If we want serious change, we might want to revisit how the most positive futurist the USA once offered, through world’s fairs for starters (Afghanistan, Montreal…), commemorated by the Buckyball at EPCOT (“Spaceship Earth”), and for whom buckminsterfullerene was named, got written off as a kook and/or crackpot and/or failure by those with far fewer accomplishments or fans. How many other philosophers had that many patents to their name?
Might it have something to do with his declaring “the USA we have known” to be “bankrupt and extinct” way back in the 1980s (Grunch of Giants, St. Martins Press), and getting a Medal of Freedom around the same time (from Ronald Reagan)? He cited income inequality and the ascendancy of corporate power, talking about corporate personhood before that became popular. Covert ops and dirty wars were already replacing the constitutional authorities. What we call “the deep state” today is but the tip of the Grunch iceberg.
Does it matter he came up with new pedagogy around polyhedrons accessible to any 6th grader (and above)? No public or private school that I’m aware of deigns to share his primitive volumes table. So was he wrong then? Or was he a source of too many inconvenient truths? How about his focus on the global electrical grid, long before “we” made that be a Chinese idea (and therefore scary)? Former president Johnson was so popular in Texas precisely because he helped extend the electrical grid to rural areas.
From my point of view, we’ve let the soulless corporations he wrote so eloquently about write him out of history, or portray him as quaintly retro (e.g. The House of Tomorrow). Why was using our highest technology to mass produce something yurt-like and affordable (not talking about domes now, see Henry Ford Museum) considered less interesting than what we got instead: so-called mobile homes?
Is it too late to build cities from scratch, such as Old Man River? Was “lack of funds” ever the real problem? Doesn’t the Earth plug into the Sun?
As someone who studied philosophy at Princeton under Walter Kaufmann, who warned us of times to come (we’re in them now), I think the choice to expunge and/or besmirch one of America’s all time greatest philosophers was a huge mistake. Not a mistake; a willful desire to nip something in the bud. And “we the people” march ahead blindly, not questioning the theft of our heritage.
His message that we don’t have to make politicians be the ones in charge (check “design science revolution” in Wikipedia) is one you’re never going to hear from those who channel our frustration through all the usual circuits. When will independent journalists finally decide it’s time to connect the dots?