Optimist or pessimist?

I made a sarcastic comment at Snowflakes in Hell and Bitter came back with this comment:

Joe, you’ve hit upon the next biggest factor making me question kids. Seriously, I don’t know that I want to bring kids into the picture if they are going to live in a mostly government-controlled world. I realize that this country has survived many other changes in the past, and many other generations have survived well enough. But if we’re headed toward the government taking over even larger chunks of the economy, I’m not sure I’d be bringing kids into a better life than I enjoyed. And that just doesn’t seem right.

I understand her point but there is more than one way to view the problem.

Another way to view it is that sort of attitude is creating the problem. See the movie Idiocracy (wonderful premise, good start, but a poor movie overall) for an extreme view of this type of thing taken to the limit.

By tweaking the premise in Idiocracy just a bit one can hypothesis that high reproduction rates by those that believe government should provide “everything for free” will likely result in a cultural, if not genetic, disposition toward more dependency on and expectation of government control of the economy and personal lives. Low reproduction rates by those that believe in and desire freedom will exacerbate the problem. A slightly modified version of this argument is what Barb successfully used on me to convince me to have a third child. That is why we sometimes call Xenia our gift to the world.

But what of the individual? If freedom loving people are but a small minority of the population won’t their lives be miserable? Not necessarily.

It depends on what the outcome is during their lifetime. If it is George Orwell’s 1984 then I would agree with that point. But governments have a history of collapsing. Especially socialist and totalitarian governments. Food shortages, riots, and the break down of infrastructure favor intelligent and freedom loving people. My model of the world is that, ultimately, stupidity is self-correcting. And massive government intervention in the free market and free society is self correcting because it is so stupid. Those people demanding that government supply their every need and want will have higher death rates than those that are self-motivated and value freedom. It may be that within our or our children’s lifetimes the freedom loving minority will become the majority essentially overnight because of the much higher death rates among the anti-freedom people as society collapses. Even if they do not become the majority in actual numbers they may have the majority of power. This is analogous to the U.S. being the world’s sole super-power with just a small minority of the planets population. And that power came about for the same reason that I hypothesize it could happen again in a different context–because freedom creates prosperity and prosperity enables power.

If that comes about then those freedom loving people will be in a position to take over the world. It will be with an anti-freedom lesson extremely fresh in their minds that they form the next governments and economic systems.

I don’t know what will happen. We have never had a situation like this before. In the past there was always someplace new to live. The east coast of North America then migration to California and “The Oregon Territories” provided freedom for millions in the last 300 years. But the “New World” is now occupied by parasites that crave security more than freedom and ensure everyone will receive neither. Where can we move next and escape our oppressors? Antarctica, the ocean floor, and space all appear to be such harsh environments that economic prosperity would be difficult or impossible. This may mean we can do no more than wait for the parasites to starve, riot, and burn themselves out.

I don’t know if freedom has a chance of surviving and rising from the ashes and mankind will finally learn the lesson of why freedom is essential. But I do know that if we do not have children and raise them to value freedom then freedom will most likely be extinguished.

It boils down to “Are you an optimist or a pessimist?” The pessimist is more often right because they can easily fulfill their expectations. The optimist may be wrong more often but progress, prosperity, and happiness are always the products of optimists and never that of pessimists.

Which are you?


13 thoughts on “Optimist or pessimist?

  1. I may use movies, novels, and game stories for inspiration but I’m not so delusional as to believe they can predict how things “really play out”.

  2. I dunno. There are days where I really do think we’re headed for an Idiocracy type of future, and it’s not 500 years away… Good post.

  3. What, the bioshock where the government attempted to control trade, control an monopoly on products, and fought a civilwar with a similar totalitarian control attempt?

  4. Joe, I’ve thought about this side of the argument, too. Since I’m not a woman who loves children, this is actually the argument that most convinces me I should have a child or – as Sebastian has suggested – two. (He’s the oldest of two. I have siblings, but they are so much older that I was raised as an only.) But every once in a while I catch 18 Kids & Counting, and I assume that the Duggars have the whole building a conservative flock thing taken care of for me. 🙂

    Kidding, mostly, but this argument also rings true for me. And if we do end up having kids, considering the idea of raising the next generation of liberty-minded activists would a factor in the decision for me. And that’s not purely selfish. I know how much joy I’ve gotten out of volunteering and trying to make the world a better place. I’d hope I could raise someone who could find joy in everything from advancing freedom to volunteering with foster children to cleaning up the shelves of the local food bank like I have over the years.

  5. If that comes about then those freedom loving people will be in a position to take over the world.

    I see one real problem with this: “freedom loving people” don’t WANT to “take over the world.” They want to be left the hell alone. And there are ALWAYS people who WANT to “take over the world” and they go to where the power is, or they create the power necessary to do so.

    Freedom loving people just don’t organize that way. The U.S. is an especially exceptional anomaly in this, but the seeds of its destruction were sown in its creation because of this fact.

  6. We’re going to make it. If it takes 1 liberty-minded person for every 500 brainwashed statists, we’ll figure it out. Knowing our history is not enough. We need to ingrain it in our children that they must know the hard sciences as well. We’ll do it; we have to. I promise you gentlemen, young Abigail will put this world upon her shoulders if she must. If providence sees that trouble finds itself in my day, America will not be wanting of heroes. They are here. I know many of them. We needn’t worry about the numbers.

    That said, it is the duty of republican (small r) families to raise children — good and numerous. Do your part! Saving the republic will certainly entail sacrifice, and not all of it will be as sexy as riflery(though we’re talking about making babies here; what do you need for sexy?!)

  7. While I agree with The Inconvenience in principle, I do believe he sometimes forgets who exactly has to do the actual baby-producing out of the two of us.



  8. First up, the movie Idiocracy was great, and best serves as a teaching tool for those of us looking to travel the path of least resistance in life. As a reality I’d suspect America as it’s depicted in the film would have long been taken over by a more ambitios nation.

    That being said Joe your argument is a very good one. If we allow all our peers to see nothing but people living off dependance of government, without seeing people who are independant and trully thriving both in the fruits of our labors, but in the pride that we owe our lives to our hard work, and not the labors of others, or the more common sentiment of “Free Money fron Uncle Sugar”.

    Leading by example can be one of the best teaching tools out there.

  9. We need to have manpower – people who will fight and rebel. Who else will save California after the rich but worthless Trust-Funders who enacted all this stupid eco- legislation to protect their own hillside and ocean views are finally dead and gone? Maybe in the end it will be the Mexicans if nobody else will do the job.

  10. I’m an optimist. To the core.

    But unfortunately I have a lot of acquired pessimism based on observation of The Way Things Work In Real Life. And it’s not just an engineering thing.

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