The control of information is critical to embedding questionable thoughts in a person’s brain. Make somebody feel like the world is screwed up and going in the wrong direction is a great way to scare them and therefore shove your fascist beliefs down their throat. I tend to be cynical on the short term but optimistic over the long scale, which I largely feel is because, while there’s a very long trigger time before the urge to ferment violent rebellion hits, eventually you reach the triggering point if the problem hasn’t been otherwise fixed. But I thought I’d mention a few positive happy facts that a lot of people really don’t want to admit to because these are the ways that they can control you.
My biggest critique of the so-called pro-life movement is that they have done very little to actually protect the sanctity of life, being much happier to push pious pornography upon their adherents. If you want to stop abortion, find ways for fewer people to seek abortions and the rest of the problem will take care of itself. As it turns out, abortions have been on a constant decline. This is not even because people who would seek an abortion are now deciding to keep their baby, it’s because people who would seek an abortion are not getting pregnant in the first place. I suspect that most of the people who are the most forcefully pro-life have hindered this because they tend to be huge fans of abstinence-only education and the restriction of birth control.
On the same subject, people who would seek to have you and your family holed up in an armored house, afraid to talk to your neighbors would like you to believe that crime is increasing. Likewise, there’s a certain bunch of people who launch into a laundry list of reasons why modern America is like the fall of the Roman Empire. However, as it turns out, violent crime has also been on the decline for many years now.
The first nuclear power plants in decades are allowed to start construction. These are the new AP1000 designs. In spite of the meltdowns after the Japanese tsunami. As it turns out, even before the accident, scientists knew that some of the failure modes were uncomfortably manual, so the AP1000 was designed, before the Japanese meltdowns, to be able to cool itself safely without using any external power. I should note, as a matter of disclosure, I own some shares of a Uranium ETF.
Furthermore, solar power is getting more efficient and less expensive. I have my concerns about suggesting that if we move to a giant super-grid of solar power and wind power and other such ‘renewables’ that everything will work correctly. I have a bit more confidence that we will stave off nuclear war over the last few barrels of oil with nuclear in the mix.
World population growth is starting to be under control. I’ve been going back and forth with one of my friends about this. The problem with population control is that you can work too well at reducing population and cause a whole new set of problems. I do not think the answer is so much about people not having children at all, merely accepting that the world has changed from having ten kids, of which maybe two or three will survive long enough to reproduce to a world where you have two kids, both of which survive long enough to reproduce.
Cycling is on the rise. Here’s the better part: People are seeing and using a bike as a real form of transportation in greater numbers. The last bike boom was about recreation, about what the baby boomers would do to feed some post-hippie vision of recreation and exercise, about driving your car to a bike trail and riding on the bike trail. Whereas this is about getting to work without a car.
Assuming this trend continues, this will have a far bigger effect on the future than you think. It’s like the iPod. When it came out, Slashdot was still the site to read and they were not impressed. And then it took over the world.
Finally, I am still very cautiously optimistic about SpaceX. I think my main fear has to do with NASA’s budget shrinking too far to destroy SpaceX’s revenue streams for the Dragon capsule before the space business can be self-sufficient.