LATELY — 22 May 2009

What beliefs will horrify future generations?

On Reddit eliot2000 asked: “So many of our grand­par­ents were racist, and some of our parents are homophobes. Which of our own closely held beliefs will our own chil­dren and grand­chil­dren by ap­palled by?” Phil Dhingra collected some responses:

  • That drugs were illegal
  • Eating meat
  • Privacy
  • Our lack of racism
  • Re­li­gious overtolerance
  • Monogamy (or anti-polygamy)
  • Na­tion­al­ism
  • Nudity and Pornog­ra­phy taboos
  • Charg­ing money for in­for­ma­tion
  • Rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­racy over direct democ­racy
  • Our aver­sion to eu­gen­ics or de­signer babies
  • Im­pris­on­ment vs. re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion

Some thoughts:

  • eating meat - I think this will be dif­fi­cult to score because we’ll prob­a­bly mostly be eating artificial meat. (It will be cheaper, more en­vi­ron­men­tally responsible, health­ier and cleaner.) My guess is that some people will still eat “real meat” for various reasons (prefer taste, can afford it, con­nec­tion with the past, squea­mish about the ar­ti­fi­cial stuff), but that there won’t be much outrage about this because so few people will be doing it.
  • charging for information - I very much doubt they would find this appalling. It’s quite likely that we won’t pay for in­for­ma­tion in the same way that we do now, but I think future gen­er­a­tions would see why things now are arranged the way they are. (Historical reasons, because it’s pos­si­ble to.)
  • attitude toward the poor - This is one thing we could be doing much more about, but aren’t. I reckon we’ll get smacked by future gen­er­a­tions for this.