July 2004
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Day July 8, 2004

Slow week…

It’s been a slow blogging week, mostly because it’s a short week and we’re in a release cycle at Network Clarity. I dream fitful dreams of feature lists, bug lists, and deadlines. The island is but a memory.

Not much new on the reading list, I’m taking the opportunity to pore over the last half of Ackerman’s We the People: Transformations fairly slowly, since it covers the constitutional history of the New Deal. I’m also working through Barnett’s incredible book Restoring the Lost Constitution. More on each when I’m finished, and before I saddle up the yaks to assault the Himalaya of Cass Sunstein books now towering on my coffee table.

I did finish Alastair Reynolds’ Absolution Gap, the final book in the “Revelation Space” universe. I loved it, though the ultimate solution to the “Inhibitors” crisis was a bit of a deus ex machina, I thought. Still, this is the problem with books which are authentically large in time and space. I’m also coming to realize that the only “space” science fiction I can happily read now must obey real physics as we know it. Bend it, extrapolate it, give me gory details of string theory extrapolations that don’t yet exist, but don’t don’t DON’T give me fantasies of hyperdrive and faster-than-light travel. Greg Egan, Stephen Baxter, Alastair Reynolds. These are the modern science fiction writers I find most interesting.

Enough for now. I have no comments on Edwards as Veepstakes winner. No more comments on Fahrenheit 9/11. But I’m homing in on what to me is a core question: what is involved in reconciling classical liberalism, New Deal social justice, secular humanism, scientific rationalism, and traditional religious and “social values” in this country? How do we achieve a synthesis instead of tearing ourselves apart? Understanding “blue and red” or the “Two Americas” is all well and good, but understanding where we’re headed doesn’t help us respond to important questions.

Does anybody think it’s a good idea to be so deeply divided on core issues as we’re becoming? If not, how do we prevent our divisions from becoming as deep as they became in the mid-1800’s?