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

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Robot Cultist Martine Rothblatt Is In the News

If you scroll down to the name "Martine Rothblatt" in the Superlative Summary (an archive of anti-futurological critiques and also rants of mine) you will find The "Imagination" of a Robot Cultist, More Serious Futurology from Martine Rothblatt, and Martine Rothblatt's Artificial Imbecillence, or if you scroll to the topic "Avatar Techno-Immortalism" and you will find a piece critique of one of Rothblatt's pet projects What's Wrong With Terasem?

Not to put too fine a point on it, I think it actually matters that we don't know enough about brains to understand let alone replicate let alone "exceed" human consciousness, and that confident proposals based on such mastery, especially proposals that tap into irrational passions for superintelligence and immortality (or, more to the point, irrational fears of vulnerabilities to error and misunderstanding or irrational fears of aging and death), are profoundly irresponsible, deceptive even if also self-deceived, and when propounded in the tonalities of promises of salvation for the faithful, at once pseudo-scientific, even anti-scientific, amounting to flim-flam operations.

Of course, the world -- and especially the pop-tech press -- is full of hype and loose talk and promises of sooper-powers and looming apocalypse. Isn't all this rather harmless if it isn't taken too seriously? Rothblatt rather seems like fun for a dinner party.

At the risk of being a fuddy-duddy, the fact is that in a time of planetary environmental catastrophes and digital networked surveillance and marketing formations we happen to need quite desperately to be able to make recourse to warranted scientific consensus in the context of the most accountable possible democracy to help solve our shared problems and implement harm-reducing public policies and maintain renewable and equitable public infrastructural affordances. Pseudo-science whether in the form of climate change denialism, homeopathic evangelism, or futurological techno-transcendentalism erodes standards, suffuses public deliberation with skewed stakes, and distracts attention from real problems and real possibilities.

Quite apart from all that, I personally think that those who fear death in ways that lead them to fixate on nanobots spinning shiny robot bodies out of their frozen hamburgerized brains or to fixate instead on having their "info-souls" "scanned" or "uploaded" so as to live as cyberangels in Holodeck Heaven (more to Rothblatt's way of pining) can be tragically more dead in their dread and denial than they need be in life, and all to be quite as dead in death as everybody ends up being anyway. And while we have had nearly a century by now of cocksure computer enthusiasts declaring that their reductive disembodied often sociopathic conceptions of human intelligence are the springboard for the arrival of artificial intelligence any moment now, year after year after year, usually just Twenty Years in the Future! never diminished in their certainty despite the endless deferral of the dream, worse than the facile techno-cheerleading of it all for me is that despite their serial failures the impoverished understanding of intelligence that fuels their failed vision meets with success after success, as we call more and more dumb devices and programs "smart" that are not, all the while risking losing altogether the sense of the distinctiveness and demands of the actually incarnated intelligence of real live human beings in the world, losing our capacity to appreciate and empathize and support the decent, delicate, delicious collaborating consciousnesses of billions of living needful earthlings who share this world in this moment with us as real stakeholders: Fixated instead on our stupid smart cards, our stupid smart cars, our stupid smart homes, our stupid smart phones, a whole stupid smart crap avalanche tumbles toward the landfill take would take us all down with it.

All that said, I find it quite easy to agree with the main assertion of a rather breathless profile of Rothblatt in Jezebel today: "One of the world's most fascinating humans is easily Martine Rothblatt, America's highest-paid female CEO. A futurist and trans woman who cofounded both Sirius Satellite Radio and a biotech company, she's got a robot replica of her wife and believes that soon, tech will allow our consciousnesses to live forever." Fascinating? Unquestionably. The Jezebel profile refers to another higher-profile profile of Rothblatt published in New York magazine last weekend. Jezebel describes that piece as "exhaustive" but I failed to see mention in that piece (nor in the Jezebel piece) of Rothblatt's "solution" for "achieving lasting peace in the Middle East," namely, that Israel and Palestine both be admitted as States in the United States of America. Because if anything is obvious to everybody it is that the United States has not been involved enough in Israeli politics? Rothblatt wrote a whole book about it. That proposal is also "fascinating" to say the least, but perhaps there are too many other words that come to mind to describe it for it to find its way to a mention in a sympathetic fluff piece on the occasion of the flogging yet another new book, this one saying nothing new to those who have been following the techno-immortalist sects of the transhumanist and singularitarian Robot Cult with any kind of attention.

