Wednesday, December 08, 2004

David Brin

I like David Brin. I think he's a smart guy with many good and interesting ideas about the future. He also strikes me as being a smart small "l" libertarian with plenty of compassion for why perfectly smart, regular people hanker for certain flavors of illiberalism. I think he demonstrates this really well when he, reasonably, points out that Lord of the Rings is a pretty illiberal fantasy but still understanding why people (including him) dig it.

Like Virginia Postrel, he understands that "left/right" is not a useful distinction to understand much of politics and instead ops for "enemies of the future/friends of the future". He rights (at length) about that in his essay, The Real Culture Wars.

Bizarrely, he then claims that Bush, and his "democracy at the point of a gun" strategy in the Middle East somehow reflects a fight against the future, while presumably the more Kerry-esque "return to the UN, go back to our traditional allies, back regional strongmen for stability just like we used to" is more future forward.

I think this is just bizarre. You may agree or disagree with what Bush is doing, but it seems a radical departure from the policies (such as they were) of pretty much every US administration before him, as well as a radical departure from the standard policy of other foreign countries in Arabia (prop up the local Sheikh, sell him stuff). To call this frenetic history making a fight to keep things as they were beggers belief. He has a blog on it, the blog has room for comments, I've commented.

I hope this thoughts on surveillance are clearer than his thoughts on who is fighting for the future, and who is fighting for the status quo.


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