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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I’ve Seen the Future and It Is…Safe? by Bill Willingham

This links to a rather good article by Bill Willingham (author of the Fables series of comics or as the literati style it - the Fables series of Graphic Novels, available at good bookstores). His theme is that the reason there is a reason why we don't have most of the things that Dan Dare promised us (flying cars, Moonbases, Atomic spaceships) even though we have some things on which we are actually ahead of the promised curve (colour TV, mobile phones, internet).

“It’s not the future until we have jetpacks and flying cars. They promised us jetpacks and flying cars! Where are they?” And I realized there’s no escaping this question, either from Chris or any of a myriad other sources. The future isn’t allowed to be here until we have our jetpacks and flying cars. And that’s just the minimum. Space stations, moon cities and personal household robots are also to be desired for a fully functioning future.

... I pondered, and then despaired when a terrible realization hit me. We are in the future, Chris. We got our jetpacks and flying cars. We’ve had them for years.

...We don’t have them because we rejected them. We collectively said, and continue to say, “No thanks.”

And why is that?

Because they’re not safe.

Sure, they’re safer than the first airplanes were in their infancy

I disagree on 2 points but neither are material to his conclusion that we could & should have the future we were promised. The smaller one is that there is a genuine traffic control problem with flying cars, but it is a soluble one on which I have written before.

My bigger disagreement is that it is not us who have decided that we want to be scared of everything but that it is our parasitic government who has given itself a mission to protect us from life. Government has a vast amount of our money to spend & has to find some excuse for doing so which is why government funded quangos & fakecharities are always trying to stir up a scare story on something irrespective of there being no actual evidence (global warming, GM food, food colouring) That the primary objective is to give government an excuse to spend money is that in things for which government is really responsible (MRSA in hospitals, hypothermia due to fuel poverty, the 70 million the DDT ban killed) it does not act to prevent death - indeed the opposite - it is having government involvement, not whether it kills or cures that matters. Another example of this is in housing where, yet again, we have long had the technical capability, as Heinlein said, to provide unlimited good, cheap modular housing but purely because of government parasitism we don't get it, so clearly it isn't purely or even primarily a safety issue.

Indeed look at how individuals behave. Richard Branson is always flying round the world in a condom, skiing is as popular as ever, bungee jumping moreso & teenage kids still motorcycle. It is not individuals who don't want adventure but government which gains power through claiming it alone can protect us from dangers & no longer has the USSR to threaten us with now has to make do with protecting us from all the "dangers" of progress, real or more often imaginary.

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