Sociology

Who Rules America?

Joel Kotkin's new book fingers Silicon Valley as the new elite. Is he right?

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The New Class Conflict, by Joel Kotkin, Telos, 217 pages, $29.95.

In The New Class Conflict, Joel Kotkin argues that the socially and politically ascendant groups in contemporary America are the oligarchs of Silicon Valley and a complex of elite journalists, think-tank pundits, and academics that he dubs the clerisy. The nouveaux riches of the tech world are increasingly intent on remaking society in accordance with their own passions, reports Kotkin, an urban studies scholar at Chapman University. The clerisy, meanwhile, promotes and provides ideological legitimation for elite goals. The effect of the two groups' efforts, he concludes, is to concentrate wealth and power in a shrinking number of hands, leaving the middle class stranded and subject to ever more evident economic decline.

Kotkin does not claim that either group is a monolith. Different factions within each class compete for access to wealth and political influence, and they also exhibit some differences in cultural commitment. But overall, Kotkin suggests, there is a persistent pattern: Contemporary elites are socially liberal but relatively blasé about the bread-and-butter impact of a broad range of policies that drive a growing wedge between those at the top and everyone else.

Thus, for example, tech leaders press a green agenda whose elements include support for mass transit and opposition to suburban living. Such policies implement the oligarchs' moral and æsthetic preferences, and sometimes they create business opportunities for the oligarchs' class (as when they invest in and promote putatively green technologies). But the same policies pose risks for the well-being of many ordinary people, by constricting their options and limiting their access to resources.

Similarly, while Bill Gates may call for higher taxes on the rich, many tech firms (Kotkin points to Twitter and Apple) seem quite happy to ensure that tax burdens fall not on them but on the middle class. (Gates's own Microsoft, for instance, has "shaved nearly $7 billion off its U.S. tax bill since 2009 by using loopholes to shift profits offshore.")

Despite its social liberalism, Kotkin suggests, the tech industry is visibly focused on business models in which disregard for privacy is central. Some commercial intrusions (sometimes compatible with contractual and property rights, sometimes not) may be annoying but relatively benign. But the industry has also generally appeared quite willing to facilitate surreptitious state monitoring of multiple facets of interpersonal communication as well.

Kotkin also criticizes the tech industry for business models that disregard people's privacy. These range from annoying but relatively benign commercial intrusions, such as the collection of browsing data to enhance the targeting of on-line advertisements, to cooperation with the National Security Agency's monitoring of our communications. Kotkin also highlights the tech industries' expansion into the broader media world, where their money is being used both to reinvigorate existing media outlets (such The New Republic and the Washington Post) and to create new ones (such Pierre Omidyar's First Look media, home to Glenn Greenwald's The Intercept). In this way, he argues, they create new platforms that allow their allies in the clerisy to enforce environmental and social orthodoxy.

What might a libertarian make of Kotkin's analysis?

Class used to be a significant theme in libertarian political commentary. Though Karl Marx's account of class conflict is better known, Marx acknowledged his indebtedness to earlier French classical liberal theorists of class, such as Augustin Thierry, Charles Comte, and Charles Dunoyer. Class analysis also figured powerfully in the rhetoric of many later libertarians, notably Karl Hess and Murray Rothbard during their alliance with the New Left (and, with a more right-wing populist flavor, in Rothbard's later work as well).

For Marxists, class position is determined by economic actors' relationship with the means of production. The ruling class rules, on this view, because it controls capital, while other classes are subordinate to it because they depend on access to the assets the rulers control. In libertarian class theory, by contrast, class position is a function not of the resources you own but your relationship with the state. Dominant classes are constituted by their relationship with political power. The source of their resources is their ties to the state, and the use to which they frequently put those resources is the manipulation of the state to achieve their goals.

Libertarians and Marxists will frequently identify the same groups as making up the dominant social classes: top elected or appointed officials, for instance, or dominant figures in the military-industrial complex. But while the Marxist might treat a Pentagon contractor as a member of the ruling class simply because of the resources she or he owns, the libertarian would explain the contractor's wealth and class position by stressing the role of the state's war machine and its incestuous ties with the "defense" industry.

Today, unfortunately, you're more likely to encounter class analysis in the discourse of the Marxist left, and perhaps the Tea Party right, than in that of classical liberals and libertarians. Perhaps this is a function of a desire to avoid unsavory associations. Often, I fear, it reflects an instinctive valorization of the successes of those who have made it in today's marketplace, no matter how unfree those markets may be. The worry seems to be that using the rhetoric of class to criticize influential groups in our society will somehow give aid and comfort to those who promote a politics of envy and resentment. But I think this worry is unwarranted. It is possible to acknowledge the creativity and determination of people who actually succeed by contributing to the welfare of others through creativity and peaceful, voluntary exchange while also criticizing social stratification and the abuse of power.

Kotkin is not a libertarian, but his account overlaps helpfully with a libertarian critique of contemporary class relationships. He tends to focus on members of the Silicon Valley elite's attempts to gain political power—for themselves personally and for their class. But it's worth emphasizing that the tech world's ties with the state are much more pervasive than those created by intermittent political campaigns, or even by their campaign donations.

The concentration of wealth in Silicon Valley would be unimaginable without a patent and copyright regime, created by political fiat, that confers monopoly power on a limited number of actors who can use this power to extract wealth at exorbitant rates from businesses and consumers dependent on their products and services. "Intellectual property" rights shore up Silicon Valley firms' control over software and other elements of their businesses, offering the premiums monopolies always make available to those who hold them. The creativity and drive of Valley entrepreneurs is real, but so is the mark-up that intellectual property laws allow them to charge.

The Valley's links with the NSA, and other profitable government contracts, also concentrate wealth in hands of the oligarchs, who are actively involved in vigorous D.C. lobbying. So do Bay Area land use regulations that dramatically raise the cost of living, limit access to housing and commercial space to the wealthiest people and firms, and route wealth to those who have already managed to gain access to land in the region.

The clerisy obviously depends on the state for influence, too. Elite journalists succeed by maintaining access to key political players, generally secured using fawning coverage and stenographic reporting of official positions. Pundits link the media with political elites and work for think tanks that frequently contract with state entities to provide rationales for the policies the establishment favors. Academics frequently rely on state-proffered grants to conduct research. State-mandated licensing requirements channel people into higher education when they might otherwise be inclined to seek alternate means of training. Tax money funds many academic institutions, and tax-secured student loans feed the wealth of universities.

Thus, the class groupings on which Kotkin focuses are (as I have no reason to think he would deny) creatures of the state. The cultural, political, legal, social, and economic environment misshaped by the oligarchs and the clerisy is a product of government intervention.

