The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Well-meaning American Oligarchy Are SO Misunderstood

Just saw an instance of the argument that, “The people who have been enriching themselves by fucking everyone else for four decades are misunderstood, they’re just following the incentives, and suggesting that the people killing and impoverishing you are bad is polarizing.”


Everyone is well-meaning, and it’s all just a misunderstanding. They don’t mean for people to die or suffer when they cut food stamps, or welfare, or start wars, or don’t handle a pandemic. Oh no, it’s all just a misunderstanding driven by market laws that the beneficiaries themselves didn’t create (they are far different than the market laws which existed from 1933 to 1979 and which produced very different results).

Those laws just fell out of the sky, and weren’t created by men and women who wanted certain outcomes.

Why, if only our rulers understood that the market laws that appeared during their reign, without them doing anything to create them, were bad for almost everyone, surely they would change those laws to laws which raised wages, removed the wealth of billionaires, and ended American oligarchy while relieving poverty and providing universal health care!

It is, indeed, all just a misunderstanding. I feel terrible that I have suggested that people who fought for well over 40 years (they took power in 1980, but fought for that victory long before) actually understood what they were fighting for. Surely, they believed that reducing taxes on the rich and corporations, slashing welfare, creating a carceral state, running asset bubbles, and deliberately crushing wage inflation with the Federal Reserve would resound to the benefit of every American, not just those they favored.

Why, they had no idea that making the rich richer and ensuring everyone else got raises below inflation would not be to the benefit of all!


It’s all just a misunderstanding. They didn’t know that they were doing evil. Every time they took food out of a mother or child’s mouth by cutting welfare and food stamps they said, “This is for their own good,” and believed it.

And a person who believes starving someone else is good isn’t a bad person. They’re a good person, but confused.

Every time they crushed wages by raising interest rates to crash the economy when wages increased faster than inflation, they were doing it for the sake of ordinary Americans, not to keep wages down to benefit their own class. And every time they gave money or tax cuts to the richest, well, that’s been so that the rich could pay high… er, do something for ordinary Americans, something I’m too stupid to understand, since I think things like: “People create market laws, they don’t drop out of the sky.”

Shows what I know!

Certainly, people who crush wages, obstruct universal health care, fuck up a pandemic, take food out of the mouths of children and poor people are just misunderstood. They’ve been acting for Americans own good, and we just need to explain to those in power that they’re mistaken and politely ask them to change the rules (oh wait, they don’t create the rules, but perhaps new rules can fall out of the sky). Forty years hasn’t been long enough for them to figure out on their own that doing more of the same thing will keep hurting everyone but the rich and the wealthy.

It’s good to live in such a world, a world where we all want the best for humanity, a decent living, kindness, food and shelter for all, and where we are just arguing over means. And, surely, we are all reasonable and can understand that our policies must change, even if after 40 years they have made a few filthy rich and impoverished everyone else? Who would think that deliberately crushing wages would crush wages? Who would think that running asset bubbles would favor those with more money rather than those with less money?

No one could have anticipated these things, and Nancy Pelosi, who is worth 120 million dollars, is aghast that all this has happened. Why, if only she had understood that crushing wages and favoring the rich would hurt most Americans and help the rich! It’s all just a big misunderstanding, and Nancy just didn’t get it. Neither did Obama, or Trump, or McConnell, or Reagan, or Clinton, or… why there are so many well-meaning people who didn’t understand! The Koch brothers would never have supported all these policies if they knew they would hurt almost everyone else except themselves. Nor would all the other billionaires, and centi-millionaires, and deci-millionaires, and the people who work for them!

This has removed a great burden from me. I know now that it’s all just a big misunderstanding, that the rulers are good people who want the best for everyone and are just a little thick–not understanding that policies meant to hurt ordinary people and make rich people richer would, in fact, hurt ordinary people and make rich people richer.

Good people can disagree, and now that we know that the majority of our leaders are good people, who are just a little mentally challenged, why, I’m sure we can clear this up in no time, and have a good, kind, fair economy that helps everyone again. Pelosi and Trump will be thrilled to work together on this, I know.

What a RELIEF.

