Best of the blog, Part 2: Was Shakespeare a libertarian? Has cancel culture peaked? And what was that crossword puzzle clue mentioning the LFS?

By Michael Grossberg

Was Shakespeare a libertarian?

Has the “cancel culture” trend peaked, or will it continue in 2024?

With Shakespeare increasingly in disfavor among some elite precincts of academia and popular authors like Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming posthumously having their classic fiction bowdlerized and edited to be politically correct, what artists and authors will be next?

Will 2024 deepen disturbing trends undermining artistic freedom and other civil and economic liberties? Or will a new year bring fresh hope for civility, voluntarism, tolerance and respect for other people’s rights?

Such questions continue to linger in the back of my mind as I recall some of my favorite posts in 2023 on the Prometheus Blog.

Although it’s now the start of 2024, it’s not too late to look back again at the past year to savor (and perhaps reread) a few especially timely and relevant favorites from the blog – beyond the three already highlighted last week.

Continue reading Best of the blog, Part 2: Was Shakespeare a libertarian? Has cancel culture peaked? And what was that crossword puzzle clue mentioning the LFS?

The Hogan interview, part 4: What he loved about America, why he moved to the U.S. and how his childhood shaped his pro-technology, pro-liberty views

By Michael Grossberg

For posterity, the Prometheus blog is proud to be the first to post a lengthy and revealing interview that two-time Prometheus winner James P. Hogan gave just after the turn of the 21st century.

James P. Hogan (Creative Commons license)

More than 90 percent of that interview was not included in a newspaper profile of Hogan, so it appears here uncut and complete for the first time.

Hogan (1941-2020) sadly is no longer with us, but almost all of his 26 novels remain in print – and many are worth reading or rereading for their ingenious premises, imaginative speculations (some of which have since come true) and their intelligent, insightful and realistic blend of science and politics.

Continue reading The Hogan interview, part 4: What he loved about America, why he moved to the U.S. and how his childhood shaped his pro-technology, pro-liberty views

Have you seen LFS ads online? If so, you’re part of our Google ad campaign

If you’ve seen an ad like this online, you’re probably a freedom-loving sf/fantasy fan!

In recent months, the Libertarian Futurist Society has been experimenting more with online advertising to raise our visibility and attract new members.

The evolving ad campaign takes advantage of Google targeting techniques to reach that relatively small pool of people in the population who overlap in two key categories: science-fiction/fantasy fans and libertarians.

Some LFS members have already noticed such ads online at Reason magazine or its blog and other libertarian websites; a few also have spotted such ads at various conservative and liberal sites that attract sf/fantasy fans.

If you do see an LFS like this pop up anywhere, please help us out!

Continue reading Have you seen LFS ads online? If so, you’re part of our Google ad campaign

Lord of the Rings: Economist uses Prometheus Hall of Fame classic to expose false complaints about capitalism – and about Tolkien’s underappreciated Eagles

Why didn’t the Eagles fly the ring to Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings?

Even if you haven’t heard fans argue over the alleged “eagle plot hole” in J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic Prometheus-winning trilogy, you should find economist Bryan Caplan’s recent blog post illuminating – as well as Ilya Somin’s Reason posting about it.

An economics professor at George Mason University and a New York Times bestselling author, Caplan finds many parallels – and similar flaws – between such fan criticisms of Tolkien’s classic fantasy trilogy and socialist criticisms of free markets.

Thanks to Reason magazine, which published constitutional lawyer Ilya Somin’s column highlighting Caplan’s intriguing arguments (and some of his own) on Reason’s Volokh Conspiracy legal blog.

Continue reading Lord of the Rings: Economist uses Prometheus Hall of Fame classic to expose false complaints about capitalism – and about Tolkien’s underappreciated Eagles

Nerds, jocks and sf fans: LFS/Reason panelists explore why some people embrace libertarian ideas (and why some don’t)

Contrary to some perceptions, science fiction fans – and paradoxically, both nerds and jocks – are more likely to come to appreciate the benefits of freedom and voluntary cooperation and more often begin to see the dangerous defects in authoritarian systems of the Left or Right.

That insight was one of the richer and more unexpected subjects explored by prominent panelists during a recent Libertarian Futurist Society panel discussion.

With Reason magazine as the media sponsor, the online panel followed the 2021 Prometheus Awards ceremony, in which Barry B. Longyear and F. Paul Wilson won awards.

Continue reading Nerds, jocks and sf fans: LFS/Reason panelists explore why some people embrace libertarian ideas (and why some don’t)

Best Novel finalist authors gather for podcast discussing sf, fandom, publishing and the Prometheus Award

The authors of this year’s Prometheus Award finalists for Best Novel recently gathered for an online chat, which has now been posted publicly on the Eigenrobot podcast.

Sf writers Mackey Chandler, Karl K. Gallagher, Barry Longyear, Marc Stiegler, and Dennis E. Taylor discussed a wide variety of topics in their podcast – including the publishing industry, fandom, changes in science fiction, and the history of the Prometheus Award.

Continue reading Best Novel finalist authors gather for podcast discussing sf, fandom, publishing and the Prometheus Award

Reason, voluntary private cooperation and entrepreneurship versus politics, irrationality and power-lust in facing apocalypse and extinction: An Appreciation of Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, the 2016 Prometheus for Best Novel

To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history and make clear why each winner deserves recognition as notable pro-freedom sf/fantasy, the Libertarian Futurist Society is presenting weekly Appreciations of past award-winners. Here’s the latest Appreciation for Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, the 2016 Best Novel winner:

By Michael Grossberg
Seveneves, an epic hard-science-fiction novel, focuses on a cataclysmic event that threatens human civilization and the planet Earth, and its long aftermath.

Neal Stephenson’s sprawling 2015 novel avoids ideology while dramatizing how a lust for power almost wipes out our species.

More impressively and much less common in such fiction these days, Stephenson also shows how the courage to face reality and tackle overwhelming problems through reason, individual initiative and the voluntary cooperation of private enterprise help tip the balance towards survival.

Especially inspiring, for advocates of reason and liberty, are Stephenson’s portrayals of the heroic efforts against terrific odds by a small group — including some of Earth’s bravest and richest entrepreneurs — who spend their fortunes and risk their lives to save humanity from extinction.
Continue reading Reason, voluntary private cooperation and entrepreneurship versus politics, irrationality and power-lust in facing apocalypse and extinction: An Appreciation of Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, the 2016 Prometheus for Best Novel