|One day in March of this year, a Google engineer named Justine Tunney created a strange and ultimately doomed petition at the White House website. The petition proposed a three-point national referendum, as follows:
1. Retire all government employees with full pensions.
This could easily be written off as stunt, a flamboyant act of corporate kiss-assery, which, on one level, it probably was. But Tunney happened to be serious. “It’s time for the U.S. Regime to politely take its exit from history and do what’s best for America,” she wrote. “The tech industry can offer us good governance and prevent further American decline.”
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.
Tunney was at one time a prominent and divisive fixture of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Lately, though, her views have ... evolved. How does an anticapitalist “tranarchist” (transgender anarchist) become a hard-right seditionist?
“Read Mencius Moldbug,” Tunney told her Twitter followers last month, referring to an aggressively dogmatic blogger with a reverent following in certain tech circles.
Tunney’s advice is easier said than done, for Moldbug is as prolific as he is incomprehensible. His devotees, many of whom are also bloggers, describe themselves as the “neoreactionary” vanguard of a “Dark Enlightenment.” They oppose popular suffrage, egalitarianism and pluralism. Some are atheists, while others affect obscure orthodox beliefs, but most are youngish white males embittered by “political correctness.” As best I can tell, their ideal society best resembles Blade Runner, but without all those Asian people cluttering up the streets. Neoreactionaries like to see themselves as the heroes of another sci-fi movie, in fact, sometimes boasting that they have been “redpilled,” like Keanu Reeves’s character in The Matrix—a movie Moldbug regards as “genius.”
“Moldbug.” The name sounds like it belongs to a troll who belches from the depths of an Internet rabbit hole. And so it does. Mencius Moldbug is theblogonym of Curtis Guy Yarvin, a San Francisco software developer andfrustrated poet. [...]
Elsewhere he confessed to having taken a grand total of five undergraduate humanities courses (history and creative writing). The lack of higher ed creds hasn’t hurt his confidence. On his blog, Yarvin holds forth on everything from the intricacies of Korean history to contemporary Pakistani politics, from the proper conduct of a counterinsurgency operation to macroeconomic theory andfiscal policy, and he never gives an inch. “The neat thing about primary sources is that often, it takes only one to prove your point,” he writes.
In short, Moldbug reads like an overconfident autodidact’s imitation of a Lewis Lapham essay—if Lewis Lapham were a fascist teenage Dungeon Master. [...]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003—Color coding scheme a joke:
|For those of you who suspected that the Department of Homeland Defense's color-coding scheme was a farce, reader Karen P sends in confirmation:
• 9.11.01: WTC And Pentagon Attacks (3,044 dead)
• 3.12.02: DHS's Homeland Security Advisory System established, alert set to Elevated
• 9.10.02: Alert changed to High
• 9.24.02: Alert changed to Elevated
• 4.11.02: Tunisian Synagogue Truck Bomb (20 dead)
• 5.8.02: Karachi Suicide Bomber (15 dead)
• 6.14.02: Karachi Car Bombing (11 dead)
• 10.6.02: French Tanker Bombing (1 dead)
• 10.12.02: Bali Bombing (185 dead)
• 11.28.02: Mombasa Bombing (15+ dead)
• 2.7.03: Alert changed to High
• 2.27.03: Alert changed to Elevated
• 3.17.03: Alert changed to High
• 4.16.03: Alert changed to Elevated
• 5.12.03: Riyadh Bombing (29+ dead)
• 5.16.03: Casablanca Bombing (41 dead)
• 5.20.03: Alert changed to High
In other words, the color-coding system is a crapshoot. Not even, because even a crapshoot gets it right occasionally.
Terrorists can strike when we're least prepared, that much is clear. So scrap this stupid "scare the people" gimmick once and for all. It's not doing anyone any good.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show: Nothing works like it's supposed to! Greg Dworkin rounds up primary news, the Tea Party's struggle to find purpose, and where the big money's being spent. Republicans set to pivot to climate change? "Republicans getting away with utter gibberish on Obamacare," and "McConnell Is No Longer the King of Kentucky." Today's story mash-up: Quinn Norton's "Everything is Broken," why Lavabit shut down, and yesterday's mash-up of NatSec & the legal system. Whatever you're an expert in, there's someone else who's an expert in undoing you, using a system you don't understand but have to interface with, anyway.