Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Predicting the Future: Fun for the Whole Family

Where Are We Going?

I think one of the reasons I love Science Fiction so much is that it transports me out of this world where everything is seemingly going to hell in a hand basket. I know this is not really true when in fact everything is actually getting better all the time. The fact that the global economy is more diverse and free than at any time in history - and in the process human poverty and starvation is actually declining - is totally lost on the consumers of the nightly news cycle.

The doom and gloom and constant hand wringing coming from that TV drives me crazy. The hardest thing for modern man to overcome is our own cynicism. Hell, I am a natural complainer myself. I have been known to be a negative Nelly, no really, as hard as it is to believe it's true.

Are we There Yet?

I'll bet that right before the world was plunged into darkness that we called World War II back in the late 1930's few people would have predicted just how well civilization would be doing in the year 2000. What Western Civilization has built (or rebuilt) after the fall of the Nazis and the imperialists in Japan is simply remarkable. If the past is the predictor of the future then, my God, the future looks bright.

Most futurists look at the present situation and apply a formula that simply extrapolates a future based on incremental advancements. This makes perfect sense. Moore's Law on computing power has proven to be remarkable accurate. Even when we reach the physical material limits of the current semi-conductors some advancement comes along that will allow another barrier to be breached. This is true with most things - not the least of which is agricultural yields. Abundant food alone is responsible for the rising fortunes of humanity!

The pace of human advancement follows an exponential curve. This means change will come faster and the achievements will be even greater. I for one look forward to the day when we as the human race find that magical solution to our energy woes. I am confident it will happen in my lifetime. A brilliant solution to harness the power of the Sun in a safe, efficient manner is forth coming. If not, then, we will find a way that makes the energy solutions we already have insanely more efficient than they are today. The bottom line is that the key to our future is more energy use.

Like I said earlier, the future is an extrapolation of the past and if one thing is made clear by now our energy needs are ever increasing. This, I contend, is a good thing. I want the future to be bigger, better and come faster. I want to be an optimist! We have every right to believe the future will deliver us into a better world.

However, there are more than a few flies in the ointment...

The Big Three:
Global Warming hysteria
GM food hysteria
Islamic fascism

All three of these have one goal which is clearly evident to those who actually take the time to truly examine them: The End of Capitalism

This comes at just the time capitalism has proven itself vastly superior to the other "isms" at delivering the promise of a better future. Why is it what seems so clear to me is lost on most people. Well, most people, who derive their very fortunes from the dynamic world capitalism has created, are too brainwashed by the overbearing foghorn that is the mainstream media.

This is not say that the environment in the case of Global Warming is not important. Satisfying our need to protect the planet from environmental degradation will not be served by destroying capitalism. It seems obvious that the 70 year experiment with communism was the worst environmental disaster the world has ever seen. China is an environmental disaster waiting to happen not because it has embraced capitalism but because it took so long to do so.

So too, the world's embrace of GM (genetically modified) foods should be done with all the care and caution that is required, but in the end it is doing with science what man has done with hybridization for thousands of years. It should be celebrated as a marvelous human achievement not feared and banned.

The real threat to a better future for all of us is Islamic fundamentalism. Those of you who read this blog regularly might think this is a broken record - but don't fool yourselves into thinking I am alone. I have to ask why the mainstream media doesn't even try to sound this warning siren with the same conviction they scream about "HailiBushHilterBurton" stealing your money, killing your sons and daughters and taking away your constitutional rights. Fear, my friends. They don't fear "HailiBushHilterBurton" but they fear Islam, they fear insulting Islam and they fear their multicultural politically correct peers.

Western Civilization is in peril because we are so apathetic and unconvinced of our own greatness that we would rather yawn and proceed clicking the channels than to stand up and defend what we have.

Victor Davis Hanson writes so eloquently on this subject in the Wall Street Journal. His piece "Losing The Enlightenment" he states:

"The hard-won effort of the Western Enlightenment of some 2,500 years that, along with Judeo-Christian benevolence, is the foundation of our material progress, common decency, and scientific excellence, is at risk in this new millennium.