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America’s Elites Live by the Rule of Power (Covid Version)


Open Thread


  1. bruce wilder

    11, again


  2. Kert Do Little

    Sorry Ian, Mother Nature does not grade on a curve for all the little snowflakes who mistake quality control for oppression.

    The laws of nature are no there to comfort humans. They are there to force advancement.

    Evolve or perish.

  3. Ian Welsh

    The laws of the market are not laws of nature and anyone who thinks they are is mentally or morally defective, probably both.

  4. anon

    Ian: I think one thing worth exploring is the question of whether this behaviour of self-enrichment is consciously evil or whether it\’s instead something like amorality, a vacuum, that happens to have (predictable) ghastly consequences.

    I imagine that most elites would refuse to admit, to others or even themselves, that they\’ve ratfucked the general population for decades; they\’d instead refer to a justifying ideology (neoliberalism, right-libertarianism, etc.), claiming that they \”see no evil\”, etc.

    But it\’d be interesting to get your thoughts in a following essay. It\’s a rich topic.

  5. Guest

    Basically “Don’t hate the playa, hate the game”. Just their glib rationalizations for their own complicity in our dehumanizing domestic society and wars abroad. They’re like those women who nearly kill pedestrians with their cars because they were texting or doing their make up, then they give you a smile and a wave for their ooopsie and can’t understand why you have to make it such an ugly incident.

  6. bruce wilder

    Under the post, War Crime Apologia, several commenters made useful observations concerning the shortcomings of a moral analytics of state policy that relies too much on narrative intention.

    Well, here we are again. “Free market” ideology is all about marrying delusional, fantasy accounts of social mechanism and institutions to convenient narratives of policy intention.

    In one case, “we” are intervening (i.e. killing people and blowing up infrastructure) to vindicate the rights of Afghan women or some such nonsense, fight the dictator, the very “evil” Hitler du jour et cetera.

    In the other, “competition” is supposed to bring about “consumer” benefits, never mind the burgeoning power of business “monopolies”. The neoliberal always has a story about how adding to the concentrated power of capital is going benefit everyone, a story that relies partly on lies, partly on bluff and partly on simply obscuring the common understanding of how business is structured and works, depriving us of even the vocabulary to criticize what we are told.

    (Even the standard term, “monopoly”, meaning one-seller, belongs to the fantasy world of the “market economy” and undermines the ability of people to think about the real mechanisms of economic power.)

    Still, as Ian points out rightly, as absurdity is piled upon absurdity, and the body count, so to speak, rises with no gain to the 40%, then no gain to the 80%, then no gain to the 99%, but always gain to the 1/10th of 1% and rank unfairness is instituted without objection, one has to wonder at what must be accounted the unaccountable stupidity of the masses, who can not find a voice other than the very loud, manipulative mouthpieces of cable news or the remaining newspapers and magazines (most of the prestige titles playthings of billionaires, natch.)

  7. GlassHammer

    “the people who have been enriching themselves by fucking everyone else for four decades are misunderstood, they’re just following the incentives, and suggesting that the people killing and impoverishing you are bad is polarizing.” – Ian

    You know, saying someone can’t think past immediate incentives is more insulting then saying they acted with malicious intent. The former is a bumbling dimwit with little to no ability to understand what they are doing but the later is an unkind SOB who fully understands what they are doing. Additionally, the call to forcefully remove the dimwitted from any position of power is much more compelling since they will do nothing well (not even bad things).

    Lastly, the person who said this to you doesn’t seem to understand that incentives are a means of control, a means of chaining the mind.

  8. Krystyn Podgajski

    Ian: “The laws of the market are not laws of nature and anyone who thinks they are is mentally or morally defective, probably both.”

    Murdered by words. Thank you. IF that fool thinks man is natural and man makes laws so laws are natural, I wonder what he thinks of the Nuremberg Laws. Now THAT was some great Quality control, amiright?

  9. krake

    So, this is why maybe we should stop arguing in good faith with bad faith actors, and instead concentrate effort, calories and organization towards building and using gallows, guillotines and viper pits?

    No argument, no vote, no annotated and footnote-rich report dislodges the Musks, Mercers, Sauds, Bezoses, Clintons, Bushes, et cetera et al ad nauseam from their high places. Good intentions and right thinking just don’t matter.

