You hear about the Marketplace of Ideas and it goes something like this: A free exchange of ideas will showcase a lot of thought options for you to choose from, and everybody wins. It’s the rationale behind the First Amendment, you know the Amendment that isn’t about firearms being everywhere.
This Marketplace of Ideas, however, has been offering a smaller and smaller selection of goods. In the Big-Ticket Aisle, for example, there is only one idea left on offer. Lightly-fettered Capitalism. You know, the End of History. True, the rest of the world is unaccountably resistant to this Idea, and thus apparently endless wars, large and small will be our fate as we await their conversion. But here at home it’s all Lightly-fettered Capitalism, all the time, take it or leave it. I actually will take it, but I keep asking for a little extra fetter on mine. But no. You can have any fetter you want, as long as it is light, (the opposite of the marketing slogan of the Model T car color). The Marketplace of Ideas has become the Marketplace of ONE Idea, a tautology best rendered as The Marketplace of: the Marketplace.
All that is left in all the other aisles are a hundred versions of self-help. Lean In! Stretch out! Bend over!
What I don’t see anywhere is a Marketplace of Ideals. I don’t see very much in the way of vision about what kind of civilization we would like to create and live in. I hate to think it might be because after people get a residence and some stuff and some screens, that’s all they want. I’d like more. Sure there’s still religion, but religions still spend too much of their time trying to persuade me that certain things happened in history that I’m pretty sure didn’t happen. Hard for me to build much on a foundation like that.
So I’ll mention my own ideal, once again, just cuz I want to, at a special low low introductory price, free. New Arcadia. Harnessing the pending economic power of smart robots to do all the unpleasant work, restoring the goal of more creative leisure time, time which would be devoted to arts, and making the world a more beautiful place, and included in that, restoring the shattered wreckage of global ecosystems. Tell me what you’ve got that’s better.