Summary: we have become a fearful people, for no good reason. It makes us easy to rule. For 2019, let’s resolve to overcome our fears, face our challenges, and have a great year.
Not a week has gone by since the FM website began that I have not had a comment or email explaining why America is doomed.
Climate change, peak oil, 4GW, social decay, ecological collapse, economic collapse, pandemics of new and old diseases – the list rolls on. It’s the Crisis Crisis, with the doomsters dominating our news. Every day they make readers fear for the survival of America, or even civilization. But for thousands of generations humanity has confronted such serious problems as we climbed from scavengers to become the dominant species on this planet. It’s been a long climb. And our problems today are trivial compared to those we faced and surmounted in the past.
So why so much fear about the future?
Refuting the many doomster nightmares is like plugging holes in a cracking dam. Such stories multiply, driven by fears about the future of our rapidly changing world. Our past successes provide Americans with little confidence about the future. What will happen during the next fifty years, by 2069? Here are my guesses.
- Peak oil will have come and gone. Today’s progress in building new energy sources will continue. By 2069 we have adapted to a post-oil world.
- The age wave will have passed over us. The developed world will have seen the elderly become its largest age group –placing severe stress on their economies – then die. Some nations’ retirement systems will have gone bust paying for their pensions and medical care. Life will go on, as it has after past economic traumas.
- The global long population crash will have begun as many nations have population declines (it has already hit Japan). Societies with fertility rates below replacement will face slow cultural extinction, unless they boost fertility or assimilate large numbers of immigrants. The economic effects of population decline are exaggerated. Nations, like Japan, with falling but highly educated populations will be global stars. The second half of the 21st century will see fewer people, with fantastic benefits to the biosphere, beyond our ability to imagine.
- A new industrial revolution has now begun. Late 21st century industry will rely on catalytic chemistry (as does our body). Children of 2069 in the developed nations (which will be most of the world) will ask their teachers “what is pollution?”
- The Left’s climate change fears will have proved exaggerated, as the shift away from coal, slow population growth, and continued technological progress put emissions on a slower track than the IPCC’s worst case scenario (RCP8.5). Future tech progress might make RCP8.5 look silly (e.g., fusion).
We can only guess what the world of 2069 might look like. It might seem as strange to us as the world of 1950 would be to someone living in 1900.
We look back at the fears of the Victorian era with amusement. They worried that cities grow so large that horse manure renders them unlivable, that the lights would go out when the last whale was killed for its oil, and that the Earth would be ravaged by giant war machines (such as airships and submarines). I believe that in 2069 our descendants will similarly laugh at our nightmares, while they look to a future holding challenges we cannot imagine.
Humanity was born naked and ignorant on Africa’s Serengeti Plains, bereft of either armor or weapons. We have survived generations-long droughts, fantastic floods, an ice age, and a supervolcano. Despite these setbacks, we slowly learned – and developed our powers. We have barely begun this journey. We have always walked into an unknown future, but our past should give us the confidence to do so with caution – but not fear.
“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone …. I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”
— The Litany against fear, used by the Bene Gesserit. From Frank Herbert’s Dune.
For More Information
Other ways to make 2017 count: A New Year’s resolution for America. Resolve to begin the reform of America in 2017!
If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about doomsters, about shockwaves, about fear, about good news for America, and especially these…
- Is America’s decline inevitable? No. — Why be an American if one has no faith in the American people?
- Rebuttals to the big list of reasons why America will fall.
- Good news about the 21st century, a counterbalance to the doomsters.
- Experts, with wrinkled brows, warn about the future — Experts often see the future with alarm, seeing the dangers but not benefits. That gets attention, from both the media and an increasingly fearful public
12 thoughts on “America’s New Year’s Resolution: see the future without fear!”