Kotkin understandably and rightly challenges the results of this intervention. In stark contrast to many contemporary commentators, he emphasizes that economic growth is crucial if the decline in middle-class and working-class living standards is to be reversed. High-minded talk about "sustainability" often serves as an excuse to leave the wealth of elites undisturbed while refusing to pursue policies with the potential to boost the incomes of everyone else. Kotkin stresses that those who care about reversing class polarization must support growth-oriented policies. He also emphasizes the snobbery and disregard for middle-class preferences and aspirations evident in elite groups' disaffection for the suburbs—though he does not address the ways, such as highway subsidies and the use of eminent domain, in which suburban development has been a function not only of consumer demand but also of policy outcomes designed to benefit developers. Silicon Valley isn't alone in its ability to play the lobbying game.

Kotkin emphasizes that it misses the point to try to deal with social polarization through expansive redistribution of wealth rather than promoting growth. Growth is crucial, and an expanded state social welfare system runs the risk of increasing unemployment and underemployment. Liberating markets to foster growth need not be linked with social conservatism, anti-immigrant hostility, and calls for a return to an imaginary pre-1960s past. As Kotkin hints, there is room, in response to the new class conflict, for a new alliance of seemingly disparate groups on the right, on the left, and off the spectrum. (He points, for example, to implicit commonalities between the Tea Party and Occupy movements.) Redistributive taxation, he emphasizes, might not do much for the middle class and the "technologically obsolete." And he acknowledges the potentially debilitating effects of state income transfer programs.

Still, Kotkin urges the adoption of a pro-growth agenda that involves ongoing state action. Infrastructure spending, for instance, figures prominently in his approach. Similarly, Kotkin's call for increased investment in education runs the risk of increasing the power of the clerisy. And whatever one might say about the differential rates between income and capital gains taxes, the response surely should not be to increase the latter.

Meanwhile, a libertarian agenda to expand growth and reduce the ruling class's power could be expected to treat as central a variety of ideas on which Kotkin does not focus. A genuine concern for the poor and the socially marginal would mean removing a much broader range of regulatory constraints, ones that currently propel people into often demeaning jobs and deny them opportunities to craft fulfilling lives for themselves. Licensing requirements, land-use and zoning rules, and similar kinds of regulations profoundly limit people's options and frequently leave them few legal choices other than conventional employment. Eliminating these regulations would not just undermine Kotkin's class structure but would increase the viability of self-employment, particularly in the tech sector. This would increase workers' control over their work-lives, both by allowing more to be their own bosses and by making it more likely—through competitive pressure and the provision of alternatives—that the other firms were flatter, more participatory, and more responsive to workers' concerns.

Silicon Valley and its enablers in the clerisy aren't the only players on the contemporary economic and political scene. (Kotkin doesn't claim that they are, though he focuses on them.) Wall Street, the enthusiastic recipient of bailout largesse, continues to be hugely influential, as do military contractors. The entertainment industry, powerfully enabled by intellectual property protection, overlaps with Kotkin's clerisy, but isn't identical with it—and it certainly makes an enormous difference culturally and politically. And politicians themselves have their own independent interests in power, prestige, and wealth. So a full-blown story of class conflict in contemporary America would need to include more sectors of the economy, more political and economic machinations.

Despite these caveats, libertarians should welcome The New Class Conflict. Kotkin appreciates how markets can contribute to social betterment, and he understands the suspicion many contemporary people feel about elites' attempts to plan their lives. While he is obviously not a market radical, he rightly focuses on genuine challenges that ought to be deeply troubling to observers across the political spectrum. He helpfully urges libertarians to think long and hard about the future of the family as a crucial social institution. And his emphasis on the importance of growth, in tandem with his rejection of corporate and academic paternalism, should make his approach particularly appealing to defenders of freedom and prosperity.

The result is a provocative and useful contribution to the literature on class. Libertarians should happily join Kotkin in his challenge to the tech oligarchs and the clerisy, even while pressing for solutions still more radical than his.

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153 responses to “Who Rules America?

  1. We’re always going to have elites, that’s a given. The question is how much the non-elites can check the elites’ potential abuses of power.

    Insofar as the elites got their wealth and influence by selling stuff people want to buy, then the non-elites have the ability to replace the elites with new elites simply by changing their purchasing preferences. Of course, people can stay in the elite by inherited wealth from prior generations’ successful catering to consumers (Kennedys, Rockefellers, etc.), so my model isn’t perfect, but I’m not saying it is.

    In politics, the non-elites in theory should be able to check the elites by voting against their favored policies and candidates. But this model obviously isn’t working. The political system tends to be rigged in favor of those who already enjoy power, and the elites frequently don’t bother to even try winning victories in this rigged system, resorting to unelected regulators and judges to get what they want.

    The elites’ “cultural liberalism” is an example. It’s not about libertarianism, it’s about ignoring the growing social dysfunction of the non-elites and contemptuously disregarding the effect of their policies in magnifying that disruption.

    1. magnifying that dysfunction

    2. More succinctly:

      The problem is that the source of the elite’s wealth is political influence and includes insulation from competition and an immunization from the consequences of failure.

      1. Iron Law:

        Money and power will always find each other.

      2. The problem is that there is a government with enough power to be corruptible and immune to market failure.

  2. Silicon Valley didn’t really exist as the economic force it is today, 25 years ago, but I don’t think they’re acting much differently than the nouveaux riches of the past.

    I don’t see anything especially new about the “clerisy” either. Seems like the same bunch the Dead Kennedys were singing about in the ’70s with “California ?ber Alles”.

    I do see two interrelated social trends that I think are relatively new. One of them is the demonization of the lower classes and the other trend is the abandonment of authenticity as a desirable thing.

    It isn’t just that the authentic desires, concerns, sense of justice, perspective, wisdom, etc. of the common man aren’t to be celebrated by the left anymore–they’re to be demonized. I think that’s new–at least on the scale we see it today.

    1. Can you imagine this movie finding an audience on the left today?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5RI30RJIPk

      I don’t imagine they’d latch on to this one either:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRjpqJozOcI

      The common man is the enemy now, and not just of the elite. The middle class left despises the common man now, too. At best, he’s an object of scorn and ridicule.

      A country music listening truck driver, a hero?

      The noble down and out farm laborers–from Oklahoma–have to bury grandpa in a field?!

      LOL?

      1. The Common Man ™ is no more welcome at a $1000-a plate RNC fundraiser. Except for when a Repub who’s been in DC his entire career wants to pose as an outsider (complete with an $800 plaid shirt and mom jeans)they really don’t give much of a fuck about the little people either.