    What matters, now, on the cusp of the ruination of all, is good aim and a nose for the hunt.

  10. Anon2

    The idea of evil is just so medieval, you know. It doesn\’t exist in the modern world. Nancy Pelosi can\’t see it over her Hermes mask, as she prays every day for the misunderstood. Neoliberals can\’t see it because in their cold dark hearts they aspire to be like Bezos and Zuckerburg. They think: \”Why don\’t the poor work harder? Why are they so lazy?\” as they shop Amazon and check their Facebook accounts.

    There will be massive homelessness and hunger ahead. Many more deaths from Covid and from despair, yes. But the recognition of evil, no. How can you recognize what you refuse to see?

  11. Dmitry Plotsynopsis

    Refusing to see implies recognition no? Please lose the slash key?

  12. Anon2

    Dmitry, thank you for the insightful comments. I will get to work on that important slash thing.

  13. Dmitry Plotsynopsis

    Good on you grasshopper.

  14. Ché Pasa

    Tumbrils and guillotines. Pitchforks and torches won’t do it any more.

    Trouble is finding the bastards. Truly. Most of our oligarchs and kleptocrats have no public presence at all, or if they have one, it’s very limited and only among their own kind. We don’t even know the names of many of them. I used to pass by Jeffrey Epstein’s Zorro Ranch all the time. But it was years before I knew what it was, and I had no idea who Jeffrey Epstein was or why I should care. A little farther on was Tom Ford’s Cerro Pelon ranch. It was known — but not known that “somebody famous” owned it. Who is Tom Ford, after all? Why should I care? How about the Singleton family? They own almost all the other ranch land in the area, but who are they? Where are they? They aren’t here, that’s for sure. Nor is Tom Ford. And only rarely was Jeffrey Epstein known to be at his ranch.

    Our other oligarchs and kleptocrats have various palazzos, estates, resorts and ranches, but where are the men and women themselves? Who knows? What are their names? A few may be known, but what of the others?

    They’ve insulated themselves almost completely from the rest of us. Unlike the Ancien Regime in France. The masses knew who they were and where they were most of the time. They loved to preen and display their inordinate wealth and privilege in public. They didn’t hide. Most of their chateaux — including Versailles — were open to the public almost all the time, and it was possible for commoners not only to enter the sanctified precincts of their betters but to speak to them, petition them directly, gain favor — or not — even from the King himself. None of this is possible now, of course.

    So while tumbrils and guillotines may ultimately be necessary, finding and holding to account the malefactors of great wealth is a challenge yet to be met.

  15. Charlie

    I actually did get the “Don’t hate the player, hate the game” canard during an economic discussion. My retort? The game doesn’t exist without the players.

  16. Willy

    Small government is a lot easier to understand than smart government. Plus it’s easier to govern the people we wish we had instead of the ones we have. So it all comes down to fanciful propaganda, during all those times when some obviously manmade disaster hasn’t impacted the usually confused masses.

    So until then, the riots shall continue until morale improves.

  17. Mark Level

    I think everything Ian says here is clear, and obvious. I guess the real source of my frustration is the sense that some reasonably high percentage of the populace is aware of this, yet the political system is so tightly controlled by the Ruling Class and Elite Media that Mrs. Thatcher’s TINA, “There Is No Alternative” is no longer aspirational, it is equally true and undeniable.

    The fact that a timid reformer like Bernie Sanders was so easily crushed, like a bug, by these forces, and then capitulated to them by endorsing poor old demented Joe Biden, who has been WRONG about every national and political decision for a career of decades, shows Learned Helplessness on the part of the Ruled classes.

    I think that looking at the bigger issue, as Ian points out it’s been 40 years since the Reaganite NeoLiberal triumph, and Americans seem to be just “Homo Consumeris”, have NO concept whatsoever of a common good, and no ability to form one or throw out people who are obviously predatory and uncaring, like Oligarch Mrs. Pelosi.

    I don’t know that this pandemic and the mass deaths that our Ruling Class are clearly fine with will change things or awaken a Critical Mass of people who could cause the types of needed change that FDR was forced to institute in the 30s to restore credibility to the government. It seems that Americans are just too stupid and ahistorical to even address the problem, though (as stated earlier) they are evidently aware that it exists.

