Sunday, November 07, 2004

Life in the church of Bush -- a guide to rationalists

So, what should a rationalist do?

One possibility is to continue on as before. If one's historical perspective extends sixty years or so, this is perfectly reasonable. Certainly in my personal memory (25 years or so) regression to the mean is common, and the "dead" persist longer than expected (local phone companies, fax machines, McGill university ...).

Those with a longer range perspective (100 years, 1000 years) may be less sanguine.

My primary concern is demographic. As the US voting population ages along with the boomers, it will become more socially conservative. Average IQ will also fall -- that's what aging does. (Mine is not what it once was.)

This trend towards social conservatism and increasing simplicity would not have been a problem during the reign of the Pharaohs'. It will not work well in our world. Barring the collapse of civilization, our world will become more and more complex. Technologic transformations, the industrialization of China and India, climate change, petroleum exhaustion, the potential collapse of much of Africa.

The intersection of simplicity, rigidity and social conservatism with increasing complexity is not promising. We cannot necessarily be reassured by the lessons of the past 60 years.

So, what should a rationalist do?

Some initial thoughts:

1. Advocate for states' rights.
2. Live in a state that separates church and state. The role of creationism in the curriculum is a good guide. (Ironically I think there's a case to be made for a form of intelligent design -- but that case implies some novel things about the Designer.)
3. Live in a blue state. (Minnesota is a borderline case actually.)
4. If you can't live in a blue state, then participate in Republican primaries. Attempt to mitigate the damage. Do consider moving however.
5. Consider moving away from major population centers. There may be an advantage to living close to a relatively human-free vastness.

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