Jonathan at Past Peak has an interesting post about how modern agricultural techniques destroyed a much more productive agricultural system in Bali that had been developed over centuries. Jonathan includes this quote from Wendell Berry:
We identify arrogant ignorance by its willingness to work on too big a scale, and thus to put too much at risk.This is perhaps my biggest complaint with this country, and it dates back to long before George W. Bush raised arrogant ignorance to heights never before seen. By the time we figure out how damaging superhighways or fatty snack foods or suburban sprawl or genetically-modified foods are, we have already spread them across the nation and are actively trying to force them down the throats of other countries. When we try to introduce democracy somewhere, we don't start with relatively friendly small undemocratic places like Kuwait or Dubai or Florida. No! We have to invade a hostile nation and kill hundreds of thousands to convince them of the benefits of democracy. And utter failure doesn't faze us; it's always on to the next place!