To the Editor:
The first few thousand years after the last glaciation, the world changed very slowly. Ways of life that allowed us to survive four ice ages over 1.7 million years during the Pleistocene epoch served us well. A conservative human mindset was entirely appropriate for our survival.
But then, things started changing. Our hunting prowess drove the world’s large grazing mammals to extinction. We had to turn to agriculture to feed ourselves. Agricultural surpluses allowed us to concentrate in cities and specialize in economic activity. Technology and fossil fuels grew the human population from a few tens of millions to several hundred times as many today. The faster things changed, the more progressive social policies were necessary just to keep civilization on the rails.
This century, facing unprecedented climate change, soil deterioration, species extinctions, continued human population growth and the depletion of easily recoverable fossil fuels, change will be faster and more disruptive than at any time in human history.
Increasingly, progressive public policy (the Green New Deal, for example), coordinated globally, will be essential for human survival.
Conservatism, motivated by nostalgia about how good things used to be, is increasingly out of step. Physiologically, neurologically and psychologically, women are different from men. They are more socially progressive, i.e., more nurturing, communicative, caring, sharing, cooperative, understanding and forgiving.
These are precisely the qualities needed to survive the next few turbulent decades. Not only should women take the dominant role in human governance, progressive (yes, even socialist) policies will need to predominate for the human species to survive this century.
It is no coincidence that the Democratic party, and women in particular, are embracing progressive values and rising to prominence at a time when conservative male-dominated Republican values become increasingly less relevant.
Donovan C. Wilkin