GABlog Generative Anthropology in the Public Sphere

December 23, 2018

Towards a Globalist-Victimary Unified Field Theory

Filed under: GA — Q @ 4:57 pm
  1. The American left’s political program, especially but not only “democratic socialism,” is based on repairing “disparate impact,” which is a polite term for describing discrimination based on race, class, gender or any such ascriptive category. The argument is that all races, sexes, and ascriptive groups are equal in ability and discipline (any individual differences presumably balance each other out within a group). Therefore any statistical differences in material circumstances between groups are caused by discrimination. The government’s duty in this situation is to prohibit and prosecute any discrimination; but that, for various reasons, such efforts are bound to be inadequate; therefore the government should, by taxes and various welfare programs, redistribute income more equally, first, among all inhabitants of the US, and also all oppressed groups worldwide. Furthermore, anyone who opposes efforts at reparation is by definition a racist (sexist, etc.). Whereas previous socialisms were based on thesis that the capitalists oppressed workers, the new socialism is based on the idea that “white males” oppress all other groups, and that such oppression is “systemic” or “structural,” that is, not dependent upon the intention of any particular individual.
  1. Economic success in the 21st century West depends largely on what might be called “technological literacy,” exemplified by computer programming and other skills. This is a relatively new development. Many individuals and groups are unable to compete successfully in the new “information” economy, which depends upon technology and the manipulation of symbols, as in computer programming—leading to some of the inequalities, and resultant resentments, noted above.
  1. The irony of this political situation is that the rich and privileged, who presumably benefit the most from systemic discrimination, are some of the most vocal and active supporters of the left. On the one hand, this can be understood as a hypocritical effort at publicity, which can affect the success of corporations, and even more so, politicians. The “socialist” program consists largely of public gestures which have little or no concrete effects; and when they do, usually make problems worse, just as rent controls are well-known to make affordable housing more scarce.
  1. Eric’s most original insight, however, is that the benefits of “battling discrimination” are more than simply publicity. That “democratic socialism” actually supports the economic system it purports to combat. This is the only way to explain how and why technological leaders really seem to believe in the battle, such that they are not tempted to vote Republican even in the privacy of the voting booth. This point is rather opaque to me. But it seems to be about how modern Western democracies manage resentment. On the one hand, resentment can result in violence and therefore must be deferred. But the anomalous nature of Modernity is such that the economy actually depends upon the stimulation and production of resentment, which fuels a large part of our economy. The most obvious example is social media, but also includes media in general. Perhaps the main export of the West is our music, movies, and television shows. The “productivity” of resentment also applies to our education system, especially the University. But our economy is still substantially based on the production and consumption of material objects and services: food, cars, medical care, housing, and other consumer goods. And it’s not clear how the production of resentment can help supply the material goods upon which our lives depend. Perhaps this is Eric’s point, that resentment is “productive” only up to a point, but ultimately it might be our downfall. It’s certain that the attempt to put democratic socialism into effect would have disastrous effects upon our economy, and result in drastically lowered standards of living for all.
  1. In any case, it’s not clear that the GAFA CEOs really get a “free pass” on resentment by publicly condemning racism etc. Mark Zuckerberg’s position is now threatened, and Google employees are protesting to great publicity.

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