        1. Yeah, well the new part of it isn’t that the wealthy elite may sneer at the poor. It’s that this contempt for common people–especially among progressives–has rolled all the way down to the middle class itself.

          To the point that things like popular music, film, etc. that’s coming from a leftist perspective–doesn’t even celebrate the common man like it used to. …and that used to be what leftist aesthetics were all about.

          From the ’20 to before World War II, the left was using folk music to get to the common man–but by the ’50s and ’60s, being part of the hip leftist elite meant listening to old folk music too.

          Back in the ’60s and ’70s, country music was largely a leftist thing, too–it was supposed to be the authentic music of the common man. …like in that Convoy movie I linked above.

          Even the left’s old love with jazz and blues was about connecting with the authenticity of the underclass. Have you read anything by the Beats?

          All of that connection with the common man is pretty much gone. I’m not sure the left can imagine a legitimate working class hero anymore. They despise the working class. I think they’re trying to teach the working class to despise themselves–and having some success!

          1. Leftwing popular culture is now elitist posturing. The true elites pretend to be common men and middle-upper class progs pretend to be upper class.

            1. The ideal leftist character now really is an elitist.

              Excellent example–World War Z.

              Brad Pitt plays a retired, elitist official at the UN. And why has he retired at such a young age?

              It’s so he can take his proper turn as a stay at home dad–so his wife partner can have a chance at a career, too…

              This is “the guy” we’re all supposed to identify with? Our hero?

              It’s a good thing that movie had fast zombies. …good for the people who financed it, anyway.

          2. The Left has a deeply troubled relationship with the Working Man, dating to just after WWII when He left them at the altar.

            The Progressives had a fine old time during the Depression and the War; the Market had clearly laid an egg (because of State meddling, but they Left is never aware of that kind of thing), and The People had granted them the mandate to bring about a New Deal. With the War drawing too a close, and the State in possession of more power and money than ever before the Proggies confidently expected to start building Model Villages for the Common Man, complete with public transportation and community centers where the Common Man would do Morris Dancing and listen to improving lectures.

            But the Common Man had just spent the war years being sorted out, lined up, exhorted, counted off, and general managed to a fare-thee-well (in the Military or out of it) and was sick to the teeth of the whole boiling. He had either his demob pay, or the fruits of several years of working in “essential industry”, and promptly decamped for Levittown in a car with tail fins. He voted for Ike, and considered the Proggies to be a bunch of pinko busybodies.

            1. (ctnd)

              The Left has paid lip service to the Common Man ever since, and has stayed close to his unions (closer than HE has), but they don’t trust him. He wants Wrong Things, and doesn’t take correction well.

              1. In that Convoy movie I linked, the rebellious truckers make a big deal out of being independent.

                There’s some dialogue about how the Kristopherson’s character is independent, and how the Teamsters have organized the cops and brought them into the union.

                The original cop that’s hassling them is hassling them because they’re independents and not teamsters.

                Your comment also made me think of George Meany, who kicked the Teamsters out of the AFL-CIO, and kicked any other union out that he thought was too socialist or communist. He pushed hard for free trade, hated communism (seeing it as essentially a boycott of AFL-CIO made goods), and bragged that he’d never walked a picket line in his life.

                That Ronald Reagan appealed so well to union members comes as a surprise, today, but it shouldn’t considering that Ronald Reagan cut his teeth on speaking tours to GE’s manufacturing plants.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G…..Television

                They also seem to forget that he was a union leader himself with the SAG.

                I think the Republican candidate, whoever that is, should have a really good opportunity to connect with those blue collar people again.

                I don’t think anybody connects with Hillary Clinton. She’s kinda like Al Gore.

                1. “She’s kinda like Al Gore.”

                  Arrogant, elitist, scofflaw, incompetent, and a whiner?

                  Yup.

                2. But isn’t that just a matter of regression to the mean? Look at the labor confederations in most of the non-communist world.

                3. Don’t knock it. That Teamster bumper sticker got me out of a few tickets.

            2. the Proggies confidently expected to start building Model Villages for the Common Man, complete with public transportation and community centers where the Common Man would do Morris Dancing and listen to improving lectures

              This perfectly describes postwar Britain.

              1. It really is the Proggie Utopia. You can see it in Movies like MAJOR BARBARA. And it turned out so very shabby in real life. You think the People Of Walmart are sad and alarming? You should take a long look at Welare State Britain. Makes Walmart look like papadise.

            3. Most succinct summary I have ever seen;
              Kudos.

              I will add that things have gotten so bad because the good times have gone on
              so long,due to unprecedented and unex-
              pected technological progress.

          3. …imagine a … working class hero

            ISWYDT

          4. “Have you read anything by the Beats?”

            Enough to know they were not leftists.

            1. I’d ask why he chopped off the observation about the beats digging Jazz for its authenticity from the underclass. That was the point.

              I’d ask whether he means that the counterculture of the ’60s didn’t pull their inspiration from the Beats. I’d ask whether he knows that “hippie” is a beat term for “young hipster” or those kids that started hanging around Beats at the tail end of the San Francisco Renaissance.

              I’d ask whether he’s ever read “Howl”, whether he’s familiar with what Ginsberg did in the ’60s, whether he’s familiar with the other Beats integrating into the counterculture into the ’60’s, whether he knows about McClure’s environmentalism, Gary Snyder’s deep ecology, or whether he’s even bothered to read a basic wiki on the movement…

              …but why bother?

              This guy is a troll, and a boring one at that.

              1. Ginsberg was certainly sympathetic towards the left and was notorious among his fellows for it. The rest of his friends, Burroughs, Kerouac etc. can’t be classified as leftist in any way.

                I don’t dispute an interest in environmentalism. But you identified the beats with the left. Different kettle of fish.

      2. “A country music listening truck driver, a hero?”

        I think we all made up those heroes during the CB boom – they were the new “cowboys” until we figured out they were wage slaves of the worst kind…besides often being drug or alcohol abusers, etc….

        Just saying….it was actually sadder back then in the 80’s when other wage slaves had to look at truck drivers as being something “free”. As you well know, they are the ultimate in abused subcontractors….

        1. Supporting one’s life by productive action is not “wage slavery”, you lousy leftwing bum.

          1. Well, in that case – slaves, indentured servants and sharecroppers must be OK….

            Oh, sure, I knew a couple BAD BAD TRADE UNION truckers who were doing quite well. But Libertarians wouldn’t like that stuff since people could be found to do the job for 1/2 the price…

            Long haul truckers, representing this “common man” often have to buy their own trucks and eat most increased fuel and “deadhead” costs, resulting in a wage which barely can sustain a family. Heaven forbid if the guy get’s sick or injured…he’s done for then!

