I just read an article in the NYT called “Silicon Valley Roused by Succession Call.” This techno/utopian/libertarian bent in the Valley reminds me of Biella Coleman’s assessment of hacker culture as “critique of liberalism.”
I find it enormously difficult as someone with links to that community—but also years of intensive study in the social sciences and in social justice organizing—to try and bridge this gap within my own networks. Catherine Bracy chalks it up to a lack of lived experience:
“Catherine Bracy, director of community organizing at Code for America, criticized this genre of thinking as reflecting a simple lack of exposure by many Valley engineers: “Most of them aren’t confronted with or don’t have an understanding of most problems regular people are facing. If they had to collect food stamps or ride the bus or send their kid to public school, they might be more empathetic to the role that government plays in people’s lives and more interested in fixing those problems than opting out.”
But I think it’s more than that. There are a number of different ways (some entirely logical) that one might arrive at “well, I guess we’ll just have to demolish the state then,” but the particular route taken by the new capitalist class of the Valley is one that’s so clearly divorced from any kind of history of economic thought.