Monday, May 6, 2019

Tech Titans Embracing Radical Leftist Ideology

The point deserves more mention than it has received, so it is worth emphasizing. In a recent essay Joel Kotkin pointed out that the titans of the internet, the oligarchs of Silicon Valley are living a contradiction.

Capitalist free enterprise has allowed them to prosper beyond the dreams of Croesus. And yet, they persist in championing socialist, big government policies that would undermine capitalism and that would cost them dearly. There is no such thing as a trendy radical leftist cause that they will not champion.

Why, it was only yesterday that Google stopped the Claremont Institute from advertising on its platform because… its president Ryan Williams committed a thought crime… against multiculturalism:

Google had a look at my essay launching our new campaign for a unifying Americanism, “Defend America—Defeat Multiculturalism,” decided it in violation of their policy on “race and ethnicity in personalized advertising,” and shut down our advert efforts to American Mind readers.

See the Powerline post (via Maggie’s Farm)

So, let’s see a major American corporation has policies that refuse to allow people to defend America against multiculturalism.

By Kotkin’s reasoning-- with which I heartily concur-- this cannot go on forever. It won’t. How it will end, we do not know. Trust busting comes to mind. The tech oligarchs are not as smart as they think. They own the marketplace of information but, when it comes to the marketplace of ideas, they think on the level of high school students. They do not know it, but they are in serious trouble.

Kotkin explained the contradiction:

Although they themselves have benefited enormously from the rise of free markets, liberal protection of property rights, and the meritocratic ideal, many among our most well-heeled men and women, even in the United States, have developed a tendency to embrace policies and cultural norms that undermine their own status.

Twasn’t always thus. Normally, business leaders have been loyal patriots. They defended the nation and embraced conservative principles, especially conservative economic policies. They preferred not to hand it all over to the government. These leaders were smart enough not to be socialists:

In the twentieth century, most business leaders were predictably conservative. Big money aligned with their class allies in the “party of property.” Conservatives in Britain and Canada, Liberals in Australia, Republicans in America, and Gaullists in France all supported—albeit with significant differences—a basic property rights-oriented regime backed by law.

No more, instead of advancing industrialization and free enterprise, these oligarchs have been militating against it:

Yet, over the last 20 years, the upper classes have adopted environmental and social agendas that are fundamentally at odds with competitive capitalism and the survival of a vibrant middle class.

Today, many traditional left-wing parties are largely financed by the wealthy and supported by the elite classes in Canada and Australia. Large sections of traditionally conservative parties like Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, meanwhile, have evolved to embrace the internationalist and green agenda. Only in Britain, ever the eccentric laggard, has old-style class warfare been revived by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party.

Dare I say they have all suffered the indoctrination on offer at America’s greatest universities. And they have rejected Western civilization, monotheistic religion and family values. They are environmentalists to the bone. It means that they worship at the cult of the Mother Goddess:

If our secular elites have a religion, it revolves around the environment. Elements of the old plutocracy remain, such as those old-line energy firms and manufacturers resistant to the orthodox green approach. But the leaders of virtually all the top tech companies—Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook—work assiduously to identify themselves with what are seen as environmental values. The coffers of environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, receive huge donations, often as high as $100 million, from wealthy moguls like Ted Turner, Michael Bloomberg, and Richard Branson.

In the name of science they have no doubts. They will allow no skepticism. They are awaiting the climate apocalypse. As noted in a Saturday post, the more people are persuaded that the sky is falling, the less likely it is that the sky is falling:

As in the Middle Ages, environmental activism has adopted an apocalyptic tone; when President Obama was elected, NASA’s James Hansen, one of the icons of the climate change movement, opined that the new Chief Executive had just “four years to save the earth.” In 2008, ABC claimed that Manhattan would be “underwater” by 2015, and such claims are routinely accepted in media, academic, and political circles without much skepticism. Like the Medieval church, the acolytes of this movement have little patience for rational debate; those—including one of the founders of Greenpeace and former members of the UN International Panel on Climate Change—who have raised objections to the current direction of climate advocacy find themselves demonized and marginalized.

As it happens, Kotkin continued, the environmentalist socialist high tech oligarchs do not practice what they preach. Naturally, the carbon taxes they embrace with uncommon fervor will not touch them, but will be ruinous for the lower plebeian classes. At some moment in the future, this will have to impact their businesses:

Like Medieval aristocrats, our oligarchs have created special dispensations for their own behavior while insisting everyone else follow the green injunctions. Because they want to encourage everyone else to cut back, they fight the climate fight in style but not in substance; as the Guardian recently noted, they travel to Davos in an estimated 1500 GHG-spewing private jets.

What happens when these green policies are enacted? Nothing very good:

Nevertheless, there are grave political risks here, which the well-placed do not appear to have noticed. Wherever conventional green policies have been imposed—in Britain, Canada, Australia, or the United States—the result has been skyrocketing house and energy prices. In California, arguably the global center for climate alarmism, green policies have helped raise energy and housing prices to unaffordable levels, creating the highest poverty rates in the country. This has occurred even though per capita emissions reductions were less than those of 39 other states. California has also exported greenhouse gas emissions, most famously by manufacturing in coal-heavy china, thereby reducing its own carbon footprint, but not that of the world.

They are shoring up indulgences, the better to protect themselves and their fortunes. But, they want the rest of the nation to be on welfare… paid for by the overtaxed middle class:

As the 2020 campaign has got underway, most of the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates have embraced policies that call for an ever-expanded welfare state. To be sure, the oligarchs may feel that these policies will be paid for largely by the beleaguered middle class. But, over time, fiscal logic suggests that the ultra-rich will discover that they too are expected to pay their “fair share.” Backing the party of the “people” means something different when that party lurches towards socialism; Amazon’s Jeff Bezos might consider his pet newspaper, the Washington Post, to be a beacon of the “resistance,” but that did not stop his putative allies from driving his expansion plans in New York City into the proverbial gutter.

They do not understand that they are creating a bifurcated nation, divided between the rich and the rest. They are happy to pay whatever it takes to keep the rest out of their neighborhoods. They do not understand that the next step in the great socialist revolution will be: confiscating their wealth… most, if not all of it.

But whether the next revolution comes from the Right or the Left, our elites, like their eighteenth century counterparts, could belatedly awaken to find themselves faced with an existential threat. If this is indeed what comes to pass, it will largely be due to the folly of their own lack of respect for the values and the system responsible for creating their wealth in the first place.

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