Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Never Underestimate the Crazy

Upgraded and adapted from a response in the Moot:

The fact that serious figures like Dawkins (not that I'm a fan, but he is definitely a prominent and often quite serious person) can comfortably commingle in the same corral as obviously and assertively Robot Cultish folks like Michael A. should warn you not to fancy that the palpable ridiculousness of Robot Cultists will necessarily undermine, of itself, the spread of their influence.

An example I like to emphasize is that of the Neocons. Their nonsensical, dangerously belligerent views of the world and of defense policy were long ridiculed across the policy terrain: This was true among most elected Republicans as well as more sensible multilateralist diplomacy types, for instance Eisenhower famously dismissed them as among "the crazies." (None of this should be taken to imply that I regard/ed Cold War liberal hawkery as sensible either, obviously not.)

But the Neocons [1] stuck to their guns, [2] endlessly reiterated their compellingly simplistic formulations, [3] continued to appeal forcefully to powerful irrational passions (fear and greed were and remain the key ingredients), [4] undermined, via mass-mediation and the creation of a faux-academy think-tank archipelago, popular discourse on fraught topics in ways that eventually undermined professional and academic and then all public policy discourse as well, and [5] kept saying things rich people liked hearing (things that diverted public resources to Defense projects).

And, soon enough, without ever becoming the least bit less ridiculous, the Neocons found their way into serious power in especially the George W. Bush administration, from which perch they embarked on the catastrophically criminal mass-murderous economy-wrecking wars and occupations they had been dreaming of to the near ruin of the world. The Very Serious White Guys of The Future segment of the Robot Cult indulge [1] through [5] with perfectly -- what else? -- robotic drive and predictability, and it would be wrong to say that they are not achieving results even as they remain patently ridiculous all along.

Never underestimate the world-destroying power of a stubborn minority of privileged unaccomplished boring white guys saying palpably idiotic dangerous things that make them feel special and also make rich people think they will get even richer.

See: Ten Reasons to Take Seriously the Transhumanists, Singularitarians, Techno-Immortalists, Nano-Cornucopiasts and Other Assorted Robot Cultists and White Guys of "The Future" for a fuller but still concise elaboration of the point.

No comments: