If you’ve never read this 1951 Science Fiction story, I recommend you do. The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth. I’ve long held this up as an example of the direction in which U.S. society has been headed and I just read a note from Ben Bova to science blogger Pharyngula (P.Z. Meyers) in which he calls it the ‘most prescient and chilling’ of science fiction stores. Meyers takes issue with this and finds the story stupid because the ‘solution’ to the problem is a non-solution.
Well, of course a scientist would see it that way, but I’m pretty sure Kornbluth wasn’t thinking like a scientist when he wrote it. He was just bugged by something and chose a semi-comedic form of storytelling in which to complain about it. I’ve often been tempted to write a story in which all the stupid people are wiped out by an anti-stupid virus, so I could understand his frustration.
Meyers came to pretty much the same conclusion as me with respect to workable solutions to the problem of self-satisfied idiots, but no one seemed to be following up on those ideas decades ago, when I read the story. And from what I can see now, the situation has only gotten worse.
So what will the future be? I am not any more sure than I was back when I first saw The Marching Morons, only these days, I’m a lot less inclined to find it funny.