    Instead they just react based on tribal, Identity politics basis– the Right Wing MAGA CHUDs are hate-filled reactionaries, wanting to “keep the blacks/Hispanics/women (etc.) in their place”, while the “Liberals” get to eat their cake and have it too, serving the Corporate 0.01% loyally while the planet burns, but feeling moral superiority that they allow a little bit of social freedom and at least the pretense (thin and clearly false though it is) of racial fairness and equity. (Until the cops go a little “too far” of course, as with poor George Floyd, and gang murder a black man in public, on camera, ‘coz that’s a perk of their job.)

    Overall, I think the US is in failed state status, but (I guess Ian’s main point)voters as well as the Ruling Class are accepting of that reality, as long as nothing changes and the 0.01% Elite and Media classes continue to get theirs. While that level of viciousness and selfishness appalls me, at this point, it no longer surprises me in the least. What’s surprising is the “consent” of “the governed” (haha, as if) continues, as things fall apart before our very eyes.

  18. krake


    Agreed. But, they do love themselves economic retreats, alumni confabs, gallery openings and private moorings; and the digital “press” still runs hot with society pages.

    Imperfect and unsatisfying, but not nothing.

  19. Mark Pontin

    Che Pasa wrote: ‘Most of our oligarchs and kleptocrats have no public presence at all, or if they have one, it’s very limited and only among their own kind. We don’t even know the names of many of them … where are the men and women themselves?’

    It takes a lot of steady, maintained research to achieve partial intelligence on who’s who, it’s true. But probably eighty percent of these people can be identified, although a full account of their activities is often practically impossible, simply because by their nature those activities involve much money laundering, shell companies, trusts based in tax havens, etc.

    So one research option would be dig deep into who’s paying what in capital gains taxes and how they structure their tax write-offs and philanthropic ‘giveaways’. Profits are for the little people; the really wealthy are that way because they own appreciating capital assets.

    Another option is that providing security for high-level elites is a high-profit business these days and former spooks, LE, and special forces find much employment here. If you really wanted to know about such elites, former intelligence employees would be precisely the people to talk to. Except, of course, getting former intel employees to talk would take resources of one’s own.

    Once one does identify some of these figures, however, current technology does provide targeting options that didn’t exist ten years ago and that would be relatively cheap.

    Though only relatively. Certainly not as cheap and non-skill-intensive as tumbrils and pitchforks, which won’t ever to be too effective in this day and age.

    But, yes, I’d estimate that something like eighty to ninety percent of these people can be identified with some work.

  20. Mark Pontin

    And what krake said too.

    Though there’s perhaps 20-10 percent of these folks who, like deep-sea monsters, never surface and expose themselves in any such social situations

  21. krake


    I used to run a bar next to a plant then recently acquired by a still nascent Amazon. My regular happy hour clientele were engineers, economists, qc’ers and other technicians from that plant. I learned more about Bezos, his managers, and the engineers’ voluminous grievance pool simply by being affable and attentive. More than Bezos has ever allowed out through his managed channels. Engineers, it seems, hate that man. And they especially loathe the people he promotes over them.

    I learned he has a taste, if you will, for acquiring midlevel NSA men, esp ones connected to Congresspersons and overseas diplomats.

    I also learned quite a bit about where a specific kind of dirty war engagement might be happening, or had just happened, by the sudden arrival of stone-visaged operators of the 10th Mtn and the tragically sad and broken logistics officer who preceded and followed them.

    Passive information is often useful.

  22. Vlad the Inhaler

    People who clamor for chaos and violence have typically never suffered through it. Like the chubby little chicken hawks on the Beltway, they sit in their little swivel chairs with their cut rate furniture to egg on whatever conflict they can hope to stir up with their strident cawing.

    History shows that revolutions rarely turn out like the men of words promise they will. Despite the best intentions (take care of everyone) the practical men take over and the first people that they turn on? Yup, you guessed it blow hard wanna be editors who helped to drum it all up to begin with.

