Friday, June 22, 2012

No One Ever Has It All

Anne-Marie Slaughter.  "Why Women Still Can't Have It All."  Atlantic (July/August 2012).

From my perspective (which others are free to disagree with), the issues Slaughter raises are more human than feminist. I would not want the kind of job Slaughter takes (a distant one requiring all-day commitments, no leisure at all). People who take those jobs, men or women, give up things (things I am not willing to give up).

What I see coming out of this is an honest reassessment of what it takes to work at high levels of an overgrown bureaucracy. The pressure may simply be more than humanity can bear. Maybe the lesson we learn from this is that no one can have it all, that more government is not always going to be better, that we need to find better ways of living (requiring less centralization, less bureaucracy, less self-sacrificing ascetics willing and able to give themselves wholly and utterly to the Machine).

In antiquity, people knew that bureaucrats didn't have lives: they were often monks, eunuchs, cripples, etc. Somewhere along the American journey, we picked up this idea that we can do anything if we just engineer things right. Maybe this is true. Or maybe not.

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