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#168704 - 01/19/19 03:28 PM Polakov on Conservatism
Enright Offline
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Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 3466
Loc: CA
Walter N. Polakov emigrated to the U.S. from Russia in 1906, where he worked for an engineering consulting company headed by Henry Gantt, of Gantt Charts fame. He is described in Wikipedia as "a Marxist socialist engineer who joined the [Taylor] Society in 1915." He returned to Russia in 1929, where he introduced and promoted the use of Gantt Charts in the Soviet Union's first five-year plan; he then returned to the U.S. in 1931.

In 1920 he presented a paper before the Annual Meeting of The American Society of Mechanical Engineers: "Principles of Industrial Philosophy." He began his paper with some comments on the close relationship between dogmatism and conservatism, which would seem somewhat automorphic to (or expressive of) the attitudes of today's "liberals" and "progressives" toward the political Right:

"The arrogance of dogmatism has been recognized from the days of Francis Bacon and René Descartes as a chief cause of the retardation of human progress. Dogmatism is by nature conservative since it is based upon information obtained in the past and upon beliefs formed by frequent repetition of dogmas; therefore of necessity arrogant. Its method of self-preservation is to prevent the verification of truth by experiment with facts. Wars and revolutions do not happen–they are caused by arrogance of conservatism based on insufficient knowledge of the laws governing human development."

I'm interested in what some members of the forum here might say in response to Mr. Polakov's logic and its implications.
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Jim

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#168705 - 01/19/19 03:46 PM Re: Polakov on Conservatism [Re: Enright]
AuntJobiska Offline
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Registered: 05/01/17
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Polokov sounds nutty to me, but ... where are his arguments for his case? These are just statements of opinion as they sit.

As for dogmatism, when communism was brand spanking new, it was all dogmatism. True of most other new or so-called "new" and "progressuve" movements.

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#168706 - 01/19/19 06:44 PM Re: Polakov on Conservatism [Re: AuntJobiska]
Enright Offline
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Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 3466
Loc: CA
Apparently at the time, Polakov was carried away by the dichotomies he saw as present in such terms as "progress" and "conservatism," regardless of what the terms might potentially represent in context. To him, they are totally incompatible aspects of the human condition. He seems unaware that preserving the knowledge of the past, as in libraries for example, is one of the most "progressive" things that human beings can do.
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#168708 - 01/20/19 11:53 AM Re: Polakov on Conservatism [Re: Enright]
Dan Simmons Administrator Offline
CEO of the Hegemony


Registered: 09/02/05
Posts: 11197
Loc: Colorado
 Originally Posted By: Enright
Apparently at the time, Polakov was carried away by the dichotomies he saw as present in such terms as "progress" and "conservatism," regardless of what the terms might potentially represent in context. To him, they are totally incompatible aspects of the human condition. He seems unaware that preserving the knowledge of the past, as in libraries for example, is one of the most "progressive" things that human beings can do.


Dan S. comments:

Somebody should have given Polakov a copy of A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ.

DS

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#168711 - 01/20/19 01:27 PM Re: Polakov on Conservatism [Re: Dan Simmons]
ColinFraizer Offline
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Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 87
Loc: Indiana, USA
If I were to reply today, I would suggest that the cause of progress should beware of adopting its own dogma.

See, for example: https://issues.org/philosophers-corner-fear-mongering-fact-mongering/

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#168712 - 01/20/19 01:35 PM Re: Polakov on Conservatism [Re: Dan Simmons]
ColinFraizer Offline
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Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 87
Loc: Indiana, USA
Added A Canticle for Leibowitz to my reading list. (To the top of my fiction list, actually. I'll read it next.)

If I end up doing time, would you provide a reading list à la Pruno?

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#168717 - 01/22/19 03:20 PM Re: Polakov on Conservatism [Re: Dan Simmons]
jmill Offline
Full Shrike


Registered: 04/01/06
Posts: 5526
“Pound pastrami, can kraut, six bagels—bring home for Emma.”

Beate Leibowitz, ora pro me!

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#168735 - 02/02/19 10:53 AM Re: Polakov on Conservatism [Re: Enright]
ScottSA Offline
CEO of the Hegemony


Registered: 05/19/06
Posts: 14283
Loc: Canada
 Originally Posted By: Enright

"The arrogance of dogmatism has been recognized from the days of Francis Bacon and René Descartes as a chief cause of the retardation of human progress. Dogmatism is by nature conservative since it is based upon information obtained in the past and upon beliefs formed by frequent repetition of dogmas; therefore of necessity arrogant. Its method of self-preservation is to prevent the verification of truth by experiment with facts. Wars and revolutions do not happen–they are caused by arrogance of conservatism based on insufficient knowledge of the laws governing human development."

The irony of an early-century communist lambasting dogmatism is rich. Hindsight lends another layer of irony to this bafflegab as well, given Marx's obviously "insufficient knowledge of the laws governing human development." Finally, I won't bother mentioning that Bacon and Descartes would have been first in line to the gulags. Oops, I did.

It seems to me that attacks on "dogma" are usually attacks on the status quo, for good or bad. And obvious example is the 60's campus phenomena of widespread attacks on the bourgeois "dogma" of "the man," that later became entrenched as a self-feeding (and self-eating) dogma of its own, awaiting the next revolution.
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If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what is an empty desk a sign?~Albert Einstein

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#168746 - 02/05/19 07:34 AM Re: Polakov on Conservatism [Re: ColinFraizer]
ColinFraizer Offline
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Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 87
Loc: Indiana, USA
 Originally Posted By: ColinFraizer
Added A Canticle for Leibowitz to my reading list. (To the top of my fiction list, actually. I'll read it next.)


I read A Canticle for Leibowitz last week. Wow! What a terrific book. I'm going to read it again, soon.

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