Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Blog Feature: Uncomfortable Thoughts

In my post 'Can You Think?' http://rantsand.blogspot.com/2006/10/can-you-think.html

I asked the question:

How often have you, after examining the evidence reached a conclusion that was uncomfortable, unsettling or profoundly disturbing to you, i.e. reached a conclusion that you did not like?

We all have them, thoughts or speculations, that we'd rather not own up to in public. For the reason that we don't care to get labeled as holding an opinion that is only an expression of our darkest fears, not a firm conclusion. And perhaps because the idea is not yet fully fleshed-out in our minds. Or maybe because it's just a "What if...?" that we find disturbing.

Thomas Sowell went through this recently when he said in one of his Random Thoughts columns that he sometimes feared that our political processes had become so corrupt that the only thing that would save our country might be a military coup.

Of course, immediately bloggers who didn't like him said, "Thomas Sowell wants a military coup!"

We all know that there are things you can't say in America these days. And you all know what they are too. The career-wrecking things, the things that get you fired - or sued, if you say them at work. (Consider the recent furor over James Watson.)

And folks, every time I've made that observation in front of an audience I get heads nodding all around the room.

Yes, there are people who say them. Some have tenure, some may have "f^&* you" money (NOT a high salary, I mean the kind of money, free and liquid, that allows you to say "F^&* you" to the world) and some may have the right complexion or ethnicity to say certain things.

(Then there's Fred Reed who speaks his mind and damn the consequences - from Mexico. http://www.fredoneverything.net/)

So I'm introducing this new blog feature, Uncomfortable Thoughts wherein I'm going to indulge some speculations about notions that I only wonder if they may be true, partly true, or even not very likely but give me cold sweats when I think they might be true.

Am I going to give free reign to my thoughts and speculations?

In a word - no man, I got a family.

Yes I'm going to be cautious. I am aiming at an academic career after all.

What I'm going to do is to issue this disclaimer:

These are not firm opinions or ideology, these are speculations. I believe it is sometimes necessary to consider the unthinkable because if we don't consider them now, certain things may become inevitable.

The good news is that perhaps if we do consider the worst that can happen, they may turn out to be what David Brin calls "self-preventing prophecies."

Some things I have in mind for future posts:

What if establishing a real American Empire is our only realistic choice?

What if "democracy" really doesn't work and aristocracy or benign dictatorship is the only thing that will be stable and safe in the future?

What if the most likely consequence of industrial civilization is to destroy itself?

White guys, what if there really is a "superior" race - and it ain't us?

What if genetic engineering can produce a truly superior race, in fact a true "master race"?

What if we've reached the limits of (at least easy) scientific and technological progress and the future holds a downward-sloping asymptotic curve of progress?

Atheists, what if it turns out that though a few of us can function with teleological ethics, the vast majority of the human race really needs religious myth to function as moral actors?

And yes, Dr. Sowell, what if there really does come a time when a military coup is the only thing that will save America?


  • At 1:16 PM, Blogger schaffman said…

    What if the only way that Israel can survive is by annihilating the Palestinians as a people?

  • At 2:43 PM, Blogger stpeter said…

    Great idea, Steve. My first installment is here:



  • At 7:57 PM, Blogger Joseph Sixpack said…

    What if the only way for the Republican Party to stop the Democrat Party from perpetual dominance is to pander to illegal immigrants flowing across the Mexican border and compete for their votes?

    No Republican congress critter will say this, but I think that many are beginning to realize that this may become a question that they need to seriously consider within the next 10 years.


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