            Just saying that this is nothing to aspire to. It may be a way to make a living, but Smokey and the Bandit are closer to the Fiction Writer than real life.

            1. So should EVERY profession have union representation so that ALL wages are increased through rent? Or just your cherry-picked examples?

              If Trucker A doesn’t like it, Trucker A can and should find a new vocation.

        2. :rollseyes:

          Next, please enlighten us about how riverboat pilots and railroad men were all really wife beating alcoholics who probably frequented whorehouses, instead of folk heroes, and how the coal miners of the Blair Mountain uprising couldn’t possibly be radical rebels because white privilege and global warming.

          1. “how the coal miners of the Blair Mountain uprising”

            Well, being as my fore bearers were coal miners, I can assure you that it was no life to look up at.

            Between accidents, low pay, harsh working conditions, black lung, etc. most of them were buried quite early in the churchyards of NE PA.

            Of course, their labors built many a house in Newport.

            Anyway, this is besides the point. If we want to look to a hero Common Man today, you pick one.

            1. The Wal-Mart worker – who is closer to the old coal miner in terms of status and social position.

            2. The internet work at home blogger or ebook writer or small business person – who arose partially out of the labors and infrastructure provided by Silicon Valley.

            I’d pick #2.

            1. My co-workers dads sons dad made 21048 last month working on his labtop.

            2. Did you pay each of your employees enough money to buy a house, pay for groceries, daycare for three kids, save for the kids’ college funds, a new Tesla motors vehicle, union dues, donations to NPR, donations to the DNC, graduate school tuition and for PV panels?

      3. Those old movies are a dose of fresh air. The governor of New Mexico wants to co-opt Rubber Duck as a folk hero. Imagine the reaction today: they’re “teabaggers”, “we don’t negotiate with terrorists”, Honeland Security sends SWAT teams and drones to stop the convoy.

        Convicted felon Tom Joad could – horrors! – probably legally own a firearm. His jalopy never passed an annual safety and emissions check. No license plate scanners to track their drive to California. They bury Grandpa without a license, death certificate from the State, or in a government licensed cemetery. I wonder how many of today’s laws they broke with that? I bet they didn’t even have a biometric photo on their drivers license, if they even had one.

        Here’s another one from the left that today’s “progressives” would hate: Our Daily Bread, from 1934. People deal with the Depression by taking matters into their own hands and starting a farm. How dare they dig a ditch, without even a permit, to divert water to their farm? Haven’t they heard of the rain tax?

    2. The clerisy has existed for a very long time. But it has also been accumulating influence and power at an accelerating rate over the last fifty years.

      Even twenty five years ago it was common for people to enter the workforce with little or not college education and rise to the upper middle class. Today that is rare thanx to the creditialism fetish, the rise of hr department in large employers and a larger regulatory web that stifles entrepreneurship and generally lowers economic growth.

      The beneficiaries of those trends is the clerisy itself and their political masters.

      1. The “clerisy” that we see here is almost completely a result of law. The more law and more government, the more there have to be “priests” to interpret the holy scriptures laws and direct the church government. Who interprets laws and directs government? Lawyers, judges, bureaucrats, regulators, and politicians. They have their enforcer goons in the form of the police.

        You can lump Silicon Valley CEOs in with that in certain ways, I guess, but it pales in comparison to what really makes up this new clerisy. Even academics, journalists, pundits, and the like don’t really make it to the level of clerisy; they’re more like monks since they have almost no power but do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of writing about and “thinking” about society and politics.

        It’s pretty easy to apply a feudal model to our society at this point; the king is the President, the aristocracy the politicians, the knights and king’s men are the police, the priests are the academics and journalists, the court jester is SadBeard, and the rest of us are the peasants. Rich CEOs and the like are successful merchants, who, like in feudal times, are looked down on by the priests and aristocracy, but who are still accepting of large donations, of course. The analogy isn’t perfect but it’s kind of frightening how easy it is to get it really close.

        1. Pretty much.

          The clerisy are academics analogous to the pre modern clergy, given privilege in exchange for supporting and justifying the aristocracy. With Journalists as court jesters to entertain the aristocracy and ridicule their opponents.

        2. You forgot Krugman….court astrologer.

          1. The irony. The clerisy sound a lot like Very Serious People, a term coined by Krugman.

            I prefer the term “deep state”. Not sure who coined it but it fits.

        3. Paul Krugman gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for very little work on behalf of a think tank.

          That to me is who the real elite is: People who get paid vast sums of money to produce nothing and are basically just a cloistered leisure class earning vast sums of money from the think tank-industrial complex.

          1. I think therefore I am rich.

            That will be my next t-shirt after I have this one made:

            IF YOU SEE SOMETHING..
            MIND YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS

            1. I would buy that shirt.

            2. How about.

              Steal
              This
              Shirt

              =)

      2. FWIW, there was a similar situation when Reagan showed up on the national scene. A big part of the “Reagan Democrat” success was because of his ability to speak over the heads of the clerisy to blue collar Democrats.

        You had this clericy preoccupied with problems that weren’t necessarily high on the list of things blue collar people care about and, meanwhile, the clericy isn’t speaking much to problems like cyclical unemployment.

        I know there were some differences back then, but that sounds a lot like the Democrats today, too. I wonder how many blue color workers tune in to the clericy to hear the plan on the economy–only to get a lecture about global warming, gay marriage, and gun control instead.

      3. “Even twenty five years ago it was common for people to enter the workforce with little or not college education and rise to the upper middle class”

        Really? And it’s not reflected accurately in data or charts? And you’ve studied it?

        Also, consider this – if said workforce was made up of Real Estate Agents and Sales people (which I suspect much of it was), we were all paying the price in the form of higher prices. I don’t need salespeople coming in my store any longer to sell me packing tape of copiers or paper! Screw them…

        Are you suggesting we were better off with all those jobs as opposed to the productivity which eliminated them?

        That’s not very “Libertarians”.

        1. It was sales reps and real estate agents and successful entrepreneurs and skilled tradesmen and people that had climbed the corporate ladder from the factory floor.

          Today, you need a credential to even get past hr and in the door, not to mention that the hr filter increases the odds of an employer – employee mismatch.

          And anyways, sales reps of all sorts are infinitely preferable to the bureaucrats that have replaced them.

