La Trahison des Clercs
Julien Benda deliberately made this title ambiguous, so I will translate it here "the malice of the experts." In an online New York Times article of February 5, 2020, titled "Draft Executive Order Would Give Trump a New Target: Modern Architectural Design," referring to a proposed executive order, "Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again," which "favors classical design for buildings in Washington" and has "drawn opposition from architects," the authors quote Roger K. Lewis, an architect and professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Maryland: "At the most fundamental level it's a complete constraint on freedom of expression." Marion Smith, also an architect and chairman of the group promoting the proposed order, approves this constraint:
For too long architectural elites and bureaucrats have derided the idea of beauty, blatantly ignored public opinions on style, and have quietly spent taxpayer money constructing ugly, expensive, and inefficient buildings. . . . This executive order gives voice to the 99 percent—the ordinary American people who do not like what our government has been building.
I'm one of those. Do it with somebody else's money. Professor Lewis and his ilk speak with the expert's air of entitlement, as though such people had some kind of right to public monies to exercise their very expensive imaginations. If George Soros or Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos wants to build something expensive, ugly, and uncomfortable, nobody's stopping them. Let them buy a chunk of the Mojave and go at it.
THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:
S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
calling all readers
"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand
"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor
• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!
Transactions will be processed on a secure server.
Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.
OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)
Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.
more from the online archives