Anyway, I can't say that I am saying anything new either in responding to Rothblatt's latest star turn. The truth is that I was inspired to write this mostly because of the comments on the Jezebel piece. These seemed to me to be quite encouraging, which in itself really did feel like something new to me. The first thing I was pleased to see is that so many of the commenters were vigilant and fierce in policing any dumb transphobia on exhibition in these pieces or occasioned by them. There has been more and more of that in online precincts especially, and as a queer geek and queer theoryhead of many years it just makes me happy to find so much ferocious intelligence and impatience with cissexist and transphobic discourse in the world. But the second thing I was pleased to see is that even in geeky online fora lots of people are having no truck with transhumanoid and immortalist futurological formulations -- many more people seem to recognize that techno-transcendentalisms are pseudo-scientific varieties of evangelical flim-flam or corporate-militarist apologiae and hype. Back in the days when the libertechbrotarians ruled over so much of the cyberspatial sprawl it seemed any corporate press release hyperventilating a modest qualified app or lab result into a Royal Road to techno-utopian godhood was greeted with blissed out consumer fandoms and saucer-eyed True Believers who would cast out the least skepticism like a band of rabid Ayn Rand protagonists slashing at moochers with their blade-sharp sculpted cheekbones. Those days, it seems, at least for now, are over.


jimf said...
She founded United Therapeutics pharmaceutical company after their
child was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension - a
life-threatening condition that restricts blood flow to the lungs.

The drug Orenitram started publicly trading in 1999 at $12.

Last year, after two failed attempts, Rothblatt got approval
for the drug in pill form from the Food and Drug Administration.

Well, I wonder if United Therapeutics is going to buy one
of these:

On the other hand, if Watson is playing Jeopardy, and gets an answer wrong
(sometimes hilariously wrong), it's usually pretty obvious to just about
everyone present.

But if a Watson-based expert system is recommending lines of research
to a drug company, who the hell is going to know if the software
is leading a research department on a wild goose chase?

And even if some canny researcher at the pharma outfit does twig
to the fact, who the hell are you gonna call at IBM to get the system
fixed? IBM is a computer company, not a drug company, so how
many domain experts in various fields are they going to retain
to keep their expert systems working? Or, is somebody at the
drug company going to have to use an "SDK" to update Watson's

But hey -- if it works, hallelujah!

Loc. cit.
Now, she and Bina lead a new 'trans' religion called Terasem,
which sees the body as a shell for the mind - as they develop
digital clones through which we can 'live after death'.
Night10194 posted:

> I'm really tempted to talk to one of my professors about
> writing a religious studies paper on this particular cult
> [of Yudkowsky's LessWrong] and if he thinks it'd be viable/publishable.
> It's just fascinating to me, to see the denial of any religious
> thought in a faith community and yet see their eschaton is
> so close to the classic one formed by the dominant religion
> in their home region. Religious thinking arising from a professed
> complete lack of religion.

effin go for it, dude! It can't hurt to ask.

jimf said...

Girls just wanna have fun, and billionaires just wanna live
forever. So, is that too much to ask? It can't hurt to
ask, right?

In his now-defunct "In The Shadow of Mt. Hollywood" blog,
writer John Bruce commented back in 2006:
Wednesday, May 10, 2006

. . .

Narcissism As A Motivator For Cryonics

It occurred to me after I put up the post on narcissism
and transhumanism just below that cryonics might in fact
be the perfect mode of interment for narcissists, irrespective
of whether they can be pulled out of the dewar, connected
to some new or transplant body, and revivified at some future
date. The narcissist has a static, idealized self-image that's
exactly the opposite of the memento mori skull. What better
way to preserve it than freezing?

