One of the embarrassing things about the scramble for new policies to rescue the national economy is the paucity of ideas coming from the self-selected band of politicians and career civil servants. If nothing else, this alone is a reflection of the shortcomings in the framework of our education by rote, and of the building of intellectual barriers between party-affiliated thinkers, policymakers and unsure academics. It also reflects a stubbornness on the part of those in power which is in many ways a core part of popular Barbadian culture, something that the objectivity of a liberal education should have erased. In fact, on a wider note, this has been the promise of the Enlightenment – scientific truth, objectivity, impartiality, etc – which Northern European post-mercantilist culture has been preaching since the 17th century and continues, to this day, even if with less vigour.
Enlightenment values had a hole right at the centre of its beliefs, and that was filled in during the mid-19th century by Karl Marx in his long analysis of the battle between labour and capital. But, if the great dividing line in Europe, and in particular Britain, was between the mill owners and the chimney boys, to those of us who came of age during the black power movement of the 1960 and the post 9/11 Muslims, who see religion as more important than class, not only was the sc9ientism of the Enlightenment wrong, so too was the post-Darwinism of Marxism. Some social attachments are more powerful than class or religion, a reality that may be more expressive in some societies than in others.