March 9, 2016

ALLUM BOKHARI: Mark Zuckerberg And The New Progressive Plutocrats.

Silicon Valley inspires utopian thinking. After revolutionising everything from the media to communications to taxi services, progressive elites in the Bay Area are now eyeing up government and politics, wondering how they can “disrupt” both. Will American politics survive their delusions of grandeur?

The latest billionaire buffoon is Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. Having noticed that Jack Dorsey is out-doing him in the realm of leftist political whackery, the social media kingpin has begun to wear his progressivism on his sleeves. Facebook’s users — far more numerous than Twitter’s — are sure to suffer.

Recently, we reported that Zuckerberg reprimanded a number of Facebook employees who crossed out “Black Lives Matter” slogans and replaced them with “All Lives Matter” on the company walls. You’d think that a liberal like Zuckerberg would appreciate a message of discrimination being replaced with a message of inclusiveness, but I suppose that sort of thinking went out of fashion with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Given that Zuckerberg had to send out the reprimand to the entire company, this suggests that the slogan-writers have yet to be identified. Naturally, I hope they continue their efforts, but I can’t help being a little curious about who they are. Given the number of black Americans quietly fuming about the radical Black Lives Matter activists who try and speak on their behalf, I wouldn’t be surprised if they themselves were black.

You know, now that I think about it, wasn’t that Martin Luther King, Jr. fellow with all his inclusive rhetoric also black? Then again, as the University of California recently reminded us, he really is out of fashion in progressive circles.

The truth is, most of us prefer messages of unity over messages of division. That includes the 1 billion-plus people who use Zuckerberg’s platform, and who Zuckerberg appears strangely contemptuous of. Messages of unity bring people to the table to discuss solutions, whereas messages of division cause pointless standoffs.

Zuckerberg’s out-of-touch attempt to stamp his own, elitist politics on his employees is typical of Silicon Valley elites, whose hyper-progressive values are even more distant to those of ordinary Americans than the Washington, D.C. set.

True. As Joel Kotkin says, they’re the New Oligarchs. But wait, there’s more:

But tyrannizing his employees isn’t the worst thing Zuckerberg’s done.

That would be his Orwellian pandering to the German government, whose disastrous immigration policies he recently praised as “inspiring.” Under Zuckerberg’s leadership, Facebook has become Germany’s lapdog, acting as the terrifying new Stasi of Angela Merkel, who is desperate to contain her citizens’ anger at her failed immigration policies. Facebook has promised to work with her government to monitor “anti-migrant hate speech” on the platform, which is another way of telling ordinary Germans that, once again, someone will be looking over your shoulder if your conversation gets too politically inconvenient.

Here’s what’s more troubling: Zuckerberg isn’t just doing this to appease an overbearing government: he wants to do it.

They see ordinary people as cattle to be managed, at best. As Brendan O’Neill said:

From Obama’s writing-off of the inhabitants of industrial downs as people who ‘cling to guns and religion’ to blogging queen Arianna Huffington’s claim that ‘millions of voters’ vote with their ‘lizard, more emotional right brain’ rather than with their ‘logical left brain’, the contempt heaped on ordinary American voters in recent years has been relentless.

America’s new elites, fancying themselves superior to the rural, the old, the religiously inclined and the rest, have increasingly turned politics into something that is done to people, for their own good, rather than by people according to their moral outlook. And then they wonder why people go looking for something else, something less sneering. . . .

In both Middle America and Middle England, among both rednecks and chavs, voters who have had more than they can stomach of being patronised, nudged, nagged and basically treated as diseased bodies to be corrected rather than lively minds to be engaged are now putting their hope into a different kind of politics. And the entitled Third Way brigade, schooled to rule, believing themselves possessed of a technocratic expertise that trumps the little people’s vulgar political convictions, are not happy. Not one bit.

That’s why we’re seeing a populist wave on both sides of the Atlantic.

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