Friday, January 17, 2014

The Clueless Clots of Silicon Valley

We conservatives thought that the tech revolution would usher in an era of small government.  But it turns out that the Gateses and the Jobses and the Google guys are Democrats.

I don't know whether it is snobbery -- because every educated person in America is taught from an early age to shun the gap-toothed fundamentalists and Puritans that run the Republican Party.  Or maybe it is crony capitalism -- because those corporate greedists learn pretty quickly that the guys they need to keep happy are the Democrats.  Or else.

But now it looks like the Silicon Valley guys are heading for trouble.  The local lefties in the Bay Area are starting to target the tech giants for their special attention.  And the techies are feeling confused. Walter Russell Mead writes.
[It] feels like a weird and painful betrayal—both to the techies who like to think of themselves as benign and progressives, and to the hipster left who thought that this corporate wave would be different.
 But, of course, these chaps are living in a fool's paradise.  Seen from a distance, the new tech giants are no different than the new giant industries of the 19th century.
 Many start-up industries are individualistic and libertarian in culture even when they depend heavily on state action.Many start-up industries are individualistic and libertarian in culture even when they depend heavily on state action. Think of 19th century railroads and their subsidies, for example. With tech, despite the usual wacky individualism and libertarian rhetoric, it has been DARPA and defense spending all along as a major engine of growth. It’s an association that goes back to World War Two, when the massive data processing needs of total war laid the foundation for the computer age.
The reality is that whether or not business is interested in government, government is interested in business.  Politicians are quick to grasp the power potential in the new technologies and immediately move to use it for their own power projects.

As frisky tech startups becomes Big Tech the left targets them as the enemy.  And, as Mead reminds us:
The pressure groups and government agencies of the blue state are desperate for revenue. Silicon Valley has money. The question becomes: how to extract wealth from those horrible techsters and redistribute it where, in the judgment of blue politicos and interest groups, it will do the most good?
 Hey Big Tech!  Isn't it time you re-evaluated who your friends are?  We conservatives may not be as hip and fashionable as you like, and we may be terminally embarrassing with our god-bothering, but think about it.

We conservatives think that government should be limited, and that means that its power to meddle with Big Tech should be limited.

What do you think about that, Google guys?  Don't you think that you should start hedging your bets and putting a bit of money on the same horses as those evil monsters, the Koch Brothers?  Not to mention the unmentionable ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, bête noire of the left?

Because you chaps are going to need a bit of covering fire from the right starting from right now, and if you don't get that, you really are the clueless clots, the mindless nerds, that everyone takes you for. 

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