I am about 300 pages away from finishing Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, which I am enjoying but which is also very very long. I went to a Stephenson talk when the first book came out and was very unimpressed. This interview is much much better. In particular, I was interested in this:
Speaking as an observer who has many friends with libertarian instincts, I would point out that terrorism is a much more formidable opponent of political liberty than government. Government acts almost as a recruiting station for libertarians. Anyone who pays taxes or has to fill out government paperwork develops libertarian impulses almost as a knee-jerk reaction. But terrorism acts as a recruiting station for statists. So it looks to me as though we are headed for a triangular system in which libertarians and statists and terrorists interact with each other in a way that I’m afraid might turn out to be quite stable.The current alliance between the Political Left and Fascist Islam has also converted the Political Right to become the party of government. I don't beleive that this, or very much, is driven by anything ideological. When a left-wing, feminist, human-rights lawyer starts aiding a fascist Muslim in conducting suicide bombings and kidnapping Philipino children, it's clear that this isn't about ideology, it's about sides. If 9/11 had happened on Gore's watch, the Democrats would be the party at war against terror and Republicans would become the isolationist nay-sayers finding common cause with their fascist bretheren.