About What Am I Optimistic and Pessimistic?
By Bryan Caplan
Here‘s Tyler’s list. Here’s mine:
1. I am a pessimist about the likelihood of making democracy work better than it does. We can push the world in a better direction (as Bob Tollison says, “We’re all part of the equilibrium”), but economic illiteracy and general mush-headedness will continue to plague mankind indefinitely.
2. I am a pessimist about our overall intellectual culture. “Leading thinkers” will continue to be insipid, conventional, boring, obscurantist, and/or wrong. Rational, high-IQ people will continue to be siphoned away from the path of common sense by the errors of materialism, determinism, and moral skepticism.
3. I am a pessimist about our overall political culture. Social democracy and nationalism will continue to plague mankind indefinitely.
4. I am a pessimist about life extension. The only path to centuries of healthy life (as opposed to mere simulation) is probably genetically engineering embryos – and it’s too late for me and everyone I care about.
5. I am an optimist about world economic growth. In a hundred years absolute poverty will be gone, and marvels and wonders that Bill Gates lacks will be common.
6. I am an optimist about dictatorship. In a hundred years, dictatorship will be gone. And yes, democracy is a lot less bad.
7. I am an optimist about peace. In a hundred years, a major war on earth will be an unthinkable as a major war in Europe is today. There will be no major nuclear exchange or world war along the way.
8. I am an optimist about China. In thirty years China will be democratic, rich, and peaceful.
9. I am an optimist about the best intellectual and political culture. The Masonomic vision will not become dominant, but it will be a vibrant, self-sustaining intellectual and political counter-culture.
10. More generally, I am an optimist about the best life people can lead if they so choose. Thirty years ago, you had to be a hermit to secede from the evils of the world. Thanks to the Internet and related marvels, I now reside in the real world but live in an Epicurean garden. I share my favorite books and games with my many children. I have exciting conversations with brilliant minds every day. I enjoy the best culture in the world, and killfile the rest. As time goes on, this upper tail will keep getting better – and almost anyone who wants to partake will be able to do so cheaply and conveniently.