The Lessons of Engineering for Social Engineers

Chet Richards does a great job with this article showing how human nature and policy interact, as well as why liberals are foolish and naïve:

Have you ever wondered why seasoned engineers are almost invariably politically conservative?

With a fresh-minted bachelor’s degree, enthusiastic on my first professional job, I was a committed liberal. This was the Kennedy era and my attitudes were conventional among my contemporaries. My older engineering colleagues just shook their heads and tolerantly suggested that my opinions would change. Of course they did. My story as an increasingly conservative engineer is one played out a multitude of times in a multitude of places within the engineering profession.

Why are most engineers politically conservative? The answer is that engineers fail most of the time. In engineering there is a cycle of design, test, test failure, diagnosis, and redesign, until a product is perfected. Failure is the natural state of engineering new devices. Through their repeated failures, competent engineers are forced to become rigorously honest and functionally conservative.

This honesty is notably lacking in the ungrounded wishful thinking of the political left. The great failure of liberals is that they never fail (according to them).

Learning to deal with failure changes one’s attitude from youthful idealism into a kind of skeptical realism about top-down liberal social engineering projects — projects that, ostensibly, never fail.

There are three classes of top-down social engineering. Government programs to restructure society is one class. Government laws, regulatory mandates, and court orders to change behavior is a second. The third is liberal social pressure, often with government complicity, to control thought. We call this third method “political correctness.”

Engineers have an expression: KISS — Keep It Simple, Stupid. The simplest design solution is almost always the best.

Now, consider American society. America has hundreds of millions of people. Each individual is infinitely complex and unique. Each has desires, intentions and needs that normally are incompatible with any master scheme. And yet, the left has the arrogance to assume that a master planner can engineer a social system that best for all the people — a “one size fits all” program. There is no way, other than forcing everybody to be identical robots, that centralized social engineering can KISS. This “my way or the highway” hubris is the signal hallmark of today’s progressive busybody bullies.

Read more: American Thinker

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