Friday 23 June 2023

The Future by Stefan Molyneux

I have already read the prequel called The Present, see: I'm not sure what the word is for a book written before the prequel, but to which it is its sequel; but I planned to read it. It's called The Future and it is what Stefan Molyneux calls "my Atlas Shrugged", the culmination of all his fifty-five years of thought. It is a science fiction philosophical novel set about six hundred years in the future. Most of the world's population live in a society known as "the Sieve" (I found out later this was actually "Civ", short for civilization, but by then the homophone had stuck in my mind. One of the drawbacks of audiobooks). This is a Molyueusian paradise which arose out of what they called "the cataclysms", the collapse of society described in The Present. There is a scene where David, one of the residents of the Sieve, is reading a diary by a woman that reminds me of a few of the characters in The Present. Everybody practices the non-aggression principle, universally preferable behaviour, peaceful parenting and respect for property rights etc. All law is dealt with by dispute resolution organizations. This has allowed technology to advance to a point where there are AI robots that do all the work, although some people still work by choice; farming by hand the old fashioned way etc. It is very like Brave New World, along with the savages. A number of people have been cast out of the Sieve for committing crimes for which they refuse to make restitution. They live simple hunter-gather lives in the woods and mountains beyond the cities. One group of them is led by a charismatic man called Roman who comes into contact with some of the residents of the Sieve and ends up being given a tour of the society by a man called David. He shows them a nursing home where there is an old woman with two sons. There is a long scene where she and her sons discuss with David the fact she abused her two boys. Because David is part of her DRO, he is trying to redeem the situation with proper restitution. I wonder if this is an allegory of Stefan's own childhood because he often describes how his own mother was violent to him as a child. There is a debate among the DRO's about what to do with Roman's children and the other children of his tribe. In this primitive society, they practice the regular beating and humiliation of their own sons and daughters. David decides to dust off a method they used to create the Sieve in the first place. They have invented flying robots that look like cherubs who follow people around everywhere and shoot arrows at them that give them painful electric shocks if they don't practice peaceful parenting. This is the central theme of The Future. Stef has often stated that the biggest problem facing planet earth, and indeed which is the root cause of all destruction wrought by civilisation, is child abuse. Treat children well and you create a utopia, treat them badly and you create a dystopia; it's that simple. I sense this story is a kind of justice fantasy for Stefan; which I understand seeing as I have those too, see:
Running parallel to this plot is a second storyline, although David appears in it briefly, and I also see this as a justice fantasy. A man who died in the 21st century was put into cryonic storage (see here for details: and is revived in the Sieve in the current time. He is a former US president called Lewis Staten, perfect name! He is put on trial for abusing his son Jake, who was also cryonically preserved. At one point Lewis struck his son's head repeatedly against a doorframe. Jake himself if also on trial for committing censorship because he ran a social media company that attacked free speech. This is exactly what Stefan would like to see, wrongs being made right. The trial is described at the end of the book and occupies all the last few chapters. We've seen this structure with Ayn Rand and the trial of Howard Roark. Stef plays a great devil's advocate in his defence of Lewis and much of it is a first person narration by Lewis, although he has a solicitor called Cornelius. I really enjoyed this story, more so than The Present. Stefan has stated that he wants to write a sequel to The Present and prequel to The Future set between them in time. I don't think there's a word for that kind of publication, but knowing Stefan's unimaginative choice of titles, I expect it will be called The Near-Future. You can listen to The Future audiobook here:
See here for background:

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