    And then… well, then the practical men take care of everyone. But it is not a very kind care…

  23. Zachary Smith

    I was out shopping earlier today and learned something suggesting the Super Rich might really be looking out for us peasants. At one Big Box store every one of the ‘self-check’ machines had a note taped to it saying payment could be made only by credit card on account of the National Coin Shortage. I spoke to the masked clerk at the register I moved over to, and she said she’d worked at a bank for nearly 20 years, and had never before seen anything like this.

    Next big store had half of the self-checkout machines marked with the same signs.

    I made a quick lookup of mintages, and found there have been about 35 billion clad quarters made since 1965, and the number of clad Roosevelt dimes exceeds 80 billion. So for every nursing home person all the way down to the newest infant, there exists more than 100 quarters for every citizen . Over 240 dimes per American person.

    The 9-month accumulation in my personal “coin jar” is minimal, for I mostly stayed home from February till now, and mostly used my credit card to get curbside pickup of groceries.

    So it’s safe to assume the “shortage” story is a lie. So why are we Hoosiers being forced to use credit cards? The answer couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the desire of the Big Banks to carve out a piece of every single retail transaction made in the US with their fees on Credit and Debit Cards.

    So I must conclude they’re doing it to keep us safe from the filthy covid-covered cash-money we have to touch when we pay that way. Which goes to show they’re Really Nice Guys after all. They care!

  24. S Brennan

    Good one Ian,

    Powerful-evil people [& their minions*] hate being mocked, they hate being the subject of satire, it undercuts their power-authority, it shows them for who they are. The effects of Jonathan Swifts modest proposal was seen in several subsequent revolutions.

    *Economists, for example, are today’s high priests who offer pseudo-intellectual mumble-jumbo to justify the cruelty of the world’s rulers…

  25. Hugh

    “Well meaning oligarch”? Sounds like something you would see on an oxymoron farm near the vegetarian great whites.

  26. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    @Vlad: Well said.

    Meanwhile, here’s something completely off topic:

  27. DMC

    While it may be difficult to ferret out some of the Oligsrchs, Forbes puts out a handy list of the top 400 every year. so that would be a good place to start.

  28. Ché Pasa

    Yes. A list that’s strangely limited and oddly disputed. Moar theater. But it is a place to start. If you put every one of them in cages, tho, would you have got rid of the Oligarchy/Kleptocracy? Nah.

  29. nihil obstet

    As monstrous as some of the aftermath of the French, Russian, and Chinese revolutions was, would any of those countries have been better off without the revolutions? Russia went from being essentially a third world illiterate country to a world power with a highly educated citizenry in a generation. The communist government, brutal as it was, stopped the mass famines that characterized the late 19th and early 20th c. in China.

    In the places where the capitalists got their acts together enough to squelch popular uprisings that might have become violent, in Africa and South America, the general population does not live well and many suffer brutal repression.

    The cycle isn’t violent revolution then nirvana; it’s violent revolution then a terror to clean out the counter-revolutionaries and then an attempt to build a decent society. The success of the third step isn’t guaranteed, but sometimes lack of a revolution guarantees social failure.

  30. Dan

    nihil obstet, you mean it’s not straight black and white, i.e. revolutions are good or bad? There’s more to it than that?

    Too much for me to handle. I’m going fishing.

  31. Steve Ruis

    The problem with our version of capitalism is that there are no more limitations upon greed (it used to be frowned upon, but now, apparently, “Greed is good.”

    In addition, free markets are not free. They are regulated markets and who gets to determine the regulations is an important consideration. Currently the very wealthy have translated their wealth into political power to become the de facto definers of market regulations. For example, remember when buying and selling one’s own stock was considered market manipulation … and now it is not. Did ordinary people campaign for that rule change? Did they even notice when it was made.

    And who got the carried interest tax loophole in place for hedge fund managers. Must have been those pesky ordinary citizens again.

    Neoliberalism is bankrupt for these two simple reasons: no limitations on greed and money is being used to leverage political power.

  32. Thomas B Golladay

    This clinches it. There is no escape from COVID-19, it is endemic now in the US and will keep spreading and infecting people.

    You’re on your own and once America hits 100k new cases a day, we’ll hit the critical threshold at which the Government simply breaks down.