. . .

My own feeling is that science fiction – not actual technological
advance – drives transhumanism. The appeal transhumanism has to
narcissists is the potential for refusing to acknowledge the
passage of time, as well as a static, immortal, grandiose self-image.
The humorlessness comes with the territory.

Transhumanism seems to have a particular appeal to the wealthy –
look at the Silicon Valley millionaires on the board of the
Foresight Nanotech Institute, for instance – and I think this
follows. A narcissistic rich person can control a great many things,
but there’s one threat that won’t go away: you’re going to die,
no matter how rich you are. Get rid of that one fly in the ointment,
and you’ve got it made: a static, timeless self-image of a rich guy.
(Failing that, freezing your head comes in as a valid second choice.)
and )

It seems I've been encountering this "billionaire who will do anything
to achieve personal immortality" trope in rapid-fire succession
recently; e.g., in:

Arthur Maitland (of "Maitland Industries" and
the "National Research Institute")
in _The Immortal_ TV show (1970).
(a few episodes are available on YouTube).

Josef Virek in William Gibson's _Count Zero_ (1986).

Senator Tony Kreutzer (of "The Wild Palms Group")
in _Wild Palms_ (1993).
(Available on YouTube).

Eldritch Palmer (of "The Stoneheart Group") in
Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan'a _The Strain_
(books and TV show) -- who, in addition to
handing over New York City to an old-world vampire in
exchange for the promise of eternal life (which he
doesn't get in the end, at least in the book -- you
just can't trust those vampires) also (at least in the
show; I can't remember whether it's also in
the book) gets an illegally-harvested liver.
(Season 1 episodes 1-8 are available on YouTube.)

(Steve Jobs is also alleged to have been improperly
fast-tracked for a liver transplant, though I don't **think** anybody
has suggested another person was murdered to get it for him.)

Of course, TV Tropes has a relevant entry:
(Transhumanism is mentioned in the "Real Life" folder. ;-> )

jimf said...

> I failed to see mention in that piece (nor in the Jezebel piece)
> of Rothblatt's "solution" for "achieving lasting peace in the Middle East,"
> namely, that Israel and Palestine both be admitted as States in the
> United States of America.

Great idea!

But hey, why stop with Israel and Palestine. Just go down the whole list
of United Nations members (and Taiwan too!) and "admit" them **all**
as states in the United States of America.

That way, we don't have to send the army Baq to Iraq, we can just send
the National Guard. (Just like Ferguson, Missouri. Right?)

jimf said...

> And while we have had nearly a century by now of cocksure computer
> enthusiasts declaring that their reductive disembodied often
> sociopathic conceptions of human intelligence are the springboard
> for the arrival of artificial intelligence any moment now, year
> after year after year, usually just Twenty Years in the Future!
> never diminished in their certainty despite the endless deferral
> of the dream

Just came across this in William Gibson's _Mona Lisa Overdrive_
(paperback edition, pp. 195 - 197):

Closing the door behind her, she . . . took the Maas-Neotek unit from
her pocket. . .

She looked into Colin's transparent green eyes. . .

"What are you?"

"A Maas-Neotek biochip personality-base programmed to aid and
advise the Japanese visitor in the United Kingdom." He winked at
her. . .

She looked down at the unit in her hand. "Lanier," she said.
"Tell me."

"Ten/twenty-five/sixteen: AM," he said. Her head filled with
disembodied voices. . .

If that's a **date** -- i.e. 25 October 2016, that puts the date of
the events of _Mona..._ (1988) in 2016, the events in _Count Zero_ (1986)
in 2009, and the events of _Neuromancer_ (1984) in 2002.

We're sadly behind schedule. :-(

But hey, cheer up! We're certain to have still better TVs,
before the world ends!

