Small, local, old, and particular

Here’s an interesting thought from Rod Dreher:

Small, local, old, and particular are almost always better than big, global, new, and abstract.

Almost always better? I wouldn’t go that far. But I would say that small, local, old, and particular are often undervalued.

Since modernity is biased toward big, global, new, and abstract, giving more consideration to small, local, old, and particular can help correct our perspective.

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Stupidity scales
Decentralized knowledge, centralized power
Appropriate scale
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Place, privacy, and dignity

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8 comments on “Small, local, old, and particular
  1. Frank says:

    Maybe it’s a self-referential joke? The statement itself is quite big, global, new (to me) and abstract.

  2. Eric Wilson says:

    I don’t really want a computer built by a small, local factory, nor do I want an old operating system written by the nice old guy with a reputation for being good with code here in my town of 15,000.

    I agree that this quote represents an important correction to modernity. But I’m seeing a good bit of post-modernity in technology, which is ironic for a variety of reasons. In particular, if you are one that enjoys writing code for a living, you probably shouldn’t speak as though the world would be better if companies larger than 20 never existed.

  3. John says:

    I don’t want to run 20-year-old computer hardware, but I love running 20-year-old software on new hardware, if the software has been maintained but not greatly extended over that 20 years.

    For example, I was compiling a TeX file the other day and I thought it failed because the job finished immediately. I can run TeX on a book in the time it takes to launch Word.

  4. Johnpher says:

    I greatly agree with such idea and I believe which will make our way of thinking more effective without too much Redundancy.

  5. Bob Davidson says:

    Highly recommend “Shop Class as Soul Craft” book by Matthew Crawford. The paper the book was based on is here:

    By the way, Hewlett Packard was a much better company when it was 82 different semi-autonomous divisions each serving a specific base of customers than it is now in giant monolith form. (I worked there for 24 years).

  6. John says:

    Thanks. I’ve read Shop Class as Soul Craft and enjoyed it.

  7. Sicco Jan Bier says:

    I was not so long ago discussing an idea with our receptionist: to start using stamps on business mail again. Now everything is rubber stamped (or preprinted) ‘postage paid’, weigthed and charged at the kilo and as a stamp collector it is disappointing to see, literally, see so much color be lost for efficiency and effectiveness. The conversation took us on a sentimental journey. But hey, even sticker style stamps take too long to affix to a mailing and you can’t negotiate a rate with your post office…

    I guess for code writers there is no such thing as adding a little bit of fluff just because you can, but there certainly are areas where I’d like to see a little bit more old and particular.

  8. Mat says:

    It only makes some sense when you understand it as being written particularly for Americans and the USA, which is global, (I’d say Universal), and worships the new by having hosted the last (and current) technological revolution.
    He might be informing people who haven’t been to Europe to find value in historic places,, or that it might be good to compensate a bit (which I agree with)

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