        2. It was sales reps and real estate agents and successful entrepreneurs and skilled tradesmen and people that had climbed the corporate ladder from the factory floor.

          Today, you need a credential to even get past hr and in the door, not to mention that the hr filter increases the odds of an employer – employee mismatch.

          And anyways, sales reps of all sorts are infinitely preferable to the bureaucrats that have replaced them.

          1. So true VG it needed to be said twice. =)

          2. “And anyways, sales reps of all sorts are infinitely preferable to the bureaucrats that have replaced them”

            Ah, I don’t think the Fiction Writer or “True Libertarians” would go for your Make Work ways. Silicon Valley eliminated those middle men….I can assure you as a consumer that I never liked them anyway.

            Yellow Pages sales folks used to make 60-100K+.
            They did this by selling us on things which we didn’t need or didn’t produce results.

            Fuck them! Big time! They used to come in my shop and show me stick figure cartoons explaining why I needed their services.

            The “Free Market” told these people to go away. We don’t need more flimflam men. In fact, all these sell-outs contributed big time to the last recession. Sooner or later selling mortgages, false appraisals, home equity loans and real estate over and over to the same people…runs out the bank!

            As to Federal Employees, I think the total amount per capita (not including defense) is stable or possibly even lower, so your point is moot. WAY DOWN.

            http://voices.washingtonpost.c…..are_t.html

        3. headinass. It must be nice being a rich progressive cunt, who has never had to work a day in your life.

          1. Wow. According to your friends here, I’m in mom’s basement. Now I’m in a castle and never worked a day in my life.

            I wish you’d have a conversation with my aching back and tell it to stop showing me the results of 40+ years of physical work.

  3. Kochtopus!

  4. Castes. Politicians and other government functionaries are at the top, their media sycophants are next.

    The people who actually pay for all this shit are just cannon fodder.

    1. “Politicians and other government functionaries are at the top”

      Actually, if you were to follow one of these politicians, you’d find they devote a good part of the day pleading for donations from people even more powerful.

  5. For Marxists, class position is determined by economic actors’ relationship with the means of production. The ruling class rules, on this view, because it controls capital, while other classes are subordinate to it because they depend on access to the assets the rulers control. In libertarian class theory, by contrast, class position is a function not of the resources you own but your relationship with the state. Dominant classes are constituted by their relationship with political power. The source of their resources is their ties to the state, and the use to which they frequently put those resources is the manipulation of the state to achieve their goals.

    I fail to see the distinction. One can acquire political influence through wealth, i.e controlling capital. The political system is just a construct of the ruling class. They designed a system where the average citizen will have a non-existent relationship with political power while those who control the capital will dominate the relationship.

    1. No, what you are describing had some validity in and after the industrial revolution of the 19th century, where wealth was created by making things.

      The modern paradigm is more akin to the medieval one wherein wealth is determined by the ability to use legal violence to appropriate someone else’s wealth. Which is often achieved in an underhanded way via legal monopolies.

      1. The modern paradigm is more akin to the medieval one wherein wealth is determined by the ability to use legal violence to appropriate someone else’s wealth. Which is often achieved in an underhanded way via legal monopolies.

        How one acquires capital does not seem relevant to the initial point. Furthermore, with the wealthy capitalist dominating political power the methods dictated by the state for the transfer of capital is under their control.

        1. Of course it is.

          Acquiring wealth in the market means providing goods and services that other people value enough to voluntarily exchange their money for. It also is positive sum as more people entering the market means that more goods and services are being exchanged, making everyone better off.

          Acquiring wealth via political influence is equivalent to acquiring stolen goods. At best it is zero sum, merely being an involuntary transfer from one person to another. In reality it is negative sum as the theft disincents activity and the accompanying regulations actively limits it.

          1. Acquiring wealth via political influence is equivalent to acquiring stolen goods.

            Wealthy capitalists use political power to further increase their wealth either through redistribution or through preventing competition. Someone without wealth can successfully manipulate the system, the system maintained by the wealthy, exploiting a loophole in the system (every system will have them) so that they acquire wealth, e.g. via political influence. The wealthy have to decide if allowing this specific “loophole” to remain open is more detrimental than the losses associated with altering the system so that loophole is closed.

            1. Wealthy PEOPLE do that, regardless of the system. Capitalism merely makes it possible – not easy, just possible – to build something yourself. In all societied, in all times, there are elites who devoutly believe that they were put upon Earth by Providence to tell the rest of us what to do. If the society is Nominally Capitalist, then they try to accomplish their ends through that system, up until they have suficciently subverted it to revert to their instinctive Aristocracy.

              We are blessed with a country that was founded by men willing to (up to a point) experiment with actual freedom. We escape the worst Aristocratic tendencies, or did for a long time. The would-be Aristocrats STILL have not either disarmed the citizenry or effectively seized control of the military. In fact when they try to make use of the military they usually make a mess of things because the majority of them do not understand it, do not study it, and hold it in contempt.

              1. Which is probably a good thing. I think that perhaps the only reason we haven’t gone full Roman Empire yet is due to the lack of military support for any would be Caesar. Remember, Julius C, Octavian (the first true Emperor), Marc Antony, Pompeii, etc, were all military men, and needed the support of their troops to participate in the Great Game. One wonders how American history might be in an alternate universe where rich men could hire their armies, until one day instead of the Rubicon, MacArthur crosses the Rio Grande…

      2. “No, what you are describing had some validity in and after the industrial revolution of the 19th century, where wealth was created by making things”

        So you think the Common Man was able to build factories, buy machines, raise capital and somehow compete during the Industrial Revolution?

        My history shows that the common man ended up toiling in the mines and field to feed the fortunes of the Industrialists.

        1. Or out in the forest hunting/poaching.

        2. The wealthiest men in the US, at the end of the 19th century were Rockefeller and Carnegie, both born into poverty, who non the less became fantastically wealthy.

          Must have been from their sucking up to the existing power structure or something, since it couldn’t possibly have been from revolutionizing sectors of the economy to the great benefit of consumers.

        3. headinass. The Wright Brothers want to have a word with you.

          1. Yeah, as we know, all impoverished people in those times lived in nice single frame houses like this:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W…..rsHome.jpg

            And the common man of the times had the money to not only buy the house, but start a retail store!

            Wow. Funny. My ancestors came over at just about the same time and were Common People. They were dragged off the trains by your Rockefellers (or equiv.) and sent to the coal mines.

  6. One of the biggest group of elites are the federal and state government bureaucrats in agencies such as the EPA, HHS, HUD Energy Dept., etc. who expand their own power, influence and well being by inflicting ever more misery on the general public via regulation.