Sony et al. are coming out with an ultra-high-definition
version of Blu-Ray discs next year (4k pixels, with 2 additional bits-per-pixel
in each color channel [for greater dark-to-bright dynamic range]
and also a new color-encoding scheme
encompassing a much broader color gamut)

I may see yet one more iteration of Star Trek home video
upgrades during my life! If CBS remasters Star Trek **yet again** for
the new format sometime in the next decade, that will be about as
much picture information as exists in the original

Isn't that as much "future" as one person could as for?

jimf said...

> The first thing I was pleased to see is that so many of the commenters
> were vigilant and fierce in policing any dumb transphobia on exhibition
> in these pieces or occasioned by them. There has been more and more
> of that in online precincts especially, and as a queer geek and queer
> theoryhead of many years it just makes me happy to find so much ferocious
> intelligence and impatience with cissexist and transphobic discourse
> in the world.

Speaking of ferocious intelligence:
The Purpose of Reactionaries
Posted on May 27, 2014 by Michael Anissimov

. . .

There are other trends or lifestyles which threaten the
American family. . .

Another trend is the rapidly falling testosterone among American men,
which has gone so far as to cause some men to dress up and pretend they
are women. They might even get surgery to mutilate their genital organs.
This behavior is destructive, a form of self-indulgence and escape which
contributes to the breakdown of societal fabric. If communities are going
to reap the benefits of strong families, they will have to reject and
condemn these behaviors. Otherwise, the demographic suffers from
below replacement births and has no future. A shrinking demographic
is a dying demographic.

I do hope the MoreRight folks submit an amicus brief to the Supreme Court
to put them on the Right track in the upcoming battle over gay

jimf said...

(via )

"Welcome to the latest political fashion among the California Confederacy:
total corporate despotism. It is a potent and bitter ideological mash
that could have only been concocted at tech culture’s funky smoothie
bar—a little Steve Jobs here, a little Ayn Rand there, and some
Ray Kurzweil for color."

Apropos of which:
The Kind of People Who Should Be Nowhere Near Neoreaction
Posted on June 2, 2014 by Michael Anissimov

Justin [sic] Tunney on Twitter yesterday:

> @JustineTunney
> When geeks eventually take power, there
> won't be any mercy for the society that
> once bullied us from cradle to grave. Be
> afraid.
> 8:06 AM - 1 Jun 2014

The integrity of this intellectual project is at stake when people
publicly associated with neoreaction by the media are making comments
like this. That’s why I’ve asked for people within neoreaction not
to associate with him. . .

The credibility and viability of neoreaction—no matter what its role
ultimately may be—is at stake.

Another comment from Reactivity Place:

> It’s not a matter of whether it is unbecoming of a reactionary to
> speak publicly with Justine Tunney, it’s whether speaking to
> Justine Tunney does unnecessary, and potentially irreparable,
> harm to Neoreaction. It’s not just that she’s is transsexual, or
> that she was formerly associated with OWS, or that she’s a public
> figure who has advocated for neocameralism (sort of). None of
> these things by themselves are particularly dangerous. It’s all
> of these things together, however, that presents a threat. . .
> Evidence of this is the baffler article. . .
> It’s bad PR and image matters. This association undermines and
> discredits neoreaction and severely damages recruiting efforts.
> Bad press is going to happen, but it should be controlled to the
> extent that it can. . .

There is definitely a place for being welcoming to curious learners,
people who have not accepted right-wing principles yet, etc. I am not
objecting to that. But there is a threshold of insanity that should
simply be rejected outright. We have a clear example of that here. . .

Bless me, Orville Redenbacher!

Dale Carrico said...

The ongoing train wreck that is Michael Anissimov.

jimf said...

Apparently, "NRx" means "Neoreaction". But I haven't looked up the
rest of these: "In my experience, the biggest threat to RxD
(NR, NRx, DE, Trad, paleo, etc.) is going to be entryists who are
perfect in outward form but not coherent with the spirit of the
ideology at their core."
( )

(Also via
and )
The Final Word on #Trannygate
Posted on 2014/05/31

Over the past weeks of controversy, I have striven to maintain peace between
Michael Anissimov and Bryce Laliberte and supporters of each. . . .
The only side I care to be on is that of the Truth. . .

