Where Did the New Mad Left Come From? A: Money and technology

Where Did the New Mad Left Come From? A: Money and technology. By Victor Davis Hanson.

Globalization certainly changed the financial dynamics of the U.S.

Big Tech, Silicon Valley, and Wall Street became not multibillion-dollar centers of commerce, but multi-trillion-dollar nexuses as they capitalized on a new 7-billion-person market. This staggering concentration of wealth had a number of profoundly negative effects on the country.

Many in the new plutocracy were not business people in the traditional sense of making, growing, or transporting things. … There was a certain grittiness, grounding, and earthy realism to the old money that is completely lacking in the new.

Once our generation’s multimillionaires reached billionaire status, they turned utopian. They psychologically squared the circle of their own privilege by supporting the sort of left-wing causes that would never have allowed them to make their own money. And they did this always with the understanding that they had enough money and influence to ensure that the consequences of their utopianism did not apply to themselves: Walls on the border are passé; walls around Silicon Valley and Napa estates are necessary; guns should be banned, except for my security detail; big carbon footprints are killing the planet, except those of my own private jet.

The really big global money now came more quickly and easily, as billionaires were harder left and younger, and discovered that they were exempt — in their tie-dyed T-shirts, flip-flops, and nose rings — from the usual leftist hits on capitalist “parasites.”

As a result, staggering amounts of penance and indulgence money have poured into left-wing media, foundations, universities, and Democratic-driven activism. The monopolist Mark Zuckerberg’s various fronts invested $350 million to “help” government bureaucracies “oversee” the vote. The piratical George Soros’s giveaway empire explains the rise of city and district attorneys whose radical agenda is to decriminalize much of what we used to call criminality.

The old “dark money” no longer exists. The once-demonized Koch brothers’ funding of conservative political activism is mostly now apologized for by its original architects — and yet it’s small potatoes compared with the new Democratic slush fund.

In radical-chic fashion, nothing makes a hip billionaire hipper than to brag at cocktail parties that he funded a local BLM chapter. Corporate boardrooms, enmeshed in vast lucrative partnerships with the Chinese and enjoying global markets, are now among the most powerful forces of radicalism.

CEOs assume that they have a blank check from the Left to leverage as much Chinese money as they wish, as long as they subsidize the radical agenda. And so they do, as they fund and advertise the entire climate-change, identity-politics, and globalist cause. …

Universities:

From the 1970s to the 1990s, universities had lots of culture wars. But they were still constrained by budgets from hiring too many nonessential diversity and inclusion czars. Globalist capital had not yet quadrupled college endowments. Nor was there yet $1.6 trillion in federal money to institutionalize the new idea of massive student debt, which posed a moral hazard for the country.

Students and universities now no longer worry about budgets, inflationary tuition, or cost-to-benefit analysis of the new therapeutic undergraduate curricula.

The result?

Today 45 million students are in debt. Many are credentialed but ill-educated, and they lack the means to pay off their compound-interest obligations. They have grown accustomed to the good life on campuses, many of which are Club Med retreats where late teenagers play-act by bullying faculty and administrators with primal screams.

All too many lecture the country on their superior morality — and then graduate and face the reality that no one cares whether the barista who serves you a beer or the Uber driver who gives you a lift has a degree in environmental studies. Delayed marriage, delayed childbearing, delayed home purchases, delayed everything — all further radicalized youth, who are intrinsically prone to radicalism. …

“Elite glut” well describes millions in debt who feel they are owed quite a lot. The nasal-twanged Antifa wannabe Bolshevik is mostly furious that we who watch his psychodramas on television have not extended to him the status and wealth he thinks he has long ago earned. …

Big tech controls modern information delivery. Society hasn’t yet developed defenses against its pernicious effects and natural networking monopolies:

Big Tech, as an original offshoot of university research centers, and geared to self-described young geniuses, became a leftist monopoly. When social media and the Internet began, the naïve assumed these were just delivery systems, not new tools of ideological persuasion.

But like a virus that alters the DNA of the host, the very ways we now access knowledge, communicate, fathom the news, advertise, buy, and sell are controlled, massaged, politicized, and weaponized by a few thousand prolonged adolescent, thirtysomething techies in Silicon Valley and its spin-offs.

When an ideology can use its monopolies to Trotskyize the past, cancel a career, depersonalize, censor, and ban — or warp the very ways we retrieve information — then 1984 is already here. We scarcely appreciate Silicon Valley’s power and how it has vastly changed our very language, culture, and politics. …

The new left: “Look, diversity!” Don’t mention class, say the obscenely rich newly in charge

Barack Obama really did, as promised, “fundamentally transform” the country. …

Obama mainstreamed “diversity” as the new binary replacement. Anyone with even one drop of nonwhite ethnicity in his ancestry, or who was not male or heterosexual, joined an updated “rainbow coalition” of victims — including even Elizabeth Warren and Ward Churchill. …

Class mattered not at all. … Barack and Michelle could be worth $100 million, own three mansions, enjoy multimillion-dollar corporate-consulting sinecures — and yet venture out from their enclaves from time to time to lecture the lathe worker in southern Ohio or the insurance salesman in Tennessee on their “systemic racism,” or hijack a funeral encomium to badger the country on the need to get rid of the “Jim Crow” filibuster and the ossified idea of a 50-state United States. …

Once class under the tenets of cultural Marxism was largely ignored, the ranks of the victimized not only swelled and but grew wealthier and more powerful. … Qualifying as a victim (however slight the grounds) meant that one could now castigate the entire unprivileged lower-middle working classes as privileged.

The immigrant CEO from India, the African-American multimillion-dollar media anchor, the Facebook female mover and shaker — all could now write off the deplorables/clingers/dregs/scum/ugly folk/chumps/irredeemables/smelly and toothless. And they could thereby obtain virtue-signaling tenure, despite their class privileges.

Which is how we got to where we are now.

The role of technology in causing “social change” is often overlooked. Popular music became louder, and more rebellious and energetic from the 1950s and 1960s — and fun. Were all the humans before 1950 stupid or boring? Are modern people so much smarter and expressive than all in history before them? Or is just that the electric guitar was invented around 1950? Prior to electronic amplification, the only way to get a satisfyingly loud sound was to mass lots of instruments and play them exactly in unison. The best we could do was an orchestra, with its 15 violins. But orchestrated music is intrinsically methodical, rehearsed and organized — and it’s still not anywhere as loud as the thump of the bass in a modern nightclub. Likewise, electronic amplification makes a single singer louder now than the massed choirs of old.

This was simply not technologically possible until recently, like much in our modern society:

Democracy is changing.