Neoliberal tech-talk and what I have been disdaining throughout this primary season as "purity cabaret" (preening in the context of inherently compromised partisan politics about refusing "lesser evils" while enabling thereby greater evils when one is insulated by privilege from many of the consequences of such a stance) actually have a lot in common: both fancy themselves or at any rate peddle themselves as revolutionary while at once disdaining quite a lot of the practical substance of the social struggle such transformations demand, whether as a matter of long, heartbreaking, compromised progressive reform and problem solving amidst diversity or translating error-prone, costly, risky, qualified empirical results into safe, sustainable, equitable technoscientific benefits. It has been encouraging to see how marginal the fauxvolutionary party-crashers and bern-it-downers turned out to be given the level of noise they generated throughout the primary contest, but it is discouraging to think those who see through the fauxvolutionary hype of corporate-military futurological marketing and ideology and robocultic fandom as I do might be comparably marginal.
I do think both of these tendencies -- tech-talk and purity cabaret, let us say -- are a threat to progressive democratization in a country the diversification, secularization, and planetization of which is (and has increasingly already been over the course of the Obama years) otherwise very promising to the politics of sustainable equity-in-diversity. There is at least a superficial similarity in both of these tendencies -- the insistent anti-pragmatism of the loser-left fauxvolutionaries and the reductionism/instrumentalization of progress by the futurological fauxvolutionaries conjoined to a displacement of policy deliberation by sub-cultural signaling via celebrity fandoms for implausible unqualified DreamPrez candidates like Bernie Sanders or comic book refigurations of tech-CEOs like Elon Musk. Taken together self-righteous anti-pragmatism, technological determinism, reductive characterizations of historical change, and celebrity fandom all contribute to an anti-politicisms in the service of reactionary politics peddled with explicit appeals to "progressive" imagery and language.
I have long argued that pragmatic progressive partisan politics -- this means in the United States Democratic Party politics against the GOP (and I have also repeatedly pointed out that there are other important forms of politics than these, that these are indispensable but absolutely inadequate on their own) -- is profoundly susceptible to undermining via both of these routes, and it really does seem as though people who manage not to fall for one are depressingly prone to fall for the other. But I don't know if these similarities really matter more than more specific social/cultural vicissitudes playing out in the moment, I haven't really given much thought to it all, and anyway I am rather distressed and saddened and these days more than occasionally enraged by the whole topic.