The Republican Future Is Retrofuturism
Make America's Future Great Again
The Left sometimes asks the Right, “What vision do you offer for the future?”
I empathize with this question because after all, conservatives aren’t promising “free” healthcare, housing, university, etc. in the name of compassion and equality.
Conservatives tend to focus on why “free” is bad and suggest tax cuts and deregulation are better, which isn’t particularly persuasive to people who don’t pay taxes nor own much.
Conservatives need to offer a concrete vision for the future that young people can grasp onto and fight for.
So what do we offer?
We offer the future!
Specifically, the future promised to us in the 1960s…
If you asked a scientist in the 1960s where he'd think we’d be by 2021 he would’ve envisioned flying cars and a colonized Mars.
Well, to see what could’ve been it’s useful to think about an economic sector that did take off: computer science.
Computer technology rapidly improved to the point of what once was considered science fiction because the government stayed largely hands-off as it remains one of the least regulated parts of our economy.1
The internet has been the “Wild West” for better or worse, but largely better (although the regulatory state is starting to rear its ugly head here too).
There’s a myth that defense spending in itself drove much of our computer revolution. If this was the case then the most innovative countries in the world would’ve been those who had the largest defense budgets, i.e. the Soviet Union and China.
It’s true though that when the federal government has a specific objective goal such as “make an atom bomb” or “land on the moon” and creates a new well-financed startup to achieve it then this can spark technological growth in much the same way as a well-financed venture capitalist or self-financed businessman could.
The problem though is when these government startups morph into government departments, i.e. the Manhattan Project morphing into the Department of Energy, whereby the driving force is no longer innovation, but force itself.
I think we’ve had a lot of innovation in computers, information technology, Internet, mobile Internet in the world of bits. Not so much in the world of atoms, supersonic travel, space travel, new forms of energy, new forms of medicine, new medical devices, etc. — Peter Thiel
I’d argue the reason we haven’t had as much innovation in other areas is because of federal interference.
The more regulations the higher the barrier to entry is and the more the federal government funds R&D then the more private sector competitors are priced out (because they can’t compete with a money printing press) whereby publicly financed research brain-drains top researchers from private research, therefore, incentivizing many of America’s top researchers to spend more of their time lobbying for grant money, avoiding controversy, and navigating regulation instead of actually innovating.2
In addition, the federal government has stunted innovation by stunting the American mind.
Since the 1970s, Americans’ IQ has been dropping.3 We spend more on education per pupil, especially on the black youth, than virtually any other nation on Earth and yet we have decreasing reading & math skills. The most obvious example of this intellectual downward trend is by comparing the Kennedy vs. Nixon debate to the Trump vs. Biden debate. The former debated at a college level whereas the latter “debated” at a 4th-grade level. Sad! The federal government has taken greater control over our minds in a variety of ways from increasing regulations on K - 12, increasingly trapping kids in failing public schools, subsidizing Big Media & Big Tech, and forcing students to go into $100K unforgivable college debt for a possible train ticket to the American Dream (expect long delays on the way).
Centralized funding of an intellectual elite makes it easier for cadres, cliques, and the politically skilled to gain control of a field, and they by their nature are resistant to new, outside, non-Ptolemaic ideas. The ivory tower has a moat full of crocodiles. — J. Storrs Hall
As the federal government has grown, GDP growth has shrunk.
It’s about time we took Uncle Sam’s foot off our necks to unleash the full power of the American innovative spirit again.
What do conservatives offer?
We offer UNLIMITED energy. By deregulating nuclear energy we’ll see a BOOM in atomic research again or as J. Storrs Hall penned the “Second Atomic Age.” If it wasn’t for the baseless fearmongering of the 1970s then nuclear may be just as advanced today as computer science is in its respective field, but instead, due to government regulations, much of our nuclear energy capacity is frozen in time. Anyone who is remotely concerned about climate change should #WalkAway from the Democratic Party based on this single issue alone because of their unwillingness to tap into the most important energy source of our times.
We offer UNLIMITED lifespans. Aging is a disease. Over 65% of American healthcare is taxpayer-financed. In addition, as American healthcare has become more regulated it has only become more expensive and oligarchic (surprise, surprise). Leftists promise us though that if we just take more of the poison it’ll eventually turn into medicine. In reality, the most innovative parts of American healthcare are its least regulated (cosmetics, plastic surgery, eye surgery). If we, therefore, deregulated the entire sector, including by reducing patent protection, then we’ll see an explosion in medical innovation again as prices come down! In addition to making drug trials extremely expensive, one of the greatest tragedies of the modern era is how the federal government has purposely created a doctor shortage in the midst of our rapidly aging population in order to create a seller's market for its lobbyist the American Medical Association. The COVID-19 vaccinee’s “warp speed program” is just a taste of what could be in every other aspect of healthcare if people didn’t so easily fall for the Left’s fear-mongering, except even warp speed didn’t go far enough in deregulating the vaccination process because we could’ve had a vaccine distributed much sooner if the federal government put saving lives over political calculations (We Had the Vaccine the Whole Time).
We offer UNLIMITED space. Conservatives want the federal government to stop protecting big banks from risk and stop giving federal loans to students. By doing this housing and tuition prices would DRAMATICALLY drop. Young people would therefore be better able to afford their own homes and tuition again. Universities would then work more closely with companies to hire their graduates so they can afford to pay them back. More students would therefore be pushed into STEM instead of dropped off on the street with a liberal arts diploma and a “black lives matter” sign. And then by deregulating airspace it’ll enable more innovation in flying cars (in recent years Democrats are trying to take greater control over airspace in the name of price “fairness”).4 Two of the greatest leaders in technology today are Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk who are considered the #1 and #2 richest people in the world. I agree they should pay more taxes, but some leftists believe there shouldn’t even be billionaires in the world and therefore would like to take over 70% to 90% of their wealth, which neglects the fact that they’re driving much of America’s innovation today and so I’d argue a $1 spent by Elon Musk will do a whole lot more good for humanity than a $1 taken and then spent by the federal government, which is a point that does not compute with many of my friends on the Left.
Abolish the Department of Energy. Abolish the Food & Drug Administration. Abolish the Department of Education. Abolish the Department of Transportation. Shrink the Deep State. Drain the swamp and we’ll reach the stars!
The government that governs least governs best.
Both political parties are responsible for the government’s growing monopolization of all these various sectors of the economy, but one party is less so and so the answer is clear that the path to hyper-growth is FREEDOM. Freedom yesterday. Freedom today. Freedom tomorrow!
Republicans should adopt the 1939 World’s Fair’s motto, “Building the World of Tomorrow” or perhaps more accurately, “Freeing the World of Tomorrow.”
The future of our past should be our present.