Friday, December 9, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: Disrupting the Moral Center

CURMUDGUCATION: Disrupting the Moral Center:
Disrupting the Moral Center

Sarah Jones at the New Republic yesterday posted a blistering take on technocracy entitled "The Year Silicone Valley Went Morally Bankrupt." It doesn't address education, but it surely could.

She takes us back to 1996, and “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace" by John Perry Barlo, a statement of Silicone Valley's to rise over and above the nation that birthed it:

Barlow’s manifesto is undeniably grandiose. “We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth,” he announced. “We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.” This was more than an expression of ego. Barlow asserted a moral hierarchy, and in this new order, Silicon Valley outranked the world it had come to transform.  

Barlow's vision seems to keep the moral center of American democracy, but as examination and time have revealed, it's really the blueprint for the Betterocracy-- the mobility and openness of technology do not give all citizens an equal voice, but give all citizens an equal opportunity to rise to their appropriate level, because at the end of the day, Technocratic Bettercrats believe that some people really are better than others, and those who are Better should be in charge, and those who are Lesser should shut up.

Jones connects this to a moral aloofness, a technocratic solutionism, a belief that the only problems that really are problems are problems that have a technological solution. "Show us your problem," Silicone Valley says, "and we will disrupt the heck out of it." If it's not solvable by technology, it's not a real problem.

Jones centers on two examples. One is Peter Thiel, who bullied Gawker into silence and has been riding on the Trump train. Thiel is a vocal critic of democracy, diversity, and women, and like 
CURMUDGUCATION: Disrupting the Moral Center: