Checks and Balances

I’m fascinated with this story, and how it seems to me to represent several very American aspects of contemporary culture, and not favorable ones either.

I’m as big a science-fiction and lay-physicist as the next guy, but I don’t have any fears that CERN is going to create a black hole that will swallow the planet, the solar system, and then move on to some kind of UFC contest with the black hole at the core of our galaxy.

No, what I actually fear more is this idea that the courts are where we need to go to stop ideas, movements and efforts. If CERN is indeed a problem, that it is a problem of knowledge and learning, and that is the arena in which to fight such a problem. The plaintiffs are essentially asking the courts to halt the acquisition of knowledge – use the law to maintain ignorance. That is so very American in so many different, dizzying, nauseating ways. Hey, can’t we just leave American ignorance as is, and not spread that value to every fucking corner of the globe?

The language is too perfect as well. CERN’s safety study is “fundamentally flawed.” Where have I heard that before? It’s the language of ignorant boobs who are yet somehow convinced of their own knowledge and powers of discernment beyond what mortal men may ken. I call bullshit. Once you start using someone else’s language as your own, you’ve given up all claims on thinking your own thoughts and forming your own opinions. Your just a pawn in someone else’s game. And there is also this American idea that mechanical means are how everything is accomplished, the courts in this case being the mechanism. Levers working on levers. It’s not any different than the obsession with laws and courts when it comes to abortion. Pro-choice and pro-life, each side sees the law as the place to decide abortion, when abortion is not something that needs deciding – it is not a legal issue, but a social one. No matter what the law says, abortion will exist. In what way, and how it affects society, is the social question, which is much harder to deal with, more complex and subtle, and so is clearly beyond the forces of the ‘interested’ parties. As are the Hadrons. Go, Hadrons!


Author: gtra1n

I'm a composer and musician, and I write about music—I do that here, for the New York Classical Review, at the Brooklyn Rail (I edit the music section there) and any place else that will have me, like New Music Box and Music & Literature. I also wrote the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew book in the 33 1/3 series.