Here are trends (or issues) I think we should keep track of in the next 5-10 years. Since I'm speculating about the future, I'll probably get much wrong, but I want to get it on record now so I can look back at this two, five, 10 years in the future and see what I got right or wrong. I'm hoping this will make me a better analyst of current events.
1. The war. Will we get serious about destroying the states that sponsor terrorism?
2. The defeatism of the Democrats. The most astonishing development after September 11, 2001 was the Democrat Party tying their political fortunes to America's defeat. If America is victorious, the Democrats will suffer because they have made it clear that Iraq is Bush's war, not theirs; if America is defeated, the Democrats will prosper. It must be the first time in America's history, perhaps in world history, that a major political party wants its own country to lose a war.
3. The retirement of the Baby Boomers. Talkin' 'bout my g-g-generation -- unfortunately. When the Baby Boomers go on Social Security and Medicare, what will happen? Will an economic crisis ensue?
4. The rise of religion. The black hole of nihilism and radical subjectivism must be filled by something; a vacuum of values and beliefs is psychologically unbearable. People are turning to the same thing they've turned to since Plato criticized the sophists: mysticism.
5. The development of the New Left. Since the '60s the New Left has worked its way into every aspect of our culture, from hairstyles to political correctness to recycling to the feminization of Hollywood (women are always with it, men are always befuddled). How does the New Left react to the rise of religion? Does it resist or co-opt?
6. Collectivism vs. Individualism. Will volunteerism turn into mandatory national service? Will the state continue to expand and control more and more aspects of the individual's life?
7. Environmentalism. This is closely tied to #6 and #5. Will the environmentalists succeed in using the bogeyman of global warming to enact massive regulations on industry?
8. Romanticism. Will the revolt against modern art begin in the next decade?
9. The Information Revolution. How do the Internet and digital technology change life? For life will change -- oh, it will! The changes will be so many and so huge that I wouldn't even try to speculate here. Whatever I guessed would be a pale ghost compared to the reality to come.
10. Life extension. How does science extend life? How much? How soon?
11. Mars. Will we get to Mars within 10 years? Probably not.
12. The spread of Objectivism. Recently there have been excellent write-ups on Ayn Rand's philosophy in Israel and Colorado. The next 10 years might not be enough time. But once the Baby Boomers are dead, I see a rational philosophy taking off like a rocket.
Have I missed anything?
UPDATE: Added #11.