  7. The concentration of wealth in Silicon Valley would be unimaginable without a patent and copyright regime, created by political fiat, that confers monopoly power on a limited number of actors who can use this power to extract wealth at exorbitant rates from businesses and consumers dependent on their products and services.

    Are they dependent because the products and services did not exist prior to the patent holder’s act of creation or is the dependency based on a cost benefit analysis. Either way the use of “dependent” in this paragraph is misleading and a cheap attempt to manipulate the reader.

    1. Google gives me stuff for free. Well, they get the benefit of some of my information, searches, etc., but I don’t have to pay them any money for it.

      I was mad as hell at them for screwing up Google Maps. …and I’ve never paid Google a dime for any of it (although I paid for Keyhole in my work in land acquisition before Google acquired Keyhole and turned it into Google Maps).

      I suppose I do depend on Google for a lot–and I took on all of that willingly. I don’t know if that means I’m not dependent on their products, though.

      I could survive without them, but I do depend on them.

      1. I could survive without them,…

        That was what I was trying to say. The author is trying to evoke an image of silicone valley entrepreneurs as robber barons withe his phrasing, e.g. “monopoly power”, “extract wealth”, “exorbitant rate”, and “dependent”.

        This is a poor and lazy tactic in arguing against intellectual property laws.

        1. Maybe the language could have been more precise.

          Did you see Thiel’s “Competition is for Losers” article in the Wall Street Journal?

          http://online.wsj.com/articles…..1410535536

          I don’t think you need to have a 100% market share to achieve monopoly status. That’s a theoretical textbook state. Has there ever been a company with a product that people really couldn’t live without?

          Maybe others couldn’t flourish without that company’s product. Maybe they’d have to fold up shop and sell off their assets without it–but that’s always a legitimate option without any monopolies around, too.

          So long as some company has achieved sufficient market share to start acting like a monopoly, I think it’s probably okay to refer to them that way.

          That’s what Thiel does.

          The definition of “dependent” is probably even looser than “monopoly”.

          I know Google search rankings are extremely important to a lot of companies. They might even depend on that.

          1. I don’t think you need to have a 100% market share to achieve monopoly status. That’s a theoretical textbook state.

            I don’t believe it was possible to place a long distance phone call in the U.S. before 1984 without using AT&T. Most monopolies aren’t true, 100% owners of market share, I agree, but there have been a few in history. The East India Trade Company came close, too, I think.

            1. Technically AT&T didn’t have 100%. SPC (later Sprint) and MCI, and it was possible to call over a ham radio phone patch. Close enough to be a monopoly though.

              1. You could open offices in other cities–and be local.

                You could still send a letter.

                Or a courier.

                You could still send a telegram by Western Union until 2006.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Union

                People could have survived without long distance telephone, but they did depend on it.

      2. You know else worked in land acquisition?

        1. Columbus?

          Was it Columbus?

          Am I right?

        2. Owning a basketball team?

    2. “The concentration of wealth in Silicon Valley would be unimaginable without a patent and copyright regime, created by political fiat,”

      So, you are against the US Constitution as well as the ways of the British, French and Germans who influenced it?

      1. Ah, I believe that there is a wealth of libertarian thinking and writing concerning copyright law, various other possible regimes for ensuring compensation and protection of intellectual property, and which system might be best. As is usual, there is not a consensus among libertarians concerning this matter. Anarchists favor some approaches, techno-utopians another, etc. A short Google search could lead you to a wealth of resources to read and study.

        To get started in this vast realm of opinions, you might want to start here

          1. I’ve read some of that crap – and lord knows our system needs updating for the modern age.

            However, the protection of IP had a lot to do with getting us where we are.

            I thought it was always the right crowing about how IP protection of drugs, etc. made it so companies would invest in development? And, without that protection, they certainly wouldn’t spend billions on something which may not even make it past R&D?

  8. he emphasizes that economic growth is crucial if the decline in middle-class and working-class living standards is to be reversed.

    Is this decline a decrease in the rate of increase in living standards? I am willing to wager that living standards have never been higher.

    1. No shit. The variety of toys which have become the basic standard for any adult would have been beyond imagination 25 years ago.

      Find me a sci-fi movie from 1989 or before which had any clue about the internet.

      1. There was a time when I used to laugh at people with cell phones; I thought they were pretentious snobs.
        Now I have one that has the internet, e-mail, a camera, alarm clock, music player, etc. And I got it for $1! (as long as I pay the monthly charges)
        It really is amazing.

      2. I think there were a couple of movies in the silent film era that pretty well forecast the Internet.

      3. “Find me a sci-fi movie from 1989 or before which had any clue about the internet.”

        Why would you need that?
        Millions of us were on Compuserve and other such services which did most of the same things – just without the GUI.

  9. they’re more like monks since they have almost no power but do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of writing about and “thinking” about society and politics.

    Yes. They interpret the Holy Writ for the layman, and in doing so lend credence and legitimacy to the system, lest some mud-encrusted peasant start asking uncomfortable questions.

    1. ” lest some mud-encrusted peasant start asking uncomfortable questions.”

      Yeah, like why can’t I own a full-on machine gun and let my 7 year old fire it?

      1. I can let my jack booted, militarized peace officer carry one. He’s also allowed to point it at me when I am peacefully protesting (see Ferguson, MO) or when they trespassing while looking for a supposed terrorist (see Watertown, MA).

        Should a 7 year old girl be able to have access to mom’s Obamacare both control pills?

  10. One point which I don’t see addressed is how, in the world of investment, risk is not so tightly paired with return anymore. Twenty years ago you could get close to double digit returns for moderate risk. These days that same level of risk will only give you 2% to 3%.

  11. Redistributive taxation, he emphasizes, might not do much for the middle class and the “technologically obsolete.”

    The hell it won’t. It will keep the “technologically obsolete” in business.

  12. risk is not so tightly paired with return anymore.

    Thank Alan Greenspan.

    1. “Thank Alan Greenspan.”

      Influenced greatly by the Fiction Writer!

      1. And you are influenced by the non-fiction mass murderer known as Chairman Mao.

  13. How dare he call Bill Gates a “tech leader”. I seriously expect writers to know how to use the language. Bill Gates doesn’t lead tech. and he never has. Furthermore, his “social values” are simple calculations to drill himself into and take advantage of political connection. He is a member of the Political Class. Mass transit for the masses is an obvious example. Why should the Political Class let loose of enough wealth for the lower classes to own cars? I have to disagree that they’re just not interested in that sort of thing. Bill Gates you say? Owning the world has always been his passion. He wants to be king, while allowing stooges to sit on his thrown and deal without the headaches and problems.