  33. someofparts

    Yes, we can catch this virus twice, or even more, I guess. There was a study reported out of China. The sample was very small, just 64 people, half asymptomatic, half not. All had antibodies after having the virus and within six months the antibodies disappeared. No herd immunity on this one it seems.

    Can anyone else imagine what this world would be like if this country had not spent more than a century destroying decent popular governments everywhere? Imagine if all the places we destroyed had instead been able to thrive. North Korea would be an industrial hub, and probably would not have felt the need to have nukes. Iran and Afghanistan would be secular and prosperous. All of central and south America would be thriving.

    For myself and those I care about, I hate to see us die because this country collapses. But when I consider how many nations and people around the world would have been spared their own collapse if this country and its gazillion guns did not exist, I have to admit that, the suffering of me and mine notwithstanding, it would be a good thing.

    Also, romantic as guillotines are, in our modern times I think firing squads would be better because there are so many malefactors to punish. I’m old enough to remember they way the Watergate hearings dominated all the news cycles. That’s what I want to see for the investment bankers, the private equity boys and all the politicians who aided and abetted them. Put them on trial and then, day by day, have the people they have ruined take the stand and testify.

  34. someofparts

    Virus transmission rates with/without masks:

    Carrier – no mask/ Healthy -no mask – 100%
    Carrier – no mask/ Healthy – mask – 70%
    Carrier – mask / Healthy – no mask – 5%
    Carrier – mask/ Healthy – mask – 1.5%

  35. Stirling S Newberry

    TS Fay – again the earliest TS in the Atlantic.

  36. S Brennan

    I am not allowed to comment at Moon Over Alabama but Bernhard is putting out some information that needs correction:

    “There is no biological difference between various ethnicity with regards to Covid-19. There is no scientific theory that attributes this to any other causes than social issues…”

    The first sentence is patently false, darker skinned people have a harder time getting D3 from sunlight. Insufficient D3 is STRONGLY associated with death and hospitalization with Covid-19, [and other diseases]. Social issues surely exist but, it is very hard even for white folks to get sufficient D3 from foods and sun exposure north of the 37th parallel between 21 Sept and 21 March.

    This thing is coming, read, learn, prepare.

    And finally, don’t listen to Fauci, he has been a fount of misdirection since the early eighties…

  37. Stirling S Newberry

    We should make 13 Sep a holy day.

  38. Bruce

    Of course, the people you mentioned are assholes. But this ignores the fact that the system, \”capitalism\”, must seek profits and grow or die. The money created provides for everything in that society. It\’s not a matter of simple redistribution, because capitalism must grow in order to have anything to redistribute. But growth has come to an end. This is the end result of globalization. There are no new labor markets to exploit. So, capitalists must resort to legal theft, like the trillions just given away, to make a profit. This can\’t last, obviously – no matter how much the assholes want it to – because inflation, if not deflation, will eat everything away. Capitalism is dead.

  39. Willy

    I wouldn’t mind small business subsistence capitalism. Like selling honey or sexual favors by the roadside. Less, I wouldn’t mind a bread and circuses system which kept the coming mostly unemployed fed and entertained for most of the day, even if it was by robots. I also wouldn’t mind an old school Roman style loot-n-slaves economic system, as long as the mob could be directed to loot the oligarchy/kleptocrats before making them into slaves.

  40. Trinity

    The laws of nature are no there to comfort humans. They are there to force advancement. Evolve or perish.

    In other words, “assimilate or die”. Ian’s response to this post was excellent, but I have a few comments to add.

    The first is that the fake narrative that technological advancement represents human “evolution” has been called out since at least the early nineties (see Jerry Mander, and a big thank you to whoever pointed me to his book). In Mander’s (1991) own words, regarding this replacement of our living world with technology: “Caring about what happens to nature is [no longer] part of our emotional world, which helps pave the way for the exploitation of nature and native people.” How convenient.

