Friday, September 23, 2005

The Jetsons Seen as Libertarian Commentary

OK, it's not quite that bad, but at Lew Rockwell, Jeffrey Tucker looks at one of my favorite cartoon shows as an idealised libertarian community.
In the Jetsons' world of the future, people are pretty much the same as they are today, except that they have more gizmos and far more leisure time. There are families, kids in school, teens in love, workers complaining about bosses, rock stars, and spouses assuming agreed-upon specializations. They love good food, so long as it is made very fast. They have pets. They shop. They are buffeted by fashion trends. They enjoy sports.

That's the future: it is an extension of today, just as today is an extension of everything that followed before. There is no dramatic hinge of history that causes all rules to change, as socialist or fascist or other totalitarian ideologies imagine. It is just the same old struggle playing itself out in different ways.

The entire setting of the Jetsons underscores another point that is lost on most every writer of this genre: technology does not change human nature or dramatically rearrange the meta-structure of limits and opportunities that form the basis of the social order. It doesn't rob us of free will or subject us to anonymous forces beyond our control or otherwise transform us all inside and out. Technology only makes what we want to do easier to do, and leads to a greater degree of flourishing.

If this point is so simple, why is it that so many geniuses have missed it?
Who knew a Saturday morning cartoon could be so prescient and profound?

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