    1. Are you saying that Gates isn’t really from the technology sector, or are you saying that he isn’t really a leader?

      “Thus, for example, tech leaders press a green agenda whose elements include support for mass transit and opposition to suburban living.

      You understand he’s not using “tech leaders”, here, as meaning someone whose technology is innovative, right?

      He’s talking about “tech leaders” as a political class–people who made their money in technology and are now asserting their political preferences in various ways.

  14. How dare he call Bill Gates a “tech leader”. I seriously expect writers to know how to use the language. Bill Gates doesn’t lead tech. and he never has. Furthermore, his “social values” are simple calculations to drill himself into and take advantage of political connection. He is a member of the Political Class. Mass transit for the masses is an obvious example. Why should the Political Class let loose of enough wealth for the lower classes to own cars? I have to disagree that they’re just not interested in that sort of thing. Bill Gates you say? Owning the world has always been his passion. He wants to be king, while allowing stooges to sit on his thrown and deal without the headaches and problems.

  15. Speaking of the paranoid hysteria which typifies our “elites”:

    The Secret Service, under intense scrutiny after a man jumped the White House fence and got through the front doors, on Saturday morning conducted a full sweep of the crime scene, in a search for evidence.

    Law enforcement officials conducted a shoulder-to-shoulder sweep of the White House’s north lawn as well as the plaza in front of the iconic building and adjacent Lafayette Park, following the Friday night incident.

    ——-

    The incident prompted fresh questions about the storied agency and its ability to protect the president.

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of a House subcommittee on national security oversight, called the incident “totally unacceptable” and just one of a string of security failings on the Secret Service’s watch.

    “Unfortunately, they are failing to do their job,” Chaffetz said. “These are good men and women, but the Secret Service leadership has a lot of questions to answer.”

    “Was the door open?” he added incredulously.

    OMFG DECAPITATION THREAT!

    1. Get off my lawn!

  16. Only minutes before the breach, Obama had boarded his helicopter on the South Lawn with his daughters and one of their friends, who was joining the Obamas for a weekend getaway to Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. First lady Michelle Obama had traveled separately to Camp David and was not at home.

    God forbid any lowly peasant should contaminate His ethereal plane of existence.

    1. “God forbid any lowly peasant should contaminate His ethereal plane of existence.”

      Now you guys are on the side of the Common Man and Lowly Peasants? What would the Fiction Writer say about this? You guys switch sides faster than Rand Paul….

      I’m sure other more “libertarian” Presidents would welcome Peasants jumping the fence. Bad Bad Obama. Bad man!

      1. Switching sides is part of the fun here.

      2. Pro tip: lose ignorance.

      3. Assume.
        Ass-u-me

      4. Sigh… By “Fiction Writer”, do you mean Ayn Rand? I get tired of explaining this to people, but I guess it needs to be explained again: While Ayn Rand’s writings are responsible for leading many people to Libertarianism, her ideas were not themselves Libertarian. Her philosophy is “Randianism”, which does, as you allude, elevate Great Men, especially Captains of Industry.
        But it is NOT Libertarianism. Educate yourself.
        Also, IMHO, her books are tedious, repetitive, and were sorely in need of an editor who should of cut the number of pages, and repetitive sermons, by at least 50%.
        Further, she was not only a uninspired author, but a genuinely unpleasant person.
        So, just because you read “Atlas Shrugged”, don’t get the wrong idea that you understand Libertarian philosophy.

        1. “So, just because you read “Atlas Shrugged”, don’t get the wrong idea that you understand Libertarian philosophy.”

          If you think a normal human can read those piles of crap, you have another thing coming. I am a voracious reader on history, but I can’t stomach a paragraph of the Fiction Writer. If one is going to espouse philosophy, there is no need to make up novel length screeds. A couple pages each from the greats of history is more than enough.

          Personally, I get more inspired by reading bios of Hamilton, Lincoln and many of the others.

          Here is an ebook for 99 cents which will tell you many of the secrets to being a Human Being:
          http://www.amazon.com/Meditati…..B0091GRI0O

          1. Another pro-tip: stop including lies with your posts.

  17. Licensing requirements, land-use and zoning rules, and similar kinds of regulations profoundly limit people’s options and frequently leave them few legal choices other than conventional employment. Eliminating these regulations would not just undermine Kotkin’s class structure but would increase the viability of self-employment, particularly in the tech sector.

    What? I can start my own tech company today with only nominal fees. This statement needs further elaboration.

  18. The concentration of wealth in Silicon Valley would be unimaginable without a patent and copyright regime, created by political fiat, that confers monopoly power on a limited number of actors who can use this power to extract wealth at exorbitant rates from businesses and consumers dependent on their products and services.

    This right here is why journalists need to learn about their topic before reporting on it. Every single software company, in the Valley and elsewhere, has long since stopped relying on IP laws to protect themselves from competition. Or do you really think Amazon’s wealth comes from the patent on one-click shipping? Do you think Google’s search algorithms are protected by patents in any meaningful way anymore?

    Almost every single company in the Valley builds their stuff on top of open-source software, which means that they’re often not even able to copyright it. Instead the model used near-universally in the software world is to keep all the secret sauce on computers you control, so that no one but you ever sees it. This works just as well in a IP-free world as in one where copyright/patent law is strictly enforced.

  19. The common man will be too busy fucking with his new Iphone 8 to give a fats rats ass that he doesn’t have any power and is scorned.

  20. I think I read this book years ago.

    There is still mob violence in London, of course, but it is not organized and therefore cannot exercise power – and in any case, it is underclass violence, and therefore aligned with the Party. There is certainly no populist violence in London, and there hasn’t been any for 50 years. The beige oligarchy has zero tolerance for that. And even the idiotic “race riots” of the ’50s were a pathetic shadow of the Elizabethan mob, which had no trouble at all in ripping the throats out of every Flemish merchant in the City if they thought they were being gouged on the wool price.

    So we have an interesting situation, in which a political force, once physically powerful, became represented in formal authority as a way to recognize and regularize its capacity for violence. But it no longer has that capacity for violence. Nor does it have any capacity to govern – not that it ever had any, really. And without the capacity to govern, it also lacks the capacity to retain its position of genuine authority, either by political craft or brute force.

  21. Who Rules America? … Despite its social liberalism, Kotkin suggests, the tech industry is visibly focused on business models in which disregard for privacy is central

    What does someone’s business model have to do with who rules America? AFAIK, using Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, or Google is still voluntary.

