The Conservative Futurist: How to Create the Sci-Fi World We Were Promised (Hardcover)
America was once the world’s dream factory. We turned imagination into reality, from curing polio to landing on the Moon to creating the internet. And we were confident that more wonders lay just over the horizon: clean and infinite energy, a cure for cancer, computers and robots as humanity’s great helpers, and space colonies. (Also, of course, flying cars.) Science fiction, from The Jetsons to Star Trek, would become fact.
But as we moved into the late twentieth century, we grew cautious, even cynical, about what the future held and our ability to shape it. America became a “Down Wing” society. Too many of us saw only the threats from rapid change. The year 2023 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Great Downshift in technological progress and economic growth, followed by decades of economic stagnation, downsized dreams, and a popular culture fixated on catastrophe: killer AI, nuclear war, climate chaos, plague, and the zombie apocalypse. We are now at risk of another half-century of making the same Down Wing mistakes and pushing a pro-progress “Up Wing” future into the realm of impossibility.
Nevertheless, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) economic policy expert and longtime CNBC contributor James Pethokoukis argues that there’s still hope. We can absolutely turn things around—if we the people choose to dream and act. How dare we delay or fail to deliver for ourselves and our children.
With groundbreaking ideas and sharp analysis, Pethokoukis provides a detailed roadmap to a fantastic future filled with incredible progress and prosperity that is both optimistic and realistic. The Conservative Futurist invites readers to invent the future they want to live in and fight for a better tomorrow. Through an exploration of culture, economics, and history, Pethokoukis tells the fascinating story of what went wrong in the past and what we need to do today to finally get it right. Using the latest economic research and policy analysis, as well as insights from top economists, historians, and technologists, Pethokoukis reveals that the failed futuristic visions of the past were totally possible. And they still are. If America is to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and launch itself into a shining tomorrow, it must again become a fully risk-taking, future-oriented Up Wing society. It’s time for America to embrace the future confidently, act boldly, and take that giant leap forward.
James Pethokoukis is a policy analyst and the Dewitt Wallace Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he also writes and edits the AEIdeas blog and writes the Faster, Please! newsletter. In addition, he is an official contributor to CNBC television. A graduate of Northwestern University and the Medill School of Journalism, Pethokoukis is a 2002 Jeopardy! champion. Before joining AEI, he was the Washington columnist for Reuters Breakingviews, the opinion and commentary wing of Thomson Reuters, and the business editor and economics columnist for U.S. News & World Report. Mr. Pethokoukis has written for many publications, including Commentary, Investor’s Business Daily, National Review, the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Examiner, and the Weekly Standard. His numerous broadcast appearances include CNN, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, The McLaughlin Group, MSNBC, and Nightly Business Report on PBS.