“The Power of Voice: How Speaking Up Can Spark a Revolution”


In his book, The Conservative Futurist: How to Create the Sci-Fi World We Were Promised, James Pethokoukis explores various concepts within the framework of a central theme – the indispensability of economic growth. The book offers several commendable aspects. Firstly, it presents a valid argument. Pethokoukis, an esteemed fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, reexamines America’s post-World War II belief in limitless technological possibilities, which was fueled by remarkable economic prosperity. In , the United States accounted for approximately percent of global manufacturing output.

that period of economic expansion brought about a wave of optimism among the American public. However, subsequently emerged the phenomenon known as the Great Downshift, a term coined by Pethokoukis to describe the persistent decline in productivity since the s. Pethokoukis skillfully traces the roots of present-day challenges back to this downturn and thoroughly investigates the primary contributors, which range from a dearth of easily exploitable innovations to an influx of regulatory obstacles, all within the context of a broader societal dissatisfaction that molds our thoughts and emotions. Pethokoukis predicts that forthcoming political conflicts will be characterized by the clash between what he terms the Up Wing and the Down Wing.

The societal attitudes, time periods, and even pop culture have all been influenced by various factors. According to the author, the latter half of the s is undoubtedly the most Up Wing period in the collective memory of the majority of Americans. Additionally, Star Trek falls under the category of Up Wing, whereas a large portion of contemporary Hollywood movies lean towards Down Wing. Down Wing entails accepting limitations, and at times even desiring them, with individuals embracing a pessimistic outlook on the future. On the contrary, Up Wing focuses on surpassing boundaries and challenges, encouraging progressivism and innovation. The burden of proof lies upon those who defend the status quo, as Up Wing advocates firmly believe in pushing beyond existing limits. Many of the policies mentioned by Pethokoukis as Up Wing are beneficial, aligning with the policies advocated by my research organization.

Pethokoukis’ associate at the American Enterprise Institute, who shares a similar perspective, proposes that a more intelligent and experimental approach to allocating funds for research and development can result in enhanced productivity gains. Additionally, both public and private sectors should prioritize making cities more affordable, reforming environmental assessment procedures, and enhancing the high-speed rail network wherever feasible. Embracing a Pethokoukian agenda that prioritizes growth and addresses crucial obstacles would greatly contribute to the success of numerous Americans. Nonetheless, the book encounters challenges when attempting to expound on a broader philosophical foundation for Pethokoukis’ standpoint, as suggested by its title.

Pethokoukis, an advocate of the American-style conservative ideology, asserts that being a conservative primarily involves endorsing classical liberalism. This philosophy champions the freedom to select one’s path to happiness, particularly in terms of economic freedom. Purity in conservatism, according to Pethokoukis, is determined by the extent of support for market systems. However, Pethokoukis pays less attention to the significance of safeguarding traditional institutions, non-economic virtues, and conceptions of human nature. Although he clarifies his lack of desire for a world government or an AI deity to venerate, he does applaud aspirations aimed at benefiting humanity.

society. This transformation will eradicate the societal divisions based on race, class, gender, or nationality, creating a harmonious and egalitarian environment. According to the author, the advancements in technology over the last years have played a significant role in enhancing our lives beyond mere existence, as famously described by Thomas Hobbes as solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. The author critically analyzes the viewpoints of influential figures such as William F. Buckley Jr., who stubbornly resists progress by shouting Stop! from the historical standpoint. Furthermore, the author challenges Russell Kirk’s negative perception of the car as a mechanical Jacobin. To strengthen his argument, the author borrows insights from the visionary American futurist Ray Kurzweil, characterized by an unwavering optimism, who suggested that in a post-biological world, humans will possess the ability to alter mortality itself.

Learninng Outcome

In conclusion, while endorsing classical liberalism is a crucial aspect of being a conservative, it is important to acknowledge the broader spectrum of conservative values. Pethokoukis’ emphasis on economic freedom and market systems is undoubtedly pertinent, but it is equally important to consider the preservation of traditional institutions, non-economic virtues, and our understanding of human nature. As we navigate the landscape of conservatism, it is essential to strike a balance between promoting individual freedom and safeguarding the foundations that have shaped our societies. Moreover, by appreciating aspirations that aim to benefit humanity, we can ensure that our conservative principles contribute positively to the world we live in.


Hakan Author

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