Paranoid and not-so-paranoid fantasies about the Big Brothers.
Today on NYT Ross Douthat is freaking out about a “Huxleyan Dystopian” future. Sexual individualism of our age really gives conservatives lots of mental anxiety, isn’t it? I don’t understand how you can live a happy life worrying about other people’s sex life this much. (Not to mention the ecology catastrophe we are heading toward due to overpopulation.)
For some reason, I couldn’t fathom how the wealthy, comfortable, and technologically proficient society described in Brave New World wouldn’t end up buzzed with human creativity. As an optimist, I always have faith that human beings have an innate drive to explore and create. Thus making Brave New World the least plausible Dystopian scenario in my opinion.
Brutally dark and hopeless, The Windup Girl is a book about peak oil, global civilizational decline, and the (temporary) end of positive-sum economies. In a suddenly overpopulated world, humans are forced into a constant Hobbesian zero-sum game, and most moral norms go right out the window. Warning: This is very tough book to read. But it serves as an important reminder of the Malthusian menace that forever lurks just outside the circle of light provided by the flickering candle-flame of modern technology.