Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Let Them Drink Blood

Silicon Valley’s elites are a revolutionary vanguard party developing the not-too-distant future of cybernetic capitalist reconstruction. Despite cultish personas and massive social influence, however, they tend to keep their politics on the low. That changed this year when Peter Thiel, PayPal founder and Facebook board member, who also has investments in SpaceX and data analysis firm Palantir, revealed himself as mastermind of the litigious assassination of Gawker, a fellow-traveler of right-libertarian White Nationalists, and a prominent supporter of President-elect Donald J. Trump.

Thiel’s “Don’t Be Evil” competitors now look like saints in comparison. Some colleagues distanced themselves, while others wrote off the endorsement as part of his “disruptive instinct” to break down regulations preventing his Founders Fund investments from expanding. Then, in August, it was rumored that Thiel bragged to friends that Trump promised to nominate him to the Supreme Court, which would make him one of the most powerful men in America for a lifetime term. And Peter Thiel plans to live for a long time. He has a personal and financial stake in life extension technologies, including “parabiosis”–the (theoretically) rejuvenating transfer of young blood to an older person.

For those outside the valley, Thiel’s vampiric ambitions appeared to vindicate populist imagery dating back to Voltaire, who wrote in his Philosophical Dictionary that the real vampires were “stock-jobbers, brokers, and men of business, who sucked the blood of the people in broad daylight.” A century of trite political cartoons have depicted moguls or aristocrats growing fat on the blood of innocents. Most recently, Matt Taibbi’s popular description of Goldman Sachs as a “vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity,” revivified this discourse as a conceptual rallying point of Occupy Wall Street. It was a sentiment that even played out in the campaigns of Sanders, and to a far worse extent, Trump, who towards the end of his campaign regularly parroted Infowars radio host Alex Jones’s discourse about a world-dominating conspiracy of shadowy globalists.

“Elites around the world have been obsessed with blood for thousands of years,” Jones said in an Infowars video this summer concerning Thiel. He goes on to argue that elites throughout history, including the British Royal Family, have undergone similar parabiotic treatments for decades. “Where the story really gets weird,” Jones opined, “is that Prince Charles came out in the last decade and said I am a direct descendent of Vlad the Impaler… the people running things aren’t physical, immortal vampires, but they have the spirit of what you describe as a vampire, and they believe their god, Lucifer, if they establish a world government, is going to give them eternal life. And now they’re mainlining the idea of baby parts and blood from the young to make the rich live longer.”

Dropping in Dracula’s relation to the British Monarchy would be irrelevant for a journalist, but for a conspiracist like Jones, the detail is delicious enough to aid both his legitimate thesis–that the rich and powerful treat the world’s populations as nothing but commodities–and the farfetched one: Thiel, despite being a fellow traveler of Jones’ paleoconservatism, is an early adopter of technology that would free him from the eternal hellfire he would otherwise be due through his deals with the devil. Jones warns that Thiel’s fellow globalists will continue to push wars, cancer-causing vaccines, and abortions in a eugenic blood-ritual to depopulate the world by 80% and install a one-world government.

Thiel’s visionary investments suggest a similar blurring of science fiction, paranoia, and plausible dystopian scenarios. In a 2009 essay for Cato Unbound, he stated his anti-national principles: “I stand against confiscatory taxes, totalitarian collectives, and the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual.”

So what’s standing in the way of a “death and taxes”-optional world? The same thing that fellow frontier industrialist Daniel Plainview lamented in 2007’s There Will Be Blood: People. Poor and female ones, specifically. “Since 1920,” Thiel continued, “the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women–two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians–have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.” (...)

Thiel views the world much like the early Soviet futurists. Their utopian dreams ran far ahead of the chaos of revolutionary Russia, where Civil War and social upheaval posed a significant impediment to the development of the Soviet Union’s productive forces. Our own era of bicameral stagnation, social unrest, and organized labor similarly threaten the reactionary acceleration envisioned by Silicon Valley futurists, who are developing technology to eliminate rebellion through expansion of the carceral state, scientific breakthroughs to protect the wealthiest from irreversible environmental depletion, and a new relationship between life and death mediated by the dead labor of capitalism.

Organs, blood, or stem cells may soon be freely traded like an Uber for Sein-zum-Tode (although, with scant evidence that life extension is anything other than pseudoscience, it’s more likely to be a Theranos for Thanatos). For the middle class, extra years of life will be purchasable in mortgage-like installments. Life extension will be distributed just like the resiliency plans of major population areas under the menace of natural disasters amplified by global warming. The wealthiest areas will fortify structures, raise sea-walls, and afford for evacuations, while places like Haiti and Bangladesh are doomed to drown. Dying will increasingly be viewed as a manageable epidemic, like AIDS, violent crime, or homelessness.

Mars is even more open to the whims of venture capitalists who talk about it as if it’s a cold red stress-ball for the worst mistakes of humanity. The most commonly discussed technique for making the planet habitable involves exporting global warming to Mars by building robotic factories that produce nothing but greenhouse gases, thus melting the ice caps and making the atmosphere more like that of Earth. Elon Musk had one other idea: nuking it.

by A.M. Gittlitz, TNI |  Read more:
Image: uncredited