I’m very diffident towards values, any kind of. Because you know, values can be very dangerous. And as the poem of Yeats says, the passionate intensity in believing in something can be very dangerous.
Archive (Page 2 of 3)
Modern Western societies are not organisms that thrive or perish as one thing, one mind, one experience. They are compacts, based on the expectation that those charged with responsibilities will carry them out in good faith, and crucially that those who are relatively powerful will not seriously abuse, exploit, or simply neglect those who are relatively vulnerable.
There is this very bizarre alliance between world-changing geeks on the one hand and policymakers who only care about outcomes. They no longer care about how those outcomes are arrived at. They have stripped politics of all meaning. All they want is to get people to do the right thing. They don’t care why they do it.
The 20th century was created by idealism. Communism and fascism and Nazism are all based on idealized systems, what the world should be ideally, and how it isn’t what it should be, and therefore we’re entitled to change it radically and take control of it in order to do so.
For most people on an individual level most the time, their future still feels very different from that of other people. We live in a world, for example, of enormous income inequality, right. So even though there is a global economy, it certainly doesn’t feel like one’s sort of day-to-day fate or destiny is linked to those of people around the world, even if it is in very invisible kinds of ways.
I don’t think that anything will save the world in the sense of bringing Utopia to Earth. But I think the world could be improved, and that would be the version of the question that I’m very much interested in.
We have already changed the world a lot, not always for the better. Some of it’s for the better, as far as we human beings are concerned. But every time we invent a new technology, we like to play with that technology, and we don’t always foresee the consequences.
One of the problems here, of course, is that there’s no “we.” Who’s we? I mean, humanity’s composed—the human species is composed—of billions of separate individuals with different goals, different plans, different values, and different ideals.
There are many changes to our institutions and our norms and our ideas that can reduce or eliminate the risks of nuclear war without what I consider a rather quixotic attempt to change the course of human evolution.
I don’t think we’ve had anybody quite like Donald Trump before, in terms of the politics of celebrity, which is what I think he’s really about. It’s not simply that he’s rich. We’ve had rich people in politics before. He’s not simply a businessman. We’ve had businessmen in politics before.