A stable dystopia

A dystopia is not a place that is threatened by genuine chaos — quite the opposite. It’s a moral horror because it actually stabilizes around evil things. The thing that was horrifying about Brave New World or 1984 was precisely that there could be no real challenge to an evil system. Indeed, most of the people living in those worlds do not see anything wrong with them, and accept them — compounding the horror further.

… I’m tempted to think that an ideology this blind to reality cannot succeed. But I’m chastened by the example of societies that are built on pretty terrible foundations that are nonetheless stable. China and North Korea both come to mind.

… [A]s an opponent of progressivism the Trump movement has utterly failed, in my opinion. Progressivism shows no signs of abating or losing steam …

I think the real, most urgent task is to understand what has changed, fundamentally, about the society we live in. Call it a post-industrial capitalist society — I can’t think of anything better. I think we’re only starting to find out what such a society really looks like. We still need to achieve a factual understanding of how this kind of society works, and to develop a really rigorous theory of whether or not it can be stable. I don’t see that anyone has achieved this yet. That’s the discussion I want to have. Then we can actually talk about how to prepare for, or exploit, its crisis tendencies.

Reader Jones (via Rod Dreher)

I’m not as sure as is Reader Jones that we’re becoming a stable progressive dystopia. (The preceding sentence is understated.)

But I think the label “post-industrial capitalist society” is fairly apt, inasmuch as capitalism-as-we’ve-known-it has dissolved civil-society-as-we’ve-known-it. And I find it arresting to think that our current polarized major party bases might resolve to some sort of stable dystopia, presumably with one side or the other zestfully suppressed.

Finally, I see little prospect that the resolution will be anything I would recognize as conservative or Christian.

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