Last episode I talked about trends, and in this episode I want to talk about a specific trend, the increase in people who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming. I offer six theories for why it might be increasing.
Tiny trends are all around us. Some of these trends compound, like compound interest, exponential growth that works like a juggernaut destroying whatever came before. Other trends are slower, and harder to notice, and generally only noticed once their impact is already obvious. Like the opioid epidemic and deaths of despair.
Sometimes humans can reverse the trends. Sometimes they reverse naturally and sometimes the only way to reverse them is through instability and violence.
Once again (though perhaps for the last time) John Brockman of Edge.org has asked a variety of intellectuals to answer his question of the year. This year it was "What is the Last Question?" I spend this episode discussing some of the responses, specifically how they relate to things I've mentioned in previous podcasts and how well they fit into the category of a "last question." And then at the end I give my "last question."
After reading a significant number of books from the early 19th century, I noticed that a lot of the better known authors were "communist sympathizers". Which prompted me to examine what communism must have looked like back then, before the full horror of Stalin, and the excesses of the Cultural Revolution. My conclusion is that it must have looked pretty good.
But then we all know how the story turned out, and however good it looked back then, that was an illusion. And if you had banned criticism based on how bad it looked you would have missed out on the chance to avoid some communism's excesses and failures.