Join award-winning writer and film-maker Paul Mason, author of the bestseller Postcapitalism and one of the Left’s leading thinkers, as he discusses his new book Clear Bright Future: A Radical Defence of the Human Being.
We face a triple threat: the rise of authoritarian politicians and the destruction of verifiable truth; the possibility of intelligent machines whose existence will eviscerate the human claim to agency, rights and consciousness; and a pervasive secular fatalism and irrationality, which has made millions of people susceptible to the mythologies of the new right.
Paul Mason demonstrates how each of these dangers is rooted in the purposeful creation of the “neoliberal self” over the past three decades. Human beings were redesigned to be coerced, governed and pitted against each other in enforced competition. They were told history had ended – but now it’s back with a vengeance. This is no longer a once-in-fifty years economic crisis, nor simply the fraying of the post-war global order. It is an all out attack on values that have underpinned Western societies for 400 years.
It can be fought, Mason argues, only if we are prepared to conduct a radical defence of the human being: to reinvent humanism in a way that allows it to survive the attacks against race, gender and reason, the opponents of human rights. It means, says Mason, fighting for universal rights, for human-centric institutions, and for the right to resist control of our lives by algorithms.