    For another perspective, we know that Bezos has publicly stated his admiration and aspiration to be Jean-Luc Picard, even to the point of shaving his head. Yet his methods and approaches to accumulating wealth more closely resemble the Borg’s same “assimilate or die”. The Borg visually represent an aspirational form of human “evolution” based in technology literally welded to “wetware”. Their (and his) main message is “resistance is futile” but their sustainability is questionable … once they’ve assimilated or killed all humanoid populations, their next step is to eliminate all other life on that planet. Eventually they will reach “peak wetware”. Then what? Will they start farming humans? Elites have already been caught on record referring to people in the US as “human stock”. The definition of “stock” includes: “A supply accumulated for future use; All the animals kept or raised on a farm; livestock”. All pigs being equal, in other words, but some are clearly more equal than others.

    The fictional Borg are the antithesis of fictional Picard, so Bezos is lying. He’s a Borg. I also want to point out that the Borg are referred to frequently as a “collective” which may be telling. Many traditional, collectivist cultures are anti-consumerism and anti-technology, which is why they are targeted. It’s not just about the resources they control.

    The Borg also rely on computer technology to survive and communicate. I hope their programmers know what they are doing, because most software these days is crap, doesn’t work well, breaks often, and has become so complicated no one knows how to truly fix it. They keep applying patches, which break something else, in an endless cycle of 1) press releases touting “new features” no one needed, followed by 2) news announcements of new security issues (usually critical flaws). Given the focus on profit above everything else (and all the old people being “allowed” to die early) the knowledge of how to build software that actually works over time is also diminishing over time. Think of all that software that was built in the 1960s and 1970s that was still running in 1999, and the main problem was that only two digits were used to represent the year and four were now needed. That, and finding enough people with the “outdated” skills to fix the date problem so the software could continue running after Dec 1999.

    The decades-long downward trend in education quality in the US also suggests the unlikely realization of a techno-utopia. So the possibility of an unnatural “natural evolution” is also less likely over time. The new technologists’ main skills are in selling snake oil, and buying favorable regulations and policies. A master’s degree now is almost the equivalent of a high school student in the 1960s (those two-digit year programmers whose work continued working well for decades) especially when comparing the ability to read and write as well as critical thinking skills.

    So our ability to make this “evolution” possible (let alone equitable) is highly questionable. Not only is a quality education nearly impossible to obtain, useful knowledge is also being lost, meaning that it’s not allowed to accumulate or get passed on to the current generation. In Musk we trust, because apparently only billionaire technologists have worthy ideas or the ability to “fix” the education system, despite all the evidence they cannot fix their own products (or our education system).

    So in exploring this idea, it becomes clear that our ability to reasonably govern (or be governed), our ability to maintain infrastructure, our ability to maintain healthy populations (of any species), our ability to produce, innovate, or excel at anything (except concentrating wealth into the hands of the few) is seriously diminishing in the US. Pretty much everything we do ends up FUBAR, so what does that say about any proposed techno-utopia? Or for that matter, ANY proposal.

    Relying on the words of so-called experts whose status as a sociopathic billionaire mysteriously deems them capable of solving the problems they helped create is ludicrous. Unless you are one of them, in which case they are looking forward to a life of techno-leisure amid overt slavery instead of the covert model we now have. The reality, of course, is that they’ve merely managed to capture all the profits and power while pushing all the problems (and costs) onto the general public. And you expect these same people to build you a techno-utopia? They are laughing all the way to the bank, knowing that you ever bought this nonsense, let alone shared it.

    And finally, it is beyond amazing to me personally that people not only believe this “the future is in the stars” crap, but also seek to spread the gospel of such crap. The ones who are doing it but not getting paid for it have to be the absolutely dumbest. Why? Because these same organizations are making billions by hiding their actual activities behind these fake narratives. They want you worrying (or dreaming) of their “utopian” idea of the future so you won’t notice or protest how shitty your reality is right now. It’s so much easier to sell shovels to someone who is knee deep in shit.

    Their techno-utopian spin cycle is on 24-7, 365 and 1/4 days per year. And as Jerry Mander points out in his book, these same organizations must maintain active and ongoing suppression of the “negative externalities” of these same technologies. They know what they are, but they don’t share, for obvious reasons. Their kids don’t go to public schools. Their kids aren’t handed televisions and smart phones so mom and dad can work three jobs to pay the rent. These are not altruistic human beings, so how can one embrace anything they say?

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