My impression of Christine Rosen, from the New Atlantis: “Danger. Danger. Danger. Great peril. Beware…mechanical overlords. Beware…drooling cretinous soulless teenagers. Avoid at all costs…an irreversible diminishing of human potential and spiritedness. Especially avoid…Designer babies! Moral drift! Reality television! Blogging! Breast implants! Etcetera, etcetera. Danger. Danger. Danger. Great peril.”
Of course, she’s right. She can’t help but be right. The future is fraught with danger. There’s probably no hope. So why isn’t she a Talibanist already? Why doesn’t she oppose democracy (always an intellectually defensible position)? Oh, because the country’s drifting conservative, and it won’t pass over into a mild theocracy, and religionists won’t find terrifying non-nihilistic uses for technology and kulturhack… Again, I suppose she’s right to warn and warn and play the Cassandra, but at what point do her words, and those of the other conbios, turn into mere (gasp) bitching? Well, they have intellectual and thus political clout, they’ll provide the philosophical grounding for the revolution to come. Fine, but should it matter that their worryings point toward despair today, since in so thoroughly defining each pressing and prospective problem, they are blocking out every conceivable ray of hope? And does it matter that such a precognition of the grim and dire future leads directly to a stoicism that sagely ignores any temporal calls to arms or action?
I just resent the hell out of Christine Rosen. And Alan Bloom. And, especially, Mark Edmundsen. I don’t care if the students are rutting mouth-breathers over at state universities. If there’s no hope…then there’s no hope.
I have some thoughts relating to the culture war that I’ll try to pull together later. Suffice it to say that cultural conservatives are big hypocrites when it comes to capitalism, and democracy for that matter.