READERS are, most likely, aware of the hit job done by the Bloomsbury Group eminence Lytton Strachey on ‘eminent Victorians’, British alleged-stodges of the late nineteenth century. Strachey’s targets included Cardinal Manning and Florence Nightingale.
There has been an update on the Strachey methodology. Helen Andrews, an associate editor at The American Conservative, has published a book called Boomers: The Men and Women Who promised Freedom and Delivered Disaster, an entertaining and instructive takedown of the men and women of the Sixties who sought to liberate us from buttoned-down Christian constraint and traditionalist virtues.
Andrews’s editor at First Things magazine (where she also has written) said she was ideal to do a job on the boomers since she was ‘an essayist’ and ‘nasty’. She certainly can write, which helps as well.
Her argument (and the sub-title) in a nutshell was that her chosen targets ‘promised freedom and delivered disaster’. They did, indeed. Andrews’ approach is not a million miles from the takedown genre essayed by the late Sir Roger Scruton, whose magnificent slicing and dicing of the men of the then New Left – yes, they were all men – took form in his 1985 work Thinkers of the New Left, which was delightfully reprised in 2015 with a new title (Fools, Frauds and Firebrands) and the addition of some new, even wackier ‘thinkers’. The initial work got him ostracised from respectable academia for decades. The prolific Paul Johnson’s Intellectuals is another stellar example of the hit-piece genre.
According to one reviewer of Boomers (Kay Hymowitz at City Journal):
‘Andrews . . . makes an especially strong case for boomer perfidy. Her witty and cultivated prose is itself a rebuke to gonzo boomers’ hyperventilating non sequiturs. She aims to own the boomers, and there’s no denying that she succeeds – up to a point.’
One of Andrews’s motley collection of targets is Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Jobs in some senses was an outsider. He was fired from his own company (and came back much later to save it). A hippie, as Andrews points out, who in some ways remained a hippie. One who might be seen as the prototype ‘bobo’, or bourgeois bohemian, to borrow a phrase from the former New York Times house conservative, David Brooks. He personified counter-culture meeting capitalism.
He was, by repute, a nasty man to work for, idiosyncratic and prone to hubris. Business Insider magazine once discovered sixteen ways Jobs was a jerk. One of his daughters wrote a memoir which did little to exonerate him.
Andrews’s book, of course, is not out to expose people who are nasty jerks, but people who are exemplars of a generation that has turned out to have been a nasty jerk to the world. Steve Jobs would not be my own tech-target. Arguably, Jobs participated far less in oligarch, predatory behaviour than many of his peers have. The platform companies are the worst. Neither Jobs nor his company have ever tried to censor me. Facebook has. And all the rest of the first-generation platform companies do. Even LinkedIn, a platform for toadies and wannabes, now censors its own members. Jobs never tried to get me and my family to submit to a State injectible. Bill Gates – who is his own special case – has made this his global mission. Jobs seems to have been an evil wrongdoer in relation to his immediates. Big Tech 2.0 is an evil presence for the whole world.
In short, Big Tech 2.0 has delivered its own ‘eminent fascists’. Andrews’s targets achieved, she believes, with much evidence to support her, a ‘sundering of Western civilisation’. The eminent fascists have turned a sundered civilisation into a global police state. Sundering 2.0.
This suggests, perhaps, a Volume Two of the Andrews book, or a spinoff. What Big Tech has delivered goes way beyond mere ‘disaster’, to use Andrews’s term. Its participation in, indeed its steering of, the Covid State technocracy has delivered the end of personal freedom.
Zuckerberg and Gates are the principals here, though standing with them are the men and women who run Goolag, YouTube and Twitter.
These modern-day Rockefellers promised self-actualisation, as in Abraham Maslow’s classic formulation. Self-actualisation through technology, where we could see and do almost anything we might want. Veritable Nirvana.
Instead, they delivered 1984, where the corporate-statist industrial complex sees, regulates, indeed now controls in the age of Covid, everything we ever do. It censors into silence those who dare to push back. They promised connectivity, and delivered us into the hands of tyrants. They have ushered in hell, not heaven.