Part I: On Talking to Whom

Talking to, being friends with, showing normal human kindness to a
disordered person is not tantamount to:

a) approving all the free choices that person has made; or
b) favoring social and/or legal norms that support the person’s disorder; or
c) joining them in their organization (should it exist); or
d) inviting them into your organization (should it exist). . .

I shall consider all future allegations. . . to the effect that talking to,
being friends with, or showing kindness to any disordered person is
per se wrong. . . to be moot, null, and in horribly poor taste.
I therefore declare this point settled and to represent the
Official Neoreactionary Position. . .

Part III: On Purging

Let me first be clear: Purging is a power necessary to guard the stability
and principles of An Institution.

But if one wishes to engage in a purge, all of the following are required:

1) An Institution, i.e., with rules and hierarchy and (probably) oaths of loyalty;

2) Legitimate authority within that Institution;

3) Good cause to purge;

Even if Michael Anissimov had (3) (which he doesn’t based on Part I above), he
yet lacks (1) and (2). If someone wants to purge someone else then show up
with an Institution and your name at the top of it, and then there’ll be
something to talk about. Until then, all future such attempts to purge are
moot, null, damaging, extremely embarrassing, and in very poor taste.
This shall be construed as the Official Neoreactionary Position. . .

#Trannygate is over. This shall be construed as the Official Neoreactionary
Position on the subject. . .


nickbsteves says:
2014/05/31 at 16:38

. . .

[P]lus twitter is riproariously fun from time to time.

So it would seem. ;->

jimf said...

> The ongoing train wreck that is Michael Anissimov.
Additionally, Anissimov tried to tell me, a 47 year-old man with more
innate social conservatism in his left pinky than he’ll ever have
in his whole body, that it was “inappropriate” for me to have a
meetup with Oddblots and others in the NYC-area neoreactionary community.

The impudence!

Vocabulary word of the day: "entryist".
Bryce talked to the infamous Justine Tunney person.
Anissimov thinks she/he is contagious or something, plus
some danger to NRx, or something, idk. Suspect Tunney
is an entryist trying to infiltrate and ruin neoreaction.
He thinks all who talk to Tunney are leftists.

Bryce talks to Tunney, therefore he is a leftist and must either
repent his sins or be purged.

Yes, it’s exactly as stupid as it sounds.


Ever read about the history of Objectivism? Rand purged people
who weren’t intellectually pure too. It really did degenerate
into a cult and the current bullshit over “omg Bryce talked to a tranny”
is verging on that territory. If you really want NRx to go anywhere,
then don’t model it on *any* libertarian thought-cult.


Apparently people who talk to leftists without explicitly trying
to convert them or kill them (preferably) are leftists themselves.
ALWAYS. I am not sure what this logical fallacy is called, but I
am pretty sure it is one. . .

Nick B Steves tried to talk some sense to the kid, with some really
elaborate post on why that is bullshit, but he either ignored it or
missed the point. . .

If Anissimov is serious about this, he is overly paranoid,
borderline hysterical. Nearly insane. If he is not, he is doing it
only for the status games and signalling who is the bigger monkey.
Which makes him a narcissist. Also insane.

My diagnosis: Anissimov has gone insane.

Damned if you are, damned if you aren't. ;->

jimf said...
The Dark Enlightenment is controlled by what the media call “Sith Lords”.

[The media? You mean like Fox News and CNN?]

You have more public Lords like Mencius Moldbug and Nick Land, but
there are even some Lords up higher whose names are not revealed.

They say the Master Lord says ‘Et Ego in Arcadia’ which is an
anagram for ‘Tego Arcana Dei’ (“I hide the secrets of God”).

["The Master Lord"? What is this, _The Strain_?]

But only the media call them ‘Sith Lords’. In Inner Speak, they will
often use phrases like the Men of Númenor or the Eldars.

