) February 8, 2015 Some extracts from the Data Protection for Schools site written in consultation with the Dept and which they link to pic.twitter.com/Uz3wqw8dfv — Simon McGarr (@Tupp_Ed) February 8, 2015 That site advocates grossly excessive "indefinite" retention periods for sensitive data, obvs. pic.twitter.com/tuVnEfTjLW http://t.co/SWlu9LrPvu — Simon McGarr (@Tupp_Ed) February 8, 2015 Dept is also seeking to hold children's data indefinitely, per this circular. The 30yo piece is a smokescreen. #POD pic.twitter.com/9OCK8vxsOD — Simon McGarr (@Tupp_Ed) February 8, 2015 They're explicit: why hold kids records indefinitely? It is to use against them to defend abuse claims in...
#RebootingIreland 2000AD, Metaphors and Messy problems

#RebootingIreland 2000AD, Metaphors and Messy problems

Lucinda Creighton has launched a new political party.  Or launched a #hashtag. I’m not quite sure which. As I tweeted yesterday “First thought on #RebootIreland When rebooting a computer you don’t get a different operating system” There was a lot of comment on Twitter. Dave Winer said recently Twitter can have a tendency towards “high fructose emotional rage medicine.” Mostly the comment was cynical rather than hate filled. My first thought was of a comic. There is a panel somewhere in my mothers attic from an episode of 2000AD. It’s from the story Strontium Dog. The storyline is set at the end of a war. A military police force is being disbanded and being replaced. Panel one has the old police force. And panel two has the new police force. Same group. Different uniforms. Same system. Plus ca change. I was reminded of that panel when thinking about #RebootIreland. When we exchanged Fianna Fail for Fine Gael and Labour a few years ago that was the transition. Mostly because the state was governed by the Troika and administered by the politicians we elected. I’m not sure that what’s intended here will be any different. I took a look at the #RebootIreland website. I’m not quite sure what to make of it. As Tommy Collison commented “This party will champion human inventiveness.” What does that even mean? #RebootIreland — Tommy Collison (@tommycollison) January 2, 2015 I have equal questions of what some of the other statements mean Fostering a spirit of entrepreneurism in our public sector that will reward those who work the hardest and deliver the best results for our public services. I’m not...