Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

Go to first entry



<< current
E-mail address:
jhertzli AT ix DOT netcom DOT com

My Earthlink/Netcom Site

My Tweets

My other blogs
Small Sample Watch
XBM Graphics

The Former Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse:
Someone who used to be sane (formerly War)
Someone who used to be serious (formerly Plague)
Rally 'round the President (formerly Famine)
Dr. Yes (formerly Death)

Interesting weblogs:
Back Off Government!
Bad Science
Boing Boing
Debunkers Discussion Forum
Deep Space Bombardment
Depleted Cranium
Dr. Boli’s Celebrated Magazine.
Foreign Dispatches
Good Math, Bad Math
Greenie Watch
The Hand Of Munger
Howard Lovy's NanoBot
Liberty's Torch
The Long View
My sister's blog
Neo Warmonger
Next Big Future
Out of Step Jew
Overcoming Bias
The Passing Parade
Peter Watts Newscrawl
Physics Geek
Pictures of Math
Poor Medical Student
Prolifeguy's take
The Raving Theist
Respectful Insolence
Seriously Science
Slate Star Codex
The Speculist
The Technoptimist
Tools of Renewal
XBM Graphics
Zoe Brain

Other interesting web sites:
Aspies For Freedom
Crank Dot Net
Day By Day
Dihydrogen Monoxide - DHMO Homepage
Jewish Pro-Life Foundation
Libertarians for Life
The Mad Revisionist
Piled Higher and Deeper
Science, Pseudoscience, and Irrationalism
Sustainability of Human Progress

Yet another weird SF fan

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reverse Counterfactuals

Mencius Moldbug has speculated:

If we want to get really imaginative, we can imagine what I call a "reverse counterfactual." First, imagine that the military dice had fallen otherwise and the American Rebellion was suppressed. Second, perform the standard counterfactual exercise of imagining what an intact British Empire would look like in 2009. Third, imagine the counterfactual universe invents some device that can send invisible observers into our 2009, and make a documentary for the edification of the Imperial audience - showing this awful alternate 2009, in which the Massachusetts disturbances of the 1770s were not quashed with firm, manly vigour.
Let's consider what those documentaries would have said at various times in the past:
  • 1860: The American Republic has failed and is breaking up into its constituent parts.
  • 1933 or 1971: The economic system encouraged by the notorious Whig Adam Smith has failed and is being replaced by an economy guided by the better class of people.
  • 1980: The currency of the American Republic is becoming worthless; it is under the threat of nuclear annihilation by people who have taken revolutionary rhetoric even further than they have; most of the young people can make their lives tolerable only with euphoriant chemicals; and the American habit of allowing the lower classes to be armed has produced a crime epidemic.
  • Last summer: Adam Smith's America is sending its wealth overseas to economic systems run by a land-owning nobility because of its attachment to the idea that the lower classes have some kind of right to move pointlessly from place to place.
It's easy to come up with a reverse counterfactual documentary. It's less easy to explain why today's reverse counterfactual should be taken any more seriously than a past counterfactual.


Post a Comment

<< Home

My Blogger Profile
eXTReMe Tracker X-treme Tracker

Site Meter
The Atom Feed This page is powered by Blogger.