Imagining Future Worlds: Why Intellectuals Always Get it Wrong

Why Intellectuals Can’t Think

  1. Most Intellectuals Possess No Practical Skills

    Because most intellectuals are unable to think or act in practical terms, their future imaginings take on the trappings of all they have been told going back to university — without the useful checks and balances of practical experience in real world settings.

  2. Most Intellectuals Have no Friends or Close Acquaintances with Practical Skills

    Lacking any intimate knowledge of how practical persons behave under various circumstances, intellectuals tend to imagine themselves and their likewise ineffectual friends attempting to deal with various difficulties and opportunities, instead of real people with practical resources.

  3. Most Intellectuals are Reluctant to Part Ways with the Herd

    You can think of the “herd mentality” as politically correct thinking, groupthink, hive thought, or by any similar designation. The fact remains that intellectuals tend to become “branded” into a herd while at university. Few of them have the personal wherewithal to ever break away.

  4. Intellectuals Almost Always Specialise

    Intellectuals typically gain credence by becoming “experts” within a particular area. In fact, most advanced societies reward specialisation for all professions and vocations.

    Unfortunately, specialists find it difficult to see clearly outside of their own limited fields of “expertise.” This is true both for those with practical skills as well as those without them.

An intimate acquaintance with history can help an intellectual to transcend some of his more practical limitations, but the “herd mentality” is almost impossible for most to escape.

United States of North America

United States of North America


As an example, take a quick look at Diane Francis’ idea to merge the US and Canada into a single country.

“I think we are already merging,” she said at Wednesday’s debate. “We should just get on with it and take away the border. My solution to fixing the border problem is just to get rid of it.”

The idea of a partial or total US-Canada merger has been proposed for hundreds of years now, but the problems always seem to outweigh the advantages. It should be pointed out that Diane Francis has dual US-Canadian citizenship herself, which gives her a small measure of neutrality in the debate she is trying to instigate.

Slow Motion Annexation

The manifest impracticality of merging the US with Canada — as one going concern — does not rule out the possibility that one province or group of provinces might choose to withdraw from Canada, and be annexed to the US. Alberta and the Maritimes have been discussed in this regard, but it is Alberta that is becoming the hot potato in this regard, lately. Why?

Right now, every man, woman and child in Alberta pay $6,000 more into the national budget than they get back. Alberta is the only province that is a net contributor to that budget — by 2020, the number will exceed $20,000 per person, $40,000 per taxpayer. That will be the greatest wealth transfer in per capita terms in the Western world. The only other place we see things like that is in Saudi Arabia, where the oil-producing regions subsidize the rest of the country.

… Alberta as an independent country doesn’t solve a huge number of problems. If it left Canada, its currency goes through the roof because all it has is oil exports, and that would drive agriculture out of business. It would be a one-horse economy in a very short time.

Seceding to the U.S. becomes the only political and economic option. If you do that, the inflation issue goes away, the tax problem goes away, the security problem goes away. Alberta gets everything it says it wants out of Canada within the first year of joining the U.S.

… Because secession is legal, Albertans are going to have to think about this — that doesn’t mean they will seriously consider it. But a $40,000 per taxpayer bill every year, that’s a bit of a motivator. __ http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/why-leaving-canada-makes-sense-for-alberta-and-u-s-would-likely-welcome-a-new-state

Canada’s inter-provincial budget disputes will grow more bitter

Forecasting the Future is About Scenarios

The following future-scenario excerpts come from Daniel Greenfield, an Israel-born author currently living in NYC.

Russia will not stop with Ukraine and NATO will dissolve, officially or unofficially. It may stay around and limit itself to providing humanitarian aid internationally while expelling Poland and any countries that Russia is likely to want to add to its collection. More likely it will be replaced by some European Union entity that officially performs the same function, but unofficially does little except provide troops for UN peacekeeping operations.

The budding Russian empire will find that fighting a new wave of Muslim insurgencies in formerly peaceful republics will consume too much of its time and energy. The soldiers who will march on the scattered pieces of the old red empire will be Muslims and the Eurasian Union will become a Muslim empire with a handful of churches. Like Rome, its fall will come at the hands of its own barbarians.

… The United States will face escalating domestic unrest, less from militias than from gangs, terrorism and the economic collapse of entire cities. It will no longer be in a position to act abroad.

