But I worry, too. Don’t you? It seems as if the engine has dropped out of our civilization. Or the oil pan broke and motor seized. Just as under Obama, so under Trump our most successful technology companies sit on oceans of ready cash. These supposed geniuses are signaling that they are out of business ideas. Out of talent to hire. Unable to see new opportunities.
Our artists, futurists, and intellectuals have lost faith in the future. Every vision of the future they conjure is dystopian: Private life is destroyed by technology. Much of humanity is rendered redundant and will have to be made wards of the successful. The family itself, robbed of its economic functions, will continue to disaggregate.
All people of even passing intelligence tell me they feel this nameless dread. And yet, it’s the same kind of dread we’ve known for some time. You could almost grow fond of it. Yesterday American troops were killing in Yemen, American addicts were dying in St. Louis, and American data were being leaked by Ashley Madison. Today we’re killing in Niger, people are dying in Putnam County, N.Y., and Equifax is leaking. Tomorrow it will be Iran, Greenwich, Conn., and Google. All the while Justice Kennedy will tell you what existence and morality mean now, while the rich get richer and retreat to even more obscure mountains for “ideas conferences.” Have you got a better idea?