Conservative vs. ISIS and…Silicon Valley


For a guy who laments moral relativism, Rod Dreher doesn’t shy away from equating ISIS, though with the expected qualifier, to the folks in Silicon Valley. Upon reading a dialogue between two future forecaster types at – who talk about “useless” people (from an economic, military, and intentionally hyperbolic POV, let’s be clear) and the possibility of the very rich cheating death – he’s come away convinced that “slavery” will soon be at hand:

This is the religion of the future. Slavery will come to us disguised as the light of liberty and progress. These are the barbarians coming to rule us — and the masses will welcome them.

If you are not part of a church community that is consciously resisting this vision, then your children, or at best your children’s children, will be lost to the faith. There is no thought more corrupting to the human soul than the Serpent’s promise in Eden: “Ye Shall be as Gods.”

Goodness, er, gracious.

Dreher is disturbed by modernity, period, and for him Silicon Valley is symbolic of everything wrong with the (relatively) rationalist, reductionist tendency in the human affairs of the Global North. He blames the “barbarians” of Silicon Valley for being both elitist – e.g. with their talk of a technological “singularity” and interest in life extension – and down-to-earth in the worst way, by promoting “bread and circuses.” Think Netflix and Snapchat (or to get really granular, the animated gif keyboard).

Some of what Dreher is criticizing is rightly considered problematic (to borrow a term from the left), such as long-term unemployment becoming the norm. And Dreher correctly points out that the trends being noticed in the conversation between Yuval Noah Harari and Daniel Kahneman aren’t necessarily being promoted. But the solution to these and other ills aren’t being obstructed by techno-optimists as much as they are anti-state libertarians (to call out “our” side), or the political dysfunction seemingly difficult to dislodge given increasing ideological rigidity.

In any case, egghead utilitarians deliberating about how the masses will endure the end of work and ample food and entertainment is not at all on par with radical Islam. But that’s just my two cents. Or is that two bitcoins? Whatever.


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3 Responses to Conservative vs. ISIS and…Silicon Valley

  1. long-term employment: You missing an “un”?

  2. Technological advances are certainly going to enable life extension and genetic reengineering of humans into new species. Since life extension isn’t immortality we still face either the afterlife or ceasing to exist.

    I’d be more worried about genetic reengineering where mutually incompatible new human 2.0 species can’t get along. Don’t know if it’ll go that way. But it seems possible.

  3. mupetblast says:

    Thanks, corrected.

    “I’d be more worried about genetic reengineering where mutually incompatible new human 2.0 species can’t get along”

    Yes, that’s a worry. Inequality of life longevity alone isn’t worth complaining about IMHO as long as absolute levels of life extension, or more importably pain alleviation, is improved. But even here, like washing machines, Harari/Kahneman believe life extension will trickle down to the masses at some point.

    As for long term unemployment I think a make-work program of some sort may be necessary. Idleness isn’t good for mental health, unless you’re one of the small number of ambitious types who’d use a basic income (e.g.) to pursue something more substantial than imbibing Netflix.

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