(1) The metric system is statist. It was imposed during the French Revolution. Almost every other country in the world was “forced” to accept the metric system over its indigenous units of measurement.
(2) The Revolutionaries knew what there were doing. They knew that the way a society measures things is very much a religious practice. Look at the attempted calendar reforms of tyrannous governments. The Soviets moved away from a seven-day week. The French revolutionaries did something similar (each 30 day month had three ten-day weeks ending with a rest-day, the decadi). The calendar was revised to begin the year count with the beginning of the Revolution. Look at the use of “CE” and “BCE” in academic literature.
(3) Aside from religious motivations, centralized states used imposed “systems” to rule over their serfs more efficiently. They love numbers and statistics and use these to further enslave their populations. The bureaucratic state must be resisted at every level.
(4) The traditional units of measurements evolved by slow, natural forces. They do not constitute a pre-packaged “system” of measurement. In it, much of our past is preserved and passed on to future generations.
(5) The traditional units worked because they were personal, quotidian and humble. Feet, inches, cups, bushels, etc. were based upon objects in the real world. (Want to know how long an inch is, look at the width of your thumb.) Such measurements are easily grasped.
(6) Think of the linguistic richness that the traditional units allow. In the Sermon on the Mount our Lord rhetorically asked who could add a single cubit to his life by worry. A cubit is basically the length of a man’s forearm. The image was vivid to his hearers. Now replace it with centimeters and the illustration becomes absurd.
(7) Guilds and intellectual communities may freely adopt a standard system for purposes of communication, especially in cases where the community is international. The problem here, however, is that this desire for uniformity and efficient communication becomes religious. Many at the beginning of last century were advocates of Esperanto, a universal
scientific language. (Leibniz, I believe, was the first modern to propose such an “international” language.) But this drive for unity and centralization over against diversity and individuality is a temptation to be resisted. God’s confounding of language at Babel is a warning against such endeavors. Aside from the obvious problems, think of language itself. There is no place for a Shakespeare or Ovid in such an artificial language. All metaphor, entendre, word-play, wit would be destroyed. The drive for unity is science gone mad. Scientific knowledge for the purpose of techne becomes an end in itself. There is no place for art, beauty or any thing else that makes life worth living when science becomes god.