End of History as End of Law

I was reading this old article on Social Matter when a thought struck me. Isn’t the promise to end natural law a big part of the appeal of various end-of-history scenarios, both religious and secular?

This seems to be a common thread in most end-of-history predictions, be it technological progress, social progress or religious doomsday. The old constraints no longer apply and we will be liberated from our present struggles and hardships. The appeal of this promise seems like a good candidate for a human universal.

Note that these predictions tend toward the most plausible path given the time period and people’s understanding of their world. Prior to industrialization we had religious doomsday, the industrial revolution and associated economic upheavals brought us the communist utopia, and today various technological doomsday scenarios are popular. That doesn’t necessarily invalidate the object-level reasoning behind them, but it’s something to keep in mind when evaluating the arguments.

Imminent eschatology of any kind biases our thinking toward the short term. Combine this with the pre-existing human tendency to favor short-term benefit over natural law and it greatly accelerates social decay. If we believe in the end of history, we risk becoming history.

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