What is the most somewhat plausible but radical and unexpected future
that you cam imagine for American society in the next 2 generations?
Not the usual ones about tech changes or dreams of dooms.
My nominee: that we redefine “radical.”
Today’s radicals want to seize control of the means of production & distribution.
Future radicals will seize the more important means of reproduction & evolution.
Let’s look ahead to see strange futures.
I have written thousands of posts about our problems and possible solutions (the former are much more popular than the latter, which is part of our problem). But the Millennials I know, mostly Scouts I led (now in 24-30), say that my solutions are inadequate to the problems I described. Far too small. They are right. I believe we have passed the exits leading to easy or pleasant solutions.
So what lies ahead? We might get horrific outcomes, the dystopian or collapsitarian solutions Americans love so much (“everything is doomed, so my passivity is AOK”). Or we might stumble into stable but dark solutions (in the jargon, “non-optimal”). Or we might make harsh choices and take difficult actions to build a better America. So I have accepted their challenge to abandon consensus thinking behind and try to imagine what radical futures might lie ahead.
The point of this exercise is not to make predictions (like those listed on my Forecasts page) but to help people open their imaginations to the possibility of strange futures for America. All we know that in ClownWorld the unexpected is tomorrow’s news.
The high grounds of society
With humans, as with every life form, reproduction is the key to the future. Mating controls biological evolution. Birth controls the number of people and who raises them. Education of the young molds society like clay on the potter’s wheel.
In the past, these decisions were made by families. They helped women choose mates. As in the traditional wedding ceremony where the woman’s father handed her off to her husband.
Now these decisions are made by each woman independently. They choose guys based on tingles, often picking guys that knock them up and leave – or they dump him after birth to search for a better guy. They often select mates under the influence of birth control hormones (simulated pregnancy), which drastically changes their preferences. Children of single mothers on average have worse outcomes than from married parents at home, but their needs are secondary to those of their mothers.
Nothing can change this today. Feminists are a core part of the Left’s coalition, as dominant in American society as the King plus the First and Second Estates (Clergy and Nobels) of France in June 1789. Those rulers of Franch responded to the demands of the rabble (e.g., they should pay at least some taxes) on June 19 by locking out the Third Estate (the 99%) from the Salle des États. After this masterstroke, the people’s representatives swore the Tennis Court Oath – and began the French Revolution.
But social change is never linear. As the feminists push their gender revolution ever farther, they might take one step too far and provoke a new kind of change: people seizing control of the means of reproduction and child-rearing. This might happen by the State for the Left. Or by the Right using other powerful entities in society.
The State moves to “help” women
Oldster Leftists dream of the State dominating the economy.
Future radical Leftists will dream of the State’s power controlling the sources of life.
Single mothers require more support from the State than do families. Welfare, subsidized daycare, longer school hours (a form of daycare), and instruction of children in matters traditionally handled by the family.
The increased support by the State provides a window for State expansion into the one remaining power outside state control: reproduction. The Left will applaud. They once loved eugenics (here and here) and might again. Other motives (justifications) could be found. Perhaps to interbreed the races or finally liberate women from the tiresome business of getting men to “manually” fertilize their eggs – and striking a crippling blow at marriage.
Increased State involvement in rearing children just accelerates a two-century-long trend, allowing the State a stronger hand in producing model citizens.
These are just shallow guesses. Only a big imagination can foresee the limits of this process.
The Right moves to control women
Islamic fundamentalists have proven that the clock can be turned back.
They stripped women of their miniskirts and put them in hijab or burqa.
In the West, conservatives might dream of turning back the clock to 1950. Or 1910.
The Right has shown little interest in resisting the Left’s gender revolution. The institutions on the Right are either supporters or disinterested. As a Boy Scout leader, I worked with parents for 15 years. Even conservatives were feminists or radical feminists when raising their daughters. Mothers and fathers told their daughters that being a tomboy is great, participating in “masculine” sports and activities is great, career is far more important than marriage, etc. Oddly, they are usually surprised when their daughters put their lessons into practice after four radicalizing years at college.
Hence the lack of opposition to increasingly radical feminists (even for the trans agenda and Drag Queen Story Hour at libraries).
What might change this balance of power? My guess: it would require a new religion (or revival of an old one, options which often blur together) – or a new ideology. Either path might result in America going back to a future where women face severe constraints on their reproduction. Perhaps church, State, family, or public opinion will force women to marry only in marriage or some other formal bond with a man. Contraceptives and abortion might be rigorously regulated. Perhaps even fertility will be regulated, limited to those deemed worthy of producing the next generation.
Again, who can say what might happen?
Our society would be considered almost impossible to the people of 1950. Imagine similarly large and unexpected changes in our society. Considering radical scenarios like those given here can help us – because breaking free of our destructive trends will require equally large changes. We have to not only expect the unexpected but make the unexpected.
Update: about responses to this challenge
ALL of the responses so far here and on social media have been about changes in tech or doomster stories (eg, climate apocalypse, economic collapse) – none of which explain why it happens (these dooms just happen). I tweaked the challenge at the beginning to make it clearer, but that made no difference.
It appears that Americans can no longer even imagine social change – a world with rules and morals different than our own. Perhaps this results from watching all those costumed historical dramas in which the people are just like us – instead of the aliens they were. My favorite example: A Knight’s Tale. It has audiences at tournaments doing “the wave”, and a young woman who is a genius inventor blacksmith.
We’ve lost sight of the past, which limits our vision of possible futures.
For More information
If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about women and gender issues, about marriage, about fourth-wave feminism, about steps to political reform, and especially these…
- We have forgotten who we are. Let’s remember, and win.
- Can we organize the political reform of America? Our past shows how.
- Men standing together can end the gender wars.
- Speculation: A surprise end to the gender wars: men stand together.
- Will African-American men break open the gender wars?
About two men who helped us change to better paths
John Adams by David McCullough.
American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham.