I can remember those same times the author of the above article remembers. In 1980 I wrote stories about a society that lost its curiosity, declined, and required a bloody revolution to get back on track.
Now I’m watching things I predicted in my stories turn from fiction into headlines, with political correctness being the foremost of those things. I recently reconstructed one of those stories(novel-length) from memory, and was scared by its almost prophetic quality.
The villains of the piece I called Eco-Socialists, but today we call them Progressives, environmentalists, or Al Gore. Most were wealthy or at least comfortable, and they all manipulated the masses to amass and retain power. I figured that, in the ‘real’ world, they’d gradually lose influence and become a pathetic, hectoring bunch of fruitcakes nobody listened to and most people despised, but the actual result is closer to what I wrote: a soul-sucking nanny state where the environment is god, frequently granted lip service but actually given the respect dogs give trees and fireplugs, and the government its consort, the true master and deity of the world. Mind you, this book was drafted before I was familiar with the Apocalypse of St. John, more commonly known as Revelation.
One of the first things the bad guys in my book did was attempt to shut down any space travel, manned or otherwise, outside Earth orbit: if you want to be world dictator, you can’t give many people the opportunity to get off your world. (Satellites for communication and spying were fine with them… something else I got right, alas.) But one good guy,( kind of like John Galt… which is odd, because I still haven’t read Atlas Shrugged) two talking dolphins, and one of the bad girls who got the dirty end of the stick from her superiors, managed to bust loose, pep up the counterrevolution, and get the interstellar drive working in time to save the world from a new, darker Dark Ages.