As Edward Curtin has noted: ‘In a high-tech society, loneliness is far more prevalent than in the past. The technology has imprisoned people behind their screens and now the controlling forces are intent on closing this mechanistic circle if they can. They call it The Great Reset. They have spent decades using technology to invade and pare down people’s inner private space where freedom to think and decide resides.’
‘Surveillance capitalism’ is how the accomplished scholar Shoshana Zuboff has described our dystopian, twenty-first century existence. The new normal. The coming world order. Life as we now know it, seen every day on the streets of our shuttered, fearful cities.
C J Hopkins perceptively calls it ‘GloboCap totalitarianism’, a new reality into which all the ruling classes of the world have bought. It is interesting that those who now run the capitalist order are totalitarian by instinct. Once upon a time, capitalists did indeed wish to become monopolists. Competition and honest commercial endeavour are so tedious. But they only ever wished to relieve us of our money. They didn’t have this need to control our lives and to make us miserable. Now they do, individually and as a hegemonic ruling class. In other words, they act as eminent fascists.
Here is Hopkins:
‘ . . . more and more people have come to see it [the Covid State] for what it is, not “insanity” or “an overreaction”, but, in fact, a new form of totalitarianism, a globalized, pathologized, depoliticized form, which is being systematically implemented under the guise of protecting the public health . . .
‘In the past, “reality” was openly ideological, regardless of which “reality” you lived in, because there were other competing “realities” out there. There aren’t any more. There is only the one “reality” because the entire planet – yes, including China, Russia, North Korea, and wherever – is controlled by one globally hegemonic system.’
Gates and the other oligarchs of Surveillance Valley have helped to craft this new reality. They have provided the architecture for Psyop 2020. They are doubly implicated in the global collapse of personal freedom. They are suppliers-in-chief of the tools of oppression wielded by the Covid State. As well, they run an oppression machine in the form of censorship (‘fact-checking’) that silences alternative narratives to those of the State. They provide us with addictive technology. They punish dissidents. They fund the evil deeds of Big Pharma. And they are signed up for the totalitarian New Normal schemes of both Schwab (the Great Reset) and Xi Jinping (the Chinese social credit system). The evil of corporations, generally, and of Big Tech in particular, lies in their reach into our lives. Their fascism lies in their breadth of control, their omniscience, their omnipotence and their creation of a new reality for a population of automatons.
They are not the only evil doers, of course. The inevitable Nuremberg Two trials will have embarrassing riches of accused in the dock. They have had plenty of enablers of the technocracy to provide support for their endeavours – supranational institutions such as the World Health Organisation, governments, cross-connected Big Pharma, opposition parties, incurious journalists, corporate media shills, third parties that go along to get along and who implement the lockdowns, the supine churches, health bureaucrats, dobbers, the police, some of whom seem to have been waiting all their lives for this, Covid State screamers and social media useful idiots.
‘How did we ever get to this point . . . where, instead of the cult existing as an island within the dominant culture, the cult has become the dominant culture, and those of us who have not joined the cult have become the isolated islands within it?’
Someone wise has said that we simply could not have had the Covid State twenty years ago. No apps, no contact tracing. No rolling Covid death porn. No extreme compliance. No vaccine apartheid. The current totalitarianism has many fathers, but Big Tech 2.0 explains much of the ‘how’.
Steve Jobs’s take on Bill Gates (quoted by Helen Andrews) is interesting:
‘Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy.’
What a wonderful put-down. Alas, Jobs missed the fact that it is not ‘philanthropy’ that engages Gates now, but wealth creation (for himself) and global power and control over people’s lives, directed towards an end goal, all disguised as philanthropy.
The eminent fascists Gates and Zuckerberg and their friends represent the evil that men now do, as they go about the destruction of the freedom-loving world, meeting less resistance than they could possibly have imagined and engineering a sadly non-fictional brave new world. The powerless simply watch on as we go full New Normal.