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The young technology emperors have a miserable opinion of humanity – and so prophesy nuclear doom

The real reason tech billionaires are prepping for doomsday

A misanthropic view of humanity guides the tech aristocracy — and it’s trickled into their vision of the future, Salon, JASON RHODE MAY 12, 2018,

If you pay attention to what Silicon Valley’s best and brightest are up to, you know about tech survivalism. The digital elite are preparing for the Apocalypse, and have been for a while.

As Evan Osnos wrote in his New Yorker feature, “Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich,”

Survivalism, the practice of preparing for a crackup of civilization, tends to evoke a certain picture: the woodsman in the tinfoil hat, the hysteric with the hoard of beans, the religious doomsayer. But in recent years survivalism has expanded to more affluent quarters, taking root in Silicon Valley and New York City, among technology executives, hedge-fund managers, and others in their economic cohort.

The Guardian noted that the end-of-days obsession could be traced back to a single source, a sort of ur-text of rich-guy panic: a 1999 book called “The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive during the Collapse of the Welfare State.” It was written by James Dale Davidson, a private investment advisor, and Lord Rees-Moog, a British newspaper editor.

You can probably already guess at what the book says. More or less, it’s a pastiche of extolling the virtues of how the rich are superior, how they’re persecuted by the state, and how digital realms can and will liberate them and make them sovereign individuals. It’s a familiar trope: Ayn Rand had John Galt spewed the same list of self-serving ideas 60 years ago in “Atlas Shrugged.”

That an elite caste of people would find inspiration in these kinds of ideas is unsurprising. But there’s a more obvious reason that rich people are doomsday preppers: because that ideology mirrors their politics and their sociological views of people.

Aristocracy is the faith that a few individuals are better than the herd. Aristocracy justifies great wealth. Aristocracy says that most humans are inherently evil and will turn on each other. The mob needs strong rulers to stay sane. If authority breaks down, the rabid animals will run wild.

And the tech industry is a special subset of rich people. Our society runs on technology. Very few of us understand it, or build it personally; we rely on a select priesthood to handle that necessity. These conditions guarantee an elitist mindset. Even if Silicon Valley wasn’t wealthy, they’d still be stocking up on Krugerrands and beaver pelts. The money just gives them more space to indulge Ahab-like paranoia.

Additionally, the digerati tend to view human beings as automatons: easily exchangeable and swappable data points, resources to be exploited. If I wanted to design a system to deliberately turn out an alienated, distanced elite, I’d build Silicon Valley.

To use the language of philosophy, tech-bro survivalism is overdetermined. Imagine you’re an obscenely wealthy app magnate. Even if you’re skeptical about Armageddon, you probably already believe you’re a separate species from the rest of mankind. Letting everyone else go to hell is second nature.

……..Aristocracy is the faith that a few individuals are better than the herd. Aristocracy justifies great wealth. Aristocracy says that most humans are inherently evil and will turn on each other. The mob needs strong rulers to stay sane. If authority breaks down, the rabid animals will run wild.And the tech industry is a special subset of rich people. Our society runs on technology. Very few of us understand it, or build it personally; we rely on a select priesthood to handle that necessity. These conditions guarantee an elitist mindset. Even if Silicon Valley wasn’t wealthy, they’d still be stocking up on Krugerrands and beaver pelts. The money just gives them more space to indulge Ahab-like paranoia.

Additionally, the digerati tend to view human beings as automatons: easily exchangeable and swappable data points, resources to be exploited. If I wanted to design a system to deliberately turn out an alienated, distanced elite, I’d build Silicon Valley.

To use the language of philosophy, tech-bro survivalism is overdetermined. Imagine you’re an obscenely wealthy app magnate. Even if you’re skeptical about Armageddon, you probably already believe you’re a separate species from the rest of mankind. Letting everyone else go to hell is second nature.

…….. Tech-preppers think Doomsday will mean a war of all against all. But there’s no evidence of this.

………What are the tech-preppers really worried about? Not death by fire, quake, or ice. Not the rising seas, or the zombie plague, not the return of Christ or rogue comets. Seen clearly, the calamity that the wealthy fear is democracy returning to the United States. Every tall tale they tell involves the specter of the mob.

The tech-preppers understand, at a deep level, that their ill-gotten gains are predicated on an unjust system. Deep in the brain, where reptile impulses live, tech-bros know hoarding is wrong. Human beings — even very wealthy human beings — have a bone-deep sense of injustice. We know a freeloader.

Why don’t we give them the world they want? I invite the tech-preppers to fully indulge their fantasies: leave, and never return, never darken our doors again. Instead of frustrating their hobby, we should enable it. To your scattered bunkers go, await the end of days. https://www.salon.com/2018/05/12/the-real-reason-tech-billionaires-are-prepping-for-doomsday/

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May 18, 2018 - Posted by | culture and arts, USA

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