Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Thinking-Man's Shooter

Check out this great review of Bioshock 2, would you kindly?  I enjoyed the first one mainly because of its philosophical depth (Ayn Rand's Objectivism gone hellishly awry), but I'm disappointed to see that the sequel took the easy way out by building a story around collectivism.  Introducing this symmetry into the series may be smart for marketing purposes, but it seems a bit obvious and old-fashioned.  History contains actual examples of the failures of collectivist political philosophies--we don't need a video game to imagine them.  Bioshock was brilliant precisely because history has never seen a libertarian philosophy applied to its logical end.

Pursuing a mythical "third way" that deviates from the familiar collectivist-libertarian ideological spectrum may be ultimately futile, but potential ideas pop up all the time.  Libertarian paternalism, grounded in psychology and popularized by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler's book Nudge, offers the best hope.

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