[Oh, crap. Can't we leave Tolkien out of this? No, I suppose
not -- Peter Thiel is a Tolkien fan. Is that their usage, I
wonder -- "Eldars"? That's a solecism. "Eldar" is already
plural. The singular is "Elda". But I don't suppose any of them
actually bother with the details of Quenya.]

I never met any of the higher Eldars, but I did once meet an Eldar
in Training. I don’t know his real name but people called him Legolas.
He had long blond hair, was dressed like a 19th century count,
and wore a pendant that had both a Christian Cross and
Thor’s Hammer on it.

[Oh, f***.]

Loc. cit.
> I was initiated into the first stages of the Dark Enlightenment,
> which involved me stripping down naked so people could “inspect my phenotype”.
> I was then given a series of very personal questions, often relating
> to sexual matters.

. . .

“Hey girl! I want to inspect your phenotype” has to be biggest
Loser Nerd Living in the Basement Endlessly Watching “Triumph of the Will”
Warning to Women in Human History. The people most obsessed with
passing on their Master Race genes always seem to be the ones
who can’t get a date.

jimf said...
Dread Techlord: Why to Worry about the Dark Enlightenment
May 27, 2014

“I think a truly enlightened stance would be: violence
may be justified against parasites who lack virtue.”

– Justine Tunney, Software Engineer at Google

Google, huh. Great.

Loc. cit.
Rather than write off the movement as a nerdy non-entity that
is beneath one’s concern, it is important to see how this
reactionary strain is uniquely positioned to cause severe
damage in the event of a social crisis that leaves people open
to anti-liberal beliefs. This is a situation which has been
made possible by the persistent libertarian ideology of elitist
tech sector employees, whose material advantages leave them
uniquely positioned to spread reactionary thought and practice.
As remote as the possibility may seem, the potential explosion
in popularity of NRx ideas gives a strong incentive to begin
laying down frameworks of opposition against them today
in the form of labor organization and intersectional thought.

jimf said...

On outrage -- against the “oppression” of the naturally
stronger by the naturally weak and the state -- as
the aesthetic of a Web brand:
What I think requires more thought is the contribution to NRx,
in terms of both form and substance, by the ethno-nationalists,
the Neo-pagans, the more-authoritarian-than-the-SSPX Catholics,
the Nietzchean trans-humanists, etc . One could say that all of
these differing bodies of thought and practice hardly matter in
of themselves, since it all comes down to the glorification of
technologically enchanted capitalist hierarchy in the end. But
from another angle, it’s these philosophies and religions that
provide the subjective hook, and, especially if immediately putting
Nrx ideas into practice in the world of politics-business is
impossible, a way of living out and renewing “the vision” in
an everyday way (if only as the aesthetic of a web brand). . .

I would also say that in terms of ideological struggle, it should
be borne in mind that the antipathy towards democracy and disdain
for egalitarianism Dark Enlightenment runs deeper than a lack of
awareness of the intersection of differing oppressions. Guided by
different political ends, they recognize a differing set of alleged
oppressions as relevant (I.e. the “oppression” of the naturally
stronger by the naturally weak and the state). To merely reaffirm
that exploitation and marginalization exist in different interlocking
forms, therefore, does not touch the more fundamental ideological
commitments undergirding their position, the commitments which
establish the goal of their project, and make their particular
defense of privilege and loathing of the masses a live option
for many who as yet remain outside of it.

