Monday, July 22, 2019

A New Age of Philosopher Kings

This week New York Magazine has a cover feature about Jeffrey Epstein’s address book.  It describes in detail the relationships that Epstein had with dozens of individuals, from Bill Clinton to Donald Trump to just about everyone in the New York media and political worlds. It also includes a certain number of Harvard professors and other intellectuals. No one has suggested that any of the latter did anything wrong, but they are being tarred by association.

This to introduce an especially astute text by someone named David Wallace-Wells. I will leave it as is, without too much superfluous commentary. I consider it a symptom of our current cultural decline:

What seems new, in flipping through the reams of society photos of perhaps the world’s most prolific sexual predator that have been circulating over the past few weeks, is not the powerful and the beautiful who surrounded Epstein, but the intellectuals — the Richard Dawkinses, the Daniel Dennetts, the Steven Pinkers. All men, of course. But the group selfies probably shouldn’t have been a surprise — documents of an age in which every millionaire doesn’t just fancy himself a philosopher-king but expects to be treated as such, and every public intellectual wants to be seen as a kind of celebrity.

Think about it. 


Sam L. said...

Can you say, "Groupies", boys and girls? Yes, I knew you could.

David Foster said...

A little different from the Salons frequented by the French Philosophes....

UbuMaccabee said...

A rich man used his wealth to procure young women for himself and his wealthy friends? All of recorded history is shocked. I’m just relieved he didn’t have them murdered arbitrarily after he tired of them. I guess that’s progress.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

It’s important to be important. Especially for those who know they’re not really all that important.

Apollo 11 was important. Jeffrey Epstein and his sycophant clients are not.

Anonymous said...

The penny dropped for me when I realized these networks are not primarily about sexual perversion or child abuse, but about power. In the same way terror isn't necessarily hatred of humanity, but a political and military technique.

Entrapment, Blackmail, "control files"= Power (and,not incidentally, Enslavement).

The general public doesn't wish to see or look at the possiblity or the reality of these networks.
Precisely the way the networks seem to like it.

UbuMaccabee said...

Anon said "Entrapment, Blackmail, "control files"= Power (and,not incidentally, Enslavement)."

The giant data colossus, with the aid of very sophisticated AI, scours the entire online landscape, all day every day, for targets. If someone wants you ruined, the AI hounds race across all of your traces and places to bring back information on their enemies. And it doesn't even require much human agency, just relentless computational power. It's East Germany but without the need for human informants or the limits of collecting and linking information together stored in filing cabinets and boxes.

If the Star Chamber at Google wants you gone, they can destroy your reputation with a couple of key strokes. And nobody is even paying attention. If fact, we are gladly giving them the rope they will use to hang us with.

Think "The Devil's Advocate" meets the "Matrix."

Perkins Coie and Fusion GPS are the intermediaries. They have been given targets and they keep the deep state an arm's length from the data hounds.

The networks are the delivery system to hammer home the outrage after the dirt has been gathered. Orange man bad, orange man bad, orange man bad. The 2 minutes of hate.