Re: The Problem with Futurism

Michael Lorrey (
Mon, 28 Sep 1998 18:07:00 -0400

Robin Hanson wrote:

> Actually, the attitude you describe is partly what I'm trying to avoid
> in my ideal community of discourse. "Yeah, we look wierd, but they
> persecuted Galileo didn't they? And abolisionists eventually won, right?"
> Yeah, but most "kooks" really are, movements and religions grow for
> lots of reasons besides the accuracy of their factual claims, and most of
> them are not fondly remembered by history.

I would amend that to say that most proponents of progress are not fondly revised by present day historians. Since most present day historians are of the luddite/crunchy/left persuasion, they obviously are applying their biases to what they write about individuals who were prophets of progress. For example, the Industrial Revolution, a period which saw the greatest growth in wealth, health, and education of the largest percentage of the general population in history, is seen today as a time of backwardness, disease, exploitation of the working classes, etc.

I think that the time of the kook is upon us. Since it is now generally cool to be a computer geek, at least among the younger generation (the old school media are still stuck in the 50's "nerd" attitude rut), I can imagine that the next wave of acceptance in the next generation is the futurist, especially as their predictions start to come true at a faster pace.

Mike Lorrey