"The sick are the greatest danger for the well. The weaker,
not the stronger, are the strong's undoing. It is not **fear**
of our fellow-man, which we should wish to see diminished;
for fear rouses those who are strong to become terrible
in turn themselves, and preserves the hard-earned and
successful type of humanity. What is to be dreaded by us
more than any other doom is not fear, but rather the great
disgust; not fear, but rather the great pity -- disgust
and pity for our human fellows. . . . The **morbid** are
our greatest peril, not the "bad" men, not the predatory
beings. Those born wrong, the miscarried, the broken --
they it is, the **weakest**, who are undermining the vitality
of the race, poisoning our trust in life, and putting
humanity in question. Every look of them is a sigh --
'Would I were something other! I am sick and tired of
what I am.' In this swamp-soil of self-contempt, every
poisonous weed flourishes, and all so small, so secret,
so dishonest, and so sweetly rotten. Here swarm the
worms of sensitiveness and resentment; here the air smells
odious with secrecy, with what is not to be acknowledged;
here is woven endlessly the net of the meanest of
conspiracies, the conspiracy of those who suffer against
those who succeed and are victorious; here the very
aspect of the victorious is hated -- as if health,
success, strength, pride, and the sense of power were
in themselves things vicious, for which one ought eventually
to make bitter expiation. Oh, how these people would
themselves like to inflict the expiation, how they thirst
to be the hangmen! And all the while their duplicity
never confesses their hatred to be hatred."

-- Friedrich Nietzsche, _Zur Genealogie der
Moral_, Dritte Abhandlung, Sect. 14

(quoted by William James in _The Varieties of
Religious Experience_)

jimf said...
Even that most-solipsistic of clades, the libertarians,
used to declare fealty to Adam Smith's process, albeit
grudgingly. But you had only to look at their favorite
books and stories to detect an undercurrent and foretell
that it would emerge openly, someday, into betrayal of
Smith. Idolatry of the Nietzschean ubermensch or superman --
the figure every geek supposes himself to be -- oppressed
and kept from his natural place on-top by jealous mobs of
bullies, like those who oppressed him on the playground.
Where every young nerd (myself included) muttered:
"just you wait till I come into my powers!"

From Ayn Rand to Harry Potter to Star Wars to Orson Scott Card,
how many mythologies have catered to that fantasy, in all
its voluptuous, masturbatory solipsism? In contrast, can
you count any mythic systems -- other than Star Trek -- that
encouraged a different view? Recognition that "I am a member
of a civilization"? One that made million miracles possible?
Not by unleashing a few demigods, but by stimulating the
collaborative and competitive efforts of whole scads of
bright folks who are merely way-above-average?

Well, the pretense may be over, fellas and gals. Welcome
to Nietzsche World.

Welcome to the Rapture of the Ingrates.

It is called the "Neo-Reactionary Movement" -- a quasi-new cult
that yearns for the ancien régime of monarchy and feudal rule.
One that rejects Adam Smith and Franklin and the entire Enlightenment.
And above all -- democracy.

jimf said...
Occupying the Throne: Justine Tunney, Neoreactionaries, and the New 1%
Arthur Chu

How do you go from far-left socialist to far-right monarchist
in three years?

How do you go from, in 2011, marching in self-declared solidarity
with the “99 Percent” holding a banner saying “Give Class War A
Chance” to, in 2014, tweeting that liberalism is “Truly one of
the worst ideas ever,” calling for a return to aristocracy
with techies as the aristocrats and saying the solution to the
unemployment crisis is to bring back chattel slavery?

You wouldn’t think it was possible. But Google software engineer
Justine Tunney did exactly that. . .

There’s one tweet that’s particularly telling from Tunney:

> The reason why techies tend to dislike democracy, is because
> we're not very good at popularity contests.
> — Justine Tunney (@JustineTunney) June 28, 2014

Well, being unpopular because you’re short, or not physically attractive,
or a different gender or skin color than people expect—that’s bad.
That’s something I agree we should fight against.

Being unpopular because, say, you lock everyone else out of a communal
online account because you feel you own it because you set it up?
Being unpopular for using your cleverness to skirt regulations and
skim huge profits off of other people’s work and other people’s resources?
Being unpopular for being a selfish jerk who hurts other people
and doesn’t care because you think your technical skill entitles
you to immunity from social repercussions?

That’s a whole other kind of unpopularity.

Dale Carrico said...

I am shocked, I say, shocked to discover that self-declared reactionaries would be disgusting ignorant bigots.