Re: Social Engineering (was: Different patriarchy Model)

Kevyn Loren Winkless (
22 Dec 1994 03:49:45 GMT

In <> (Gerold Firl) writes:

>A little closer to home, consider the american civil-rights reforms in the
>60's. Thirty years later, american black culture has still not recovered,
>and appears to continue a tailspin into dissolution. Perhaps this should be
>interpreted as symptomatic of absorbtion, as black culture is integrated
>into mainstream american culture, but it is still surprising to me that it
>has taken such a destructive form. The amazing level of crime and personal
>suffering within black culture, which appears to have been triggered by the
>repeal of legal restrictions on black citizens, is a sobering example of
>how delicate social stability can be, and how costly social instability can
>be. Attempts to anticipate future problems, and head them off by
>pre-emptive social engineering, must be undertaken very carefully, with
>full cognisance of previous problems. Unfortunately the social sciences
>seem very poorly prepared for predicting where and how such problems will

For all intents and purposes, it seems as though the only way we (as
social scientists) can learn enough about "cultural engineering" to
successfully make changes in social settings (successfully meaning for
the good of the society in question) is by trial and error
experimentation. There seems to be no effective manner in which to hold
these experiments in a controlled "laboratory" setting, so they would
have to be held in the context of real, living societies. Are we willing
to take the chance on that kind of modification? Are we willing to face
the ethical consequences?
We can always look at historical examples, of course...but these only
tell us how specific modifications affected specific societies...they
can't tell us how similar modifications would affect _our_ society. We
just don't understand the mechanics of culture that well yet.

"...I drank WHAT!!?" - Socrates
PS...Merry Christmas, everyone!