Saturday, May 7, 2022

Enlightenment Now!

Alex Tabborock opines I hate paper straws:
There is a wing of the environmental movement that wants to punish consumerism, individualism, and America more than they want to solve environmental problems so they see an innovation agenda as a kind of cheating. Retribution is the goal of their practice.
If you find yourself drawn to the weird atavistic sensibility to get back to the land (which would dramatically increase our carbon footprint--remember density is green), or unplug and return to a simpler (read dirtier, riskier, less interesting) golden past, don't. Instead read Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.
In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In 75 jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing. 
...Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation.

And as if to prove this point, The Atlantic shows up:

...the Enlightenment emphasis on the autonomous, rational individual can also lead to alienation and isolation, which make tribalist mythology all the more appealing.

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