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Meditations

Scraping Bottom at “The Failing New York Times”
By Martin LeFevre
Jun 16, 2019, 1:55pm

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Mainstream media hacks are spewing ever-increasing twaddle. It’s not enough that the MSM was instrumental in producing President Frankenstein by hewing to the potholed roads of the status quo, and then benefiting from a “Trump bump.” Now they’re going all in with techno-babble.

An example of the latter can be found in the eminent New York Times: “Cellular agriculture has started producing one of the world’s tastiest steaks, Wagyu…a template for a better, freer and more affluent world, a world where we provide for the needs of everyone — in style.”

No, that wasn’t penned nearly 60 years ago by the writers of “The Jetsons,” but by a futurist having us all on with a piece entitled: “The World Is a Mess. We Need Fully Automated Luxury Communism.”

The lugubriously positive subtitle? “Asteroid mining. Gene editing. Synthetic meat. We could provide for the needs of everyone, in style. It just takes some imagination.”

The only imagination on display here is of a carnival barker selling snake oil to rubes. Quoting Jon Stewart, “You should be ashamed of yourselves” New York Times for printing such rubbish.

Aaron Bastani performs cognitive cartwheels, flipping from fantasy to seriousness and back again. After his meaty introduction to synthetic flesh (which “remarkably, requires no animals to die”), he suddenly turns sober.

“Ours is an age of crisis. We inhabit a world of low growth, low productivity and low wages, of climate breakdown and the collapse of democratic politics. A world where billions, mostly in the global south, live in poverty. A world defined by inequality.”

Flipping his burger, Bastani and the NYT give this sizzling diagnosis: “The most pressing crisis of all is an absence of collective imagination. It is as if humanity has been afflicted by a psychological complex, in which we believe the present world is stronger than our capacity to remake it.”

Sure, that nails it. His prescription? “The plummeting cost of information and advances in technology are providing the ground for a collective future of freedom and luxury for all.”

Does anyone older than 13 actually believe that? Here are some more cornerstones of techno-utopia:

“For many, work is drudgery. And automation could set us free from it.

Gene editing and sequencing could revolutionize medical practice, moving it from reactive to predictive. Hereditary diseases could be eliminated… and cancer cured before it reaches Stage 1.

“Renewable energy could meet global energy needs and make possible the vital shift away from fossil fuels, [while] asteroid mining could provide us with not only more energy than we can ever imagine but also more iron, gold, platinum and nickel. Resource scarcity would be a thing of the past.”

Of course, “there’s a catch. It’s called capitalism…a system where things are produced only for profit [in which] companies of the future will form monopolies and seek rents. The result will be imposed scarcity — where there’s not enough food, health care or energy to go around…”

“So we have to go beyond capitalism…[to] Fully Automated Luxury Communism.”

The underlying message? We don’t have to change ourselves; we can “build on technologies whose development has been accelerating for decades.”

Publishing such claptrap in the NYT amounts to philosophical and journalistic malpractice. By mid-century people will either scoff and smirk, or weep and wail that such tripe was actually published in “the nation’s newspaper of record” at this critical juncture.

Why are such flights of fantasy featured in the MSM when true insights into the human condition and consciousness are disregarded and discarded? Because unexamined “human nature” is believed to be immutable.

That leaves the field open to propagandists such as Bastani to contradictory nonsense like we can eliminate the profit motive (i.e. self interest) and build a techno-utopia without having to transform ourselves.

Meanwhile, back in reality, “The tension in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf is now as high as it gets without being an actual armed conflict,” according to the head of security of the world’s largest international shipping association. 

An “incident” involving crippling explosions of two Japanese oil tankers took place while Prime Minister Abe was meeting with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali.

“I do not consider Trump, as a person, deserving to exchange messages with,” Khamenei said. “We will not negotiate with the United States.

The juvenile idea that there are technological fixes is wasting precious time and space. Grow up New York Times, and stop being part of the problem.


Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/opinion/fully-automated-luxury-communism.html

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Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. lefevremartin77@gmail.com


Published with permission of the author. All copyright remains with the author.



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