What is concerning is that we try to confront fear with facts, rational arguments and logic. We are the man that says ‘I fear nothing.’ We have nothing to fear yet fear everything because fear is part of our inmost being; bound into our psyche because there is nothing to hope for beyond now. A nation that has abandoned its spiritual roots is a dry leaf blown by every breeze.
“What is concerning is that we try to confront fear with facts, rational arguments and logic.”
That’s an hopeless approach. Fear is overcome by appealing to values, tradition, and spirit. The appeal is seldom highfalutin. Consider leaders’ speeches before battles conducted in extremis. Such as the words Shakespeare gives to Henry V before Agincourt. Or Suetonius before his legions fight the rebels led by Queen Boudica.
For fears, why do you only list those liberal fears like climate change? Why not also cite the litany of conservative fears, like EVIL IMMIGRANTS, LEGAL ABORTIONS, GUN CONTROL, and the boogeymen of boogeymen……..SOCIALISM which will turn the loosely united states of America into VENEZUELA!!
“For fears, why do you only list those liberal fears”
Let’s replay the tape. Note there is (as always) some overlap. Also, this isn’t given as a comprehensive list, since I want readers to finish reading it on New Year’s day.
Leftist: climate change, peak oil, ecological collapse. Three items.
Right-wing: 4GW, social decay, economic collapse. Three items.
Non-political (ie, by both): disease (see the hysteria over swine flu and ebola).
“We can only guess what the world of 2069 might look like. It might seem as strange to us as the world of 1950 would be to someone living in 1900.”
That does put things in perspective.
Just a “nit-pick” in consistency: Conclusion, second paragraph 2060 instead of 2069…
Thanks for catching that! Fixed!
There are other perspectives on fear of a coming something:
The last glaciation wiped a substantial number of people and the the Toba cataclysm may have been survived by as little as few hundred breading pairs of humans then, in Sub-Saharan Africa, (as per some, yet unverified theories). We can’t really prepare for nor prevent any of those and that’s why it’s pointless to fear them…
Some of our grandparents lived through the 1930’s and through the WWII and I don’t think they would not be fearful of a chance to repeat those. And here we are quite justified of fearing and therefore preparing for or trying to prevent these.
And another fear of the future is justified today by realizing what we have done wrong — whether knowingly and repenting (or not) or subconsciously and still “choosing” to ignore it. Wouldn’t sounding an alarm be appropriate and mobilizing to correct the errors or, at least, soften the coming blows be due?
Fear is too complex to rationalize; however, knowing that this hard-wired fear is really good for us, by making us to spring into a corrective action to extinguish it, and, as well, to quell the emotional response (kind of fear) which would lead us to hysteria and paralysis.
“Some of our grandparents lived through the 1930’s and through the WWII and I don’t think they would not be fearful of a chance to repeat those. And here we are quite justified of fearing and therefore preparing for or trying to prevent these.”
But preventing neither of those things is a mainstream fear today.
“And another fear of the future is justified today by realizing what we have done wrong — whether knowingly and repenting (or not) or subconsciously and still “choosing” to ignore it”
Dating Mary Sue in 11th grade? That’s too vague to mean anything.
“knowing that this hard-wired fear is really good for us,”
Absurd. Fear is useful only if governed. If we let it irrationally guide us, or allow others to manipulate our fears for their benefit, than our fears are not “good for us.”
IMO, Fear movies are infotainment. From what little I know, fear to be resolved is by slow introduction and is controlled by our fear system: https://www.pnas.org/content/111/8/2871 . Movies fit this now and in the past.
I think apathy is the more likely, bigger enemy of our society.
Happy New Year as well.
As I’ve documented in scores of post, fear is not just a major theme in our films. It is the primary tool used to appeal to us (or manipulate us) in our politics.
Also, fear and apathy can be complementary in politics. A fearful people are often apathetic followers.
I agree. It is the apathy, rather than resolve, from infotainment and other propaganda that I find complementary, as well.
BTW, I think the literature of fear agrees with your statement: Fear is useful only if governed.
That takes resolve.