Parliament and Wake have an amazing essay up called Why Steampunk (Still) Matters. This article comes from some of the folks running the 100k+ member steampunk community on facebook, but it also comes from people deeply invested in radical social change. It comes from people who, like me, felt betrayed by a part of steampunk’s disdain for actually challenging anything within the real world.
It’s long, but it’s worth reading to the end. Even for those who don’t give a shit about steampunk, it’s worth reading, because it gets to why having ideas for the future matters. I remember when I watched the Chomsky vs. Foucault debate how Chomsky lost terribly and sounded like a whiny liberal. But I was frustrated, because the core argument was Foucault arguing that revolt was all that mattered and Chomsky defending the idea of having ideas of what to replace this society with. And I agreed with Chomsky, even though he got his ass handed to him.