A useful question to ponder periodically is what mainstream beliefs today will seem horrifying to our descendants. Throughout modernity, the answer has never been “none” and, indeed, wholesale social change often happens impressively quickly
. If you’re interested in this question, I highly recommend this conversation
between libertarian economist Tyler Cowen and (very) left-wing Oxford philosopher Amia Srinivasan (see also TiB 13
). It’s the most striking podcast episode I’ve listened to for some time: two intellectuals at the top of their games whose world views and foundational assumptions are so different to be at the very limits of mutual comprehension.
Once you’ve listened, it’s worth reading Cowen’s commentary here
and especially here
- and even breaking the golden rule and reading the comments (Puzzlingly, Marginal Revolution
is perhaps the world’s best blog, but has the worst comments section). I’ve sent this episode to numerous people and it seems to function as an ideological Rorschach test. I suspect that most TiB readers will be somewhat more sympathetic to Cowen than to Srinivasan (as am I), but I also suspect that Srinivasan is more likely to end up on “the right side of history”.