    Generally, Silicon Valley is probably socially and economically more libertarian than most places, and less interested in “ruling” than most other parts of the country.

    If I’d fault Silicon Valley residents for anything, it’s that they tend to have so much money that they don’t sufficiently object to taxation when Democrats tell them “give us your money and we’ll fix all the social problems”.

    1. Yeah, if the industry’s business models tend to disregard privacy, it may just be because the internet itself, and digitizing communications and information, is structurally hostile to privacy.

      It’s like Leibniz’s deist ideas about how God created the best world–given what is possible. It may be that the internet’s/tech’s creators built all of this stuff as free as it could be–given what is possible.

      I.e., if we digitize information and share it freely over world wide webnets, maybe, under the circumstances, this is about as private as the tech world can be.

      If Facebook’s or Google’s data collection and advertising models didn’t exist, wouldn’t someone else have done the same thing? There may have been ethical decisions made along the way, but given the way things are, that’s the way you maximize profits–that’s what evolves in a digitized, networked, world.

      1. I think your premise is wrong. In what way do “industry business models disregard privacy”? Google or Facebook targeting ads at me doesn’t invade my privacy in any way, because it basically just echoes my information back at me; nobody else ever sees it or has access to it. Furthermore, you can turn even that off if you like.

        “Maximizing profits” is a red herring. Different companies offer products with different privacy options; buyers make their choices and tradeoffs. If Google or Facebook offer products whose privacy options are unacceptably weak for buyers, they won’t be maximizing their profits, they will simply not be making a lot of sales. If you think there’s a market for a product with “stronger privacy”, feel free to offer it and see whether people are willing to pay for it.

        1. “If you think there’s a market for a product with “stronger privacy”, feel free to offer it and see whether people are willing to pay for it.”

          That’s my point.

          This is what evolves given the nature of the innovation. If it’s digitized and networked, and profitability requires people to share their information–and that’s something people are willing to do–then how can we talk about the companies involved as if there’s some sort of ethical question they answered improperly?

          “Maximizing profits” is a red herring.”

          Maximizing profit is why atoms share electrons and form molecules. It’s about getting the greatest benefit with the least effort and cost. Maximizing profit is why the world is the way it is.

          Maximizing profits is the means by which things evolve. It’s why we developed language and a capacity for language. It’s why we have opposable thumbs.

          Maximizing profit is why Facebook is the way it is, and it’s why the internet is the way it is.

          My point was that given the nature of the innovation (digitized information and huge networks), the internet we have isn’t a function of the odd ethical decisions made by certain people in Silicon Valley. The internet we have is a function of various entrepreneurs maximizing their profits.

          1. If this batch of entrepreneurs hadn’t made the choices they made, to maximize their profits, someone else would have. There isn’t anything red herring about it.

            Given the market’s willingness to share information, our state of privacy eventually would have come to look more or less like it does now–and the reason is because that’s the way to maximize profits.

    2. “Generally, Silicon Valley is probably socially and economically more libertarian than most places, and less interested in “ruling” than most other parts of the country.”

      I thought libertarians were risk takers. R&D for much of Silicon Valley is far too risky. Projects like the touch screen became a reality only thanks to government funding, taking scientists and engineers away from the private sector and insulating them from market discipline.

      1. Well, you are completely wrong in your understanding of what libertarians are, how free markets operate, how Silicon Valley works, and even where the touch screen came from.

        1. “completely wrong in your understanding of what libertarians are, how free markets operate”

          Hmm, the early pirates of the valley got high, partied until late and debated the state of the world. I think that alone qualifies them.

          Of course, it must be said that the Bad Bad Gubment financed a vast part of the growth of The Valley – what with their need for stable electronics for defense systems and the space program.

          1. So if private investors had kept the tax money it wouldn’t have been invested in tech because nobody was doing that except the government? And if they weren’t forced to cede copious quantities of the money they earned to the state, they wouldn’t have also invested that?

            Other than Tang and poor taste Christa Mccollough jokes, I’m not sure what the US space industry has given us.

        2. Mark22, this guy is a troll. A hybrid troll, to be exact.

          There are two basic kinds of trolls. First, there are the people who are just trying to disrupt for whatever reason. They know what they’re doing, and they’re glad they’re doing it.

          Second, there are the trolls who have no idea that they’re trolls! They think they’re arguing in good faith, and they don’t understand why other people see them as trolls. When you call them trolls, they honestly believe they’re being falsely accused. Tulpa is probably one of these kinds of trolls.

          This craiginmass guy, he’s a hybrid troll. He’s being purposely disruptive, and he’s hoping to be disruptive as possible. On the other hand, he has no idea why we all think his comments are so ridiculous. He may think it’s because we’re younger than he is, or he may think it’s because we’re not as knowledgeable as he is…

          He may believe everything he’s ever read about libertarians over at Kos or something, and so he thinks that the reason we don’t understand the genius of his comments is because we’re brainwashed libertarians!

          Regardless, there is no point in responding to him. Everything he writes is just putting up arbitrary responses in opposition to whatever anybody else says anyway–and that’s giving him the benefit of the doubt. If you scratch the surface, none of what he writes makes much sense.

        3. “and even where the touch screen came from.”

          It’s where the money came from.

  22. my co-worker’s mother-in-law makes $84 /hr on the internet . She has been without work for eight months but last month her paycheck was $21951 just working on the internet for a few hours. check out the post right here….

    ???????? http://www.netjob70.com

    1. What does your dirty, little co-worker’s mother-in-law do on her webcam to make that kind of dough?

        1. I’m not clickin’ on any links in response to webcam comments that feature the word “beast” in the link…

          I can’t unsee it, but I can not see it!

  23. Who is this “common man”? Is this the guy who is responsible for John Galt showing us the Superior Man? If so, he deserves scorn as he did not pick himself up by his bootstraps and Be all he can Be.

    Fuck him!

    1. The Common Man is actually Hillary Clinton. What difference did the Common Man make?

      1. “The Common Man is actually Hillary Clinton. What difference did the Common Man make?”

        Actually, we can prob define this Common Person as a low IQ person.

        I doubt Hillary or Bill would fit that mold. They are more at the very right of the Bell Curve.

        1. You may be partially correct. I mean, who other than low IQ people would believe the BS Clinton spewed about the Bengazi attack?

          A subset of which is an SEIU member.

          And another subset thinks plug-in cars aren’t powered primarily by power plants burning fossil fuels.

          1. “And another subset thinks plug-in cars aren’t powered primarily by power plants burning fossil fuels.”

            Ah, I see you have substituted “fossil fuels” for