"But our newest foes of Reason are not the enraged Athenian democrats who tried and executed Socrates. And they are not the Christian zealots of the medieval church who persecuted philosophers of heliocentricity. Nor are they Nazis who burned books and turned Western science against its own to murder millions en masse.

No, the culprits are now more often us. In the most affluent, and leisured age in the history of Western civilization--never more powerful in its military reach, never more prosperous in our material bounty--we have become complacent, and then scared of the most recent face of barbarism from the primordial extremists of the Middle East."

Michael Novak sums it all up in his excellent piece "What the Islamists Have Learned" citing the new creed of the militant Islamists:

"Maxim # 2: Take heart, then, my terrorist brothers! Bin Laden is even more correct than we knew before the last two years. The West does not have the will to resist. Those elites among them who do have the stomach to fight back, inexorably, day after day, are being undermined by their own media.

Now and in the future, the media will do our work. All we need are martyrs sufficient in number to keep a steady stream of orange flames and black smoke before their cameras, and to dump before them bodies that are stone-cold dead, and bear all over them the unmistakable blue marks of power drills and other disfigurements.

Of such martyrs, we need each day only a handful. In 365 successive days, we need fewer than one thousand.

This small band of brothers can defeat the most powerful army in human history. The path, my brothers, is to come to dominate the minds of their public, which they must suppose is supporting them, and in reality turns quite quickly into our best ally.

This is not so huge a task, my brothers! In the long run of glorious history, the time required is like the blinking of an eye."

Mark Steyn from "America Alone":

“In the fourteenth century, the Black Death wiped out a third of the Continent’s population; in the twenty-first, a larger proportion will disappear — in effect, by choice. We are living through a rare moment: the self-extinction of the civilization which, for good or ill, shaped the age we live in. One can cite examples of remote backward tribes who expire upon contact with the modern world, but for the modern world to expire in favor of the backward tribes is a turn of events future anthropologists will ponder, as we do the fall of Rome.”

Mona Charin:

"The lone exception to this downward spiral in the West is the United States. Our birthrate plus immigration means that our population is growing, not shrinking. (Actually, our growth is due to red state birth rates. If it were up to the blues, we’d be in Europe’s fix.) But most American liberals are as weak-minded as the Europeans when it comes to the matter of will. They do not feel the urge to preserve Western civilization as strongly as the desire to apologize for it — and that may be the death of us."

And last but not least the uncommonly positive and enthusiastic futurist and technologist Ray Kurzweil after telling us all about the wonders of our technologically advanced future world lays down this warning:

"One trick we'll have to master is staying ahead of the game. Kurzweil warns that terrorists could, obviously, use this same technology against us. For example, they could build and spread a bioengineered biological virus that's highly powerful and stealthy."

The future is bright if we care enough to see it through. If we blink and allow the socialists, the Luddites and the Islamic swarm to destroy capitalism, more precisely the United States then I say pass me the government-distributed candle so I can read my Koran.



TJ Willms said...


** “It wounds my heart with monotonous languor,” to read this but you are oh so right.

Great piece !!

**Coded radio message to the French resistance fighters to inform them that the D-Day invasion was about to begin. June 6, 1944

Timothy Birdnow said...

Poverty and despotism are terribly destructive to the environment; just look at the cultures (modern or not) where these are practiced and see what they have done to themselves. Our society provides natural incentives for people to clean up after themselves. That`s why the environmentalists had to turn to this carbon dioxide business; just by breathing we are polluting, using their definitions. We most certainly would have to give up meat, since cattle contribute to GW, and most industrial processes require co2 emissions. Goodbye civilization...

The Left thinks they are using Jihadists to break the stranglehold of the ``military/industrial complex`` and usher in the communal paradise. Riiight! Good luck with that!

Great post, Craig!