The Republican National Committee today excitedly announced the launch of a new startup lab to bring techies and creatives together, Silicon Valley-style, to get Republicans elected. Oh, and they named it for a Nazi gun, a type of ammo, and a philosophy that puts war before peace.That sounds horrible. That sounds Reince Priebus college-Republican smarmtastic vapid jingoistic hep-kids paradigm-shift buzzword-punching horrible. That the Latin phrase para bellum refers to the longer si vis pacem, para bellum: if you want peace, prepare for war is wonderfully pretentious, in that special college Republican sort of low-knowledge, high-volume pretentiousness; that the phrase has been co-opted by Nazi handguns, ammunition, and rock bands named after both brings it to another level of goofiness.
Welcome to Para Bellum Labs, America! "Para Bellum Labs will help create a culture to allow the RNC to innovate faster and recruit more talented people who can build digital platforms to understand public opinion, engage voters and power elections," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus gushed in a press release this morning. Para Bellum plans to recruit on top engineering school campuses and hold fun hackathons.
Alright, so what we have here is a recruitment drive for college Republicans who know about the internetz, and/or are elite haxors, and/or think the phrase Para Bellum is either an inside baseball reference to a neo-Nazi movement or, for the dumb ones, a Twilight reference, i.e. haxoring the internets "for Bella!", and all of this is a Reince Priebus effort to understand public opinion (good luck, fella) and power elections (all fine and good until your less-than-elite college Republican haxors inform you that Team Jacob has won over Team Edward by a hair, leaving you to parse out how that might apply to your upcoming attempts to rehabilitate Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or God Help You Mitt Romney for the next election).
No, sir. Count me out. There is nothing in life more frightening than an effort by the Republican National Committee to appear "cool" with the kids these days, through each of its various yearly iterations and guises. You can keep all your vampires, your circus clowns, your beady-eyed mimes, your bird-eating spiders outfitted with CIA-designed jetpacks and tiny little anti-bird missile systems; if you really want to be terrified, put yourself in a room with members of the professional Republican establishment and the sort of college kids who would willingly come into a room filled with members of the professional Republican establishment and listen to them attempt to convince each other that they know what the young folks are into these days. It will melt your brain.