… Europe suffers from Japanese birth rates, Russian demographics, Chinese corruption and American economics (though it would be more accurate to say that America suffers from EU economics.) Despite its size and population, Europe does not have an optimistic future.

… There is little to unify Russia or China except greedy oligarchies playing at nationalism. It’s an unconvincing nationalism because the sons and daughters of their elites spend more time abroad than at home and sometimes even hold American citizenship. The KGB oligarchs of Russia and the Communist princes of China are as globalist as any Eurocrat. They have few national commitments. Their goals are wealth and power for their families and associates. __ Much more at: http://sultanknish.blogspot.se/2014/03/the-shape-of-post-american-world.html

Greenfield’s priorities largely begin and end with the dangers to the world from Islam. But the piece above also discusses what may happen after the end of Pax Americana. Not surprisingly, the end of his scenario is the triumph of Islam.

I chose the above future scenario because it is more practical than most scenarios painted by intellectuals, but it fails to confront the chaotic dynamics of humans thrown into the pressure cooker of geopolitical whimsy.

Intellectuals too often confuse “processes” with “events.” They fall back upon concepts of “straight line rises” and “straight line falls” of civilisations and cultures, when such things are almost never so simple.

The collapse of the US is — of course — imminent

It has always been imminent. Such a collapse has been predicted since before the founding of the independence of the colonies. This collapse is recycled by generation after generation — in fact it is recycled multiple times within each generation. It is the type of event process that would have immense global ramifications, and thus presents itself as a “strong attractor” to most intellectuals.

So far, the US remains The Accidental Superpower. Nothing lasts forever, of course, but it is best to watch and consider the things that seem to be by the evidence, rather than to obsess over how we wish things were, as many herd-thinking intellectuals clearly do.

The Future Will Not be Nice, Neat, or Uniform

Kaplan was right when he predicted The Coming Anarchy, over 20 years ago — at least in terms of Africa and the Islamic worlds. Now Kaplan is warning that in case of the collapse of Russia and China, the coming anarchy could become much, much worse.

This latest prediction is as obvious as it is true. Multi-ethnic empires such as Russia and China that are held together by force, are inherently unstable. When they inevitably fall, much disorder is inevitable.

But one cannot state confidently that “the US will fall,” “Europe will fall,” “Russia will collapse completely,” or “China will disappear totally.” There will be remnants of the US, Europe, Russia, and China that will survive most of the likely onslaughts likely to hit the various regions and powers.

Islam may “triumph” in a Pyrrhic manner over much of modern day Russia, China, Europe, and parts of the Anglosphere and Latin America. But how long would such devastating “triumphs” last?

To Understand the Future, One Must Understand Human Nature, Genetics and Disruptive Technologies

In a world of innovation and disruptive technologies that incorporates the genetic engineering of the human genome, whatever one believes about present trends is likely to be proven wrong by subsequent events processes.

New drugs and technologies seem to take forever to be adopted, in today’s world of massive bureaucracy, regulation, vested interests, ubiquitous lawsuits, and short attention – span perpetually adolescent psychological neotenates.

But when the enhanced humans ARE the “disruptive technologies” themselves, change does not take so long at all. And when large central bureaucracies lose the power to extend their reach over some of the more prolific regions of innovation, other innovations may leap from the drawing board to reality with unbelievable speed.

It is impossible to say how far any particular region will travel down the road of dysgenic Idiocracy and coming anarchy. But location has to count for something.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.

Remember: Dangerous Children preserve crucial skills and technologies as well as practising them. Dangerous Children help form Dangerous Communities, which in turn help form networked trade alliances that can provide a regional resilience in difficult times.

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2 Responses to Imagining Future Worlds: Why Intellectuals Always Get it Wrong

  1. John says:

    Just one of those things that always bothers me, is if you have a strong currency that you are in bad shape, I know that was not your writing but written just the same, maybe Alberta wants protection by joining the US but they are not better off joining just to give away money and keep their currency down.

    • alfin2101 says:

      You certainly have a point. Within a certain range, a strong currency is useful, and attracts outside investment for new enterprises.

      At this time, Alberta has minimal motivation to leave Canada and either be independent, or join the US. But with changing economic and political circumstances, motivations tend to change — both qualitatively and quantitatively.

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