Let's reminisce about tomorrow

i’ve been reading the winds of war and war and remembrance by herman wouk. it is a pair of longish novels about world war 2. in one part of the book a party is being held and a pregnant woman is getting quietly drunk. although no one in the story sees anything untoward about this, these days it would result in a huge scene. similarly, when i was in high school in the 70s there was a smoking area for the students and i could go into a store and buy cigarettes for my dad or snuff for myself when i was 12 or 13 because there was no minimum age limit on tobacco which teens and twentysomethings of today find almost impossible to believe.

200 years ago in many parts of what was the united states of the time it was not only possible to buy and sell human beings as chattel slaves. but it was also considered no one else’s business if the owner wished to work the slave to death, or punish the slave to death, or to rape or sexually abuse the slave.

this has me wondering what things we do today which are relatively common activities or ways of doing things which people 50-75 years or more in the future will find either difficult to imagine a society allowing or will outright horrify those people in the future. i’ve speculated recently on this site that the election of our current president may represent one of those things, or perhaps several of those things all rolled into one hideous ball like the result of some toxic variant of katamari damacy.

does anyone else have any candidates for the potential bewilderment of our future descendants?


That we didn’t prosecute CEOs for crimes committed by corporations.

That health care was only for the rich.

That women needed a man to give them permission to do things to their own bodies.

That science was considered “negotiable”.

Sure, those could all go in the other direction, but then it’ll be a very short future.


That people think it’s okay to dress as “sexy Native Americans” at Halloween.

That people would get angry if you suggested that a Native American mascot was racist.


Travel using internal-combustion engines. Packing food (or anything else) in plastic. Nearly free access to ice.


10 years after the iREALID Act passes, we will look back on the practice of anonymity on the Internet with both nostalgia and shame.


Eating octopus. How great apes are treated. The acceptability of “collateral damage”.


That gender and sexuality were treated as problems to be punished.


That “homeless” people existed, despite so much empty housing and convertible shelter.

That people paid the rich person’s tax known as “rent.”

That most wealth was hoarded by so few people.

That being “rich” wasn’t recognized as a pathological and disgusting form of hoarding.


That we have “Food Deserts” in poor areas.

That we simultaneously pack as much sugar into food for the poor, while justifying the high price of insulin for diabetics.


The use and abuse of animals in the production of human food.

I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian, but ethically, morally, and ecologically, I can’t defend industrial, animal-based agriculture at all. It’s not just cruel to the animals, it’s not just terrible for the environment, it’s unfair to people, too. Farming all that meat is an inefficient use of resources that has global consequences, but the meat itself is inequitably distributed and consumed. India will burn because of American cow farts.

Why does my family persist in eating it? It comes down to “But I’m accustomed to eating this stuff.” Which is a really deep and powerful feeling.

I’m trying to find and develop more veggie recipes for me and my family. That’s not sufficient to save the world, but it’s necessary.


although i still buy meat from my local grocer, my family also raises, slaughters, butchers, packs, and freezes a variety of meats at my mother’s farm. primarily beef and chicken now, we used to produce pork for ourselves and a few friends as well. my sister and i both sometimes supplement this with hunting, which in our area can provide us with venison, dove, and duck. we also keep a garden at my mom’s which gives us the ability to can vegetables for the winter in addition to the summer’s bounty. my grocer provides enough information on the sourcing for the meat market that i am able to supplement my family allotment with relatively humanely raised meats.

a possible extension of what you are saying would be that the idea of playing “hide the cruelty” when it comes to meatpacking, which is the general standard, would be considered disgusting and morally odious in 50 years or so.


We burn petroleum when it’s far more valuable as plastics feedstock.

Just looking at global demand for plastics, it makes no sense we use petroleum as fuel.


That the average person consumed and breathed in over 50,000 plastic particles.

That few people cared that plastic bits were almost everywhere.


I’ve been pleasantly surprised in just the short time (seems to me anyway) since I graduated high school in the 90s, socially accepted norms have progressed a lot. In the 90s we thought we were progressive, but like I just Watched “Book Smart” in the theatre and the way it portrayed LGBT as just normal kids was something that would have created some sort of outrage in the 90s. I mean, yeah we have a lot of far right assholes out there including the president and what feels like half the country… but I think most people know that they are far right assholes. I hope these are the last death throws of that BS. A cornered rabid animal that’s putting up a losing fight and about to be put out of its misery. It can’t last.


Water and clean air was so ubiquitous, we let our taps run, our cars run, and took it all for granted.


(This thread is like the sad sister of “I’m so old that…” but in a good way.)


I like to think that too, and I soooooo hope we’re right.


That humans caused Earth’s sixth great extinction in record time, obliterating eons of evolution with untold riches of useful practical knowledge to line the pockets of a handful of petroleum barons and theocratic dynasties.

That humans just barely avoided tipping the world ocean’s pH balance past the point of global cascade failure because we were unwilling to organize a society based on sustainable recycling.

That billions of people accepted authoritarianism as “freedom”.

That Hypnotoad was not all hailed. (sorry, trying to lighten the mood a tad)


That the country wasn’t a corporation yet, and that there was criticism of corporations as such.
But then again, this was in the dark ages before people had the iGuidance implants to tell them right from wrong and were full of superstitions.


That we paid people more money to kick or hit balls than we did to keep our hospitals or food production clean.

That working for 40 hours a week was considered “normal” and “standard”.

That it was legal to force people to work rotating shifts (i.e. nights now, mornings in a few days, etc.).

That customers were expected not only to purchase goods and services from a company, but reward said company by directly paying the wages of said staff, allowing the company to avoid doing so (this is what a tipped wage is).

That we could be audacious enough to call outlawing medical procedures as “pro-life” and stripping of labour protections as “Right to Work”. And that people believed this.

That we incarcerated people for profit. That we did this to our poorest because poverty was seen as a moral sin.

On a darker future:

That we could do things like be in our own home and go to the bathroom without it being tracked.

That we didn’t go through our lives paranoid about infection, even as we built the conditions that allowed the superbugs to thrive.