This is another one of those quickie pet peeve posts that I’m going to be sharing more of with our wonderful VIP audience. I could complain on Twitter or we could just keep it between us for a while.
I would like to clarify up front that I am in no way suggesting that some American citizens don’t have a right to express themselves. I had originally gone with a harsher headline that ended with the words “Shut Up” but I realized that conveyed the wrong message.
What concerns me at the moment is the undue weight many people give to the words and thoughts of those who have become billionaires in the tech era, specifically Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Mark Cuban.
It seems I can’t turn around without tripping on something that Zuckerberg and Gates are doing to save the world from coronavirus, as if their billions give them access to the keys to the Cure Kingdom that medical researchers don’t have. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is wonderful when they pony up from their sizable personal fortunes to help anything, and they are certainly doing that here. How much access to power should that give them, however?
We are all aware that it is a big “pay to play” world out there but that doesn’t mean we have to like it or shouldn’t question it.
On one of my podcasts last week, I pondered what things might be like if we emerge from this pandemic with the Democrats in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House. What sent me down that path was seeing so many different elected Democratic officials openly advocating for using this crisis as an excuse for “fundamental change” or a “fundamental reimagining” of things like health care and education.
It was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who talked about the latter. Practically as soon as the idea left his head, Cuomo went to worship at the altar of Bill Gates, drafting Gates and the former head of Google to help him. The most overrated governor in America quickly found out just how bad that idea was:
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has enlisted former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates this week to “reimagine” how the state’s approach to education and technology might change during and after the pandemic—but the move has drawn backlash from local officials and education advocates who say the state shouldn’t be depending on wealthy unelected officials.
Admittedly, the people who are upset with Cuomo here are also people who I wouldn’t want to reimagine public education, but that’s a post for another day.
My problem with the way much of the media and many politicians treat the tech titans is that there is a presumption that they have a broad base of knowledge based on the fact that they are super wealthy. I am not for a moment denying that Gates and his fellow tech wizards aren’t brilliant, I’m just saying that they’re specifically brilliant. In fact, most of them got rich thanks to a singular, obsessive devotion.
However, Gates’s coder nerd qualities don’t make him any better suited to overhaul public education than anyone else. People hang on his every utterance as if all the wisdom of the ages were flowing through him nonstop though.
My real problem with the undue influence that the tech billionaires have is that they are almost all very liberal, with Larry Ellison and Peter Thiel being the notable exceptions. It’s easy to be a socialist when you have billions to play with. We see over and over how horribly biased against conservatives social media billionaires Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are. They’re arbitrary about it even though they pretend that they have strict terms of service that they’re adhering to.
Melinda Gates has become a strong public voice in her own right, and that’s not without hiccups. Just last week she was disparaging President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, all the while displaying that she doesn’t have even a solid high school-level understanding of federalism.
Mark Cuban has been no stranger to sharing his political opinions in recent years. Last week, he proved himself to the biggest “Karen” in America:
I Hired a Team of Secret Shoppers to Find Out How Businesses Were Opening in Dallas. It’s Not Good. https://t.co/4WxA1BO3dL
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) May 7, 2020
That’s just what we need, bored billionaires using their with to form scold squads to shame the commoners.
Leave us alone, billionaires. We are all too busy hustling for a buck to put up with the manifestations of your wealth-induced ennui.
Don’t you people have yachts?
PJ Media Senior Columnist and Associate Editor Stephen Kruiser is the author of “Don’t Let the Hippies Shower” and “Straight Outta Feelings: Political Zen in the Age of Outrage,” both of which address serious subjects in a humorous way. Monday through Friday he edits PJ Media’s “Morning Briefing.” His columns appear every Tuesday and Friday.