} Digging beyond the gut-level response, I'll admit that I had reservations
} for many years about bringing a child into the world. Look around - the
} forces of big government seem to be entrenched around the world, children
} are being shot on the streets and in schools, couples are having to work
} harder to make ends meet, etc. I could go on and on. It seems like the
} world is going down the toilet, and that things just aren't as good as
} they were when I was growing up.
Well, we'll soon know that David Brin isn't on the list, by his failure
to erupt in response. So I'll stand in. World is going down the
toilet? The world is growing out of the toilet. Maybe some things are
worse than when you were growing up. I'm only 22; what's changed in my
life is the collapse of much of the Eastern bloc and a lot of advances
in science and technology. Along with more democracy in Latin America
and somewhat better conditions in South Africa. I live in a country
with First and Second Amendments, even if they're not absolute; where
anyone can make fun of any politician or anyone else without legal
sanction; where social respect is largely correlated with wealth (a
better proxy for respect for ability than respect for who your parents
were, or what accent you have); where one can still get a cheap
homestead and live on it in the middle of nowhere, if one wishes and can
live away from the main economy.
And most people accept that things should be getting better, even if
they think that's not currently the case. As Brin says, we're the first
civilization to have our Golden Age in our future. And we're making
measurable progress toward it, even if extropians have somewhat less
mainstream ideas of what the golden age should be. We're on the top of
the world. Only some rulers of previous societies had more control over
reality than we do; and except for the ability to boss around people's
lives, most of them don't match up either. I don't think Augustus had
glass windows. He sure didn't have kiwi fruit available year round. Or
Prohibition: the Sequel, decrepit inner cities, the deficit, and the IRS
aren't nice features of current reality. They also are far from the end
of the world.
I know you, John, came to less pessimistic realizations. But this is a
general thing: for libertarians or transhumanists to not acknowledge
that they are living in the best of all places and times *that have
actually existed so far* is going to get them _justly_ dismissed as
nutty dreamers. Not visionary dreamers, just nuts.
-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-) <*> http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~phoenix
Dance, dance, the shaking of the sheets
Dance, dance, when you hear the pi-per.
Lady, everyone must dance,
The shaking of the sheets with me.