Carte blanche to Olivier Niquet | The politicians of the future

With their unique pen and their own sensitivity, artists present to us their vision of the world around us. This week, we give carte blanche to columnist and author Olivier Niquet.

At the dawn of a new year, it is generally appropriate to try to imagine its contours. However, what 2024 has in store for us is of little interest to me. In the short term, I hope at most for some modest advancements: that the Canadian gets a good choice in the next draft, that Bernard Drainville gives us a new a cappella song and that people realize it more quickly when they block the way down the escalators. That would make my year. That’s not too much to ask.

My expectations are low because I continue to be disappointed by those who must outline our future. It seems to me that we have very few politicians of the future. Our leaders are guardians of the status quo. They plug the systems already plugged by others before them. The future they are offering us extends until the date of the next elections, so why take the risk of rushing citizens by daring something new that will have effects in 25 years?

It’s because I’m disappointed with the present that I regularly turn to science fiction. My favorite is one that leans more toward science than fiction. The one who imagines the models of a possible future to make us realize how everything could go wrong. Or turn.

Our politicians who are avid readers should from time to time take an interest in this too often shunned genre. Perhaps when they read a doomsday scenario based on plausible scientific information, they might say to themselves “sad, I have to do something”. Or conversely, exposed to an idyllic utopia, they could say to themselves “crimepof, why not”!

In a recent interview, Kim Stanley Robinson, a master of the genre, explained that science fiction serves, among other things, to draw the public’s attention to little-known scientific theories: “You tell a story to thwart its course by warning people in advance. » These probable futures are made up of collapsing biospheres, shifts towards obscurantism, space flight, disinformation erected into a system, transgenic humans, nuclear escalation or patriarchal totalitarianism.

No, it’s not jojo, but it’s easy to understand that these are not far-fetched prophecies. Our world already offers us clues to these anticipated destinies.

The big “reset” that some people who like to make connections a little too much have warned us about is probably not a concerted project by the big people of this world to start from scratch, as Joe Bocan would say. Rather, it is our willful blindness that guides us back to square one.

The freedom that the democratization of the means of producing information should have offered us has been harnessed by the technology giants to hand us over to the opportunists of indignation. While we are obsessed with videos of people who give us chills by whispering, organic makeup tutorials or recipes for cheeseburgers in fajita buns (I recommend), the information loses its appeal. Everything is put on an equal footing, and many benefit from it.

Conservative forces around the world have the wind in their sails these days and that doesn’t bode well for the future. However, everything conspires to ensure that conservatives fight to “conserve” the planet and to ensure the survival of the capitalist system. If the world collapses, the business world will collapse too.

Most are proponents of magical thinking. The Cornucopians assure us that technology will triumph over humanity’s problems and that there is no point in worrying too much about it. We must not confuse cornucopian and serpuarian, this neologism which is bombarded at us in the hope of encouraging us to recycle our old devices (I recycle devices, but I refuse to use this word). No need to recycle, we just have to wait for the invention of the machine to transform plastic into fertilizer for plants…

The word comes from the legend of the cornucopia. Pluto, the Roman god of wealth (a sort of Elon Musk in a toga), had this horn in his possession, full of an all-you-can-eat buffet that would have nothing to envy of Casa Corfu. Cornucopians believe that human genius is an inexhaustible resource. However, you don’t have to have spent a lot of time reading comments on La Poche Bleue’s Facebook page to have such great faith in humanity.

In reality, technology risks serving our current gods of wealth who will set off in their phallic rockets to build a better world on Mars, far from the one they helped destroy after maximizing their RRSPs.

Some science fiction novels imagine a future where hibernation would put a person to sleep for years to wake them up in a better world where a cure for cancer would have been discovered, where there would be no more war. and where people would no longer put their bananas in bags at the grocery store. Or conversely, in a world that has become completely stupid.

Despite these discouraging observations about the present, I am an eternal optimist (a happy fool, some would say). I would tend to believe in the option of a better world. In science fiction novels, things always go bad before they get better. I don’t know what 2024 will bring, but if we could perfect hibernation, I would be willing to take the risk of sleeping until 2100. I have confidence that human genius, in its infinite greatness, will have made us realize by then that long-term thinking is the best way to build the future.

Who is Olivier Niquet?

Olivier Niquet has training in urban planning. Radio columnist, who can be heard on the show The day (is still young) on ICI Première, he has published several books, including The kings of silence: what we can learn from introverts to be a little less stupid and (maybe) save the world. He is also a speaker, in addition to contributing to the sites and


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