Thursday, July 27, 2017

Two Kinds Of California Liberals By ROD DREHER


A reader writes:
I’ve read your blog for a few months and this San Francisco liberal finds himself maddeningly provoked by your writing.
One notable thing about living in northern California in 2017 is that there is a tension, barely concealed, between the technology-will-perfect-everything liberals and the heed-the-warnings-of-mother-earth liberals (who increasingly resemble crunchy cons with slightly different ideas about economics). A broad consensus on social issues and a completely secular public culture out here obscure the fundamentally different views we liberals have about what it means to be human.
Your post about human genetic modification today (http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/dna-dystopia-ye-shall-be-as-gods/) made me think of this tension. I suspect the Silicon Valley set would read about the Oregon experiments and think we are one step closer to the Singularity. The crunchies and I see, instead, the definition of Pandora’s Box.
Scanning through your archives, I haven’t seen you write about the Singularity concept – the idea that humans and machines will merge into a kind of super-supreme intelligence by the middle of this century, and that eternal life, of a sort, will be possible. It’s not coincidental that this (totally insane and nihilistic) idea often attaches to the radical life extension movement (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/04/03/silicon-valleys-quest-to-live-forever). Or to the daffy libertarian politics of the Valley. Might be worth a blog post.
What do I know, though? At a “20-questions” office icebreaker, I was the only one of forty in the room who raised his hand in response to “Who considers themself a member of a religion?” Out here, it’s all mindless technological expansionism, masking an infantile terror of death (or perhaps, of having lived a meaningless life), or self-guided mother earth worship. We shall be as gods indeed.
Even if I rarely fully agree with anything you write, you do seem to find many interesting cracks in my thinking. You would be surprised how much appeal the BenOp idea has for many of us liberals who cling to the quaint notions that God is real and modern man shouldn’t destroy his creation. Thanks for keeping me intellectually un-lazy!
Wow, thank you! That’s really encouraging. You might find my 2006 bookCrunchy Cons worth a look. In it, I talk about an older, more traditional strand of conservatism that takes a far more skeptical view of mindlessly pro-business, pro-technology libertarianism.
Read More: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/two-kinds-of-california-liberals/

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