Refactoring the right


Thinking about a recent talk by Bruce Sterling.

As Bruce says, and Cory Doctorow has noted in the past, we have a techno-glut. A heap of weird technology culture has not assimilated. A big segment of the population that just doesn't buy it.

I'm starting to sympathise with this segment. When we have people starting to build trillions of hunter-killer DNA automatons (as published in Nature recently), yeah, we should stop and think about what we're doing.

The right is conservatism, it takes the attitude that new ideas are bad. This attitude is sometimes justified. Some ideas, like atom bombs, are ideas we should not have pursued and should not pursue. There's a lot more potential tech like this.

Then again, the tech we have accepted (even the right) is poisoning our planet. Action and change are required, and for this we need buy in from the right. The right has legitimate concerns, but bad solutions. The right badly needs refactoring.

The dominant ideology of the right currently derives from the monotheistic religions, a system of morality based on right and wrong. The problem with "right and wrong" is that it can't weigh up bad options against each other. We have a lot of bad options to choose between right now.

So buy in from the right probably requires the creation of a system of morality that can cope with the current state of the world. This is something the left has failed to provide, and indeed it may not make sense to ask it of them.

Let's not beat around the bush. I am talking about a new religion. A new ontology of the soul. A new faith. New definitions of old words that retain all essential aspects of their original meaning: religion, soul, faith, prayer, confession, judgement, divinity, truth.

Not some wet new age crap either. Fire and brimstone, stern reproach of those in error. Bullet-proof logic. Faith is a product of introspection, it only becomes strong by being tested. We need a religion that can survive brutal levels of introspection. Something that would satisfy a strictly devout follower of Christianity or Islam. A solid rock of morallity people can act from with the confidence of a surgeon: sometimes in error (and able to recognize errors in retrospect), never in doubt.

The right is not to be defeated, that will be about as effective as killing terrorists. A society will only be stable if it has buy in from nearly everyone. We can not just play with swinging voters at the edges, the righteous bible thumping heart of the right must be refactored.