Francis W. Porretto confers with a friend on the unpleasant prospects of the end of the world as we know it:
A dear friend has often speculated about “what will happen after the crash.” He’s convinced that an event of some sort will strip us of all the technology we’ve developed over the past century or so: what we have and our ability to make more of it. Though those technologies have become self-sustaining, they were bootstrapped from far more basic knowledge, skills, and tools: pencils, slide rules, soldering irons, and extensive knowledge of the sciences. Many of those who were part of the bootstrapping are gone now; the rest will disappear in a generation or two. Should our progeny lose what we’ve bequeathed them after we’ve vanished, would the kiddies be able to recreate it?
My friend is of the opinion that they won’t — that there will come a long Dark Age during which our posterity will have to clamber slowly up from the mud, much as the Cro-Magnons did. He has a good case for it. By indulging our children in the “right” to be ignorant of anything except how to use their smartphones and Google, we’ve denied them the bootstrapping competences that were required to produced our current technologies. Never mind that it was with the kiddies’ willing cooperation; the effect will be no less crippling for that.
A substantial number of alleged “grown-ups” involved in this conspiracy, or collusion, or whatever, did so because they valued their present-day comforts above all else. This describes a number of people you know, rather a lot of people you’ve seen on television, and pretty much everyone elected to Congress in the last decade or so. The sheer mass of their madness makes it a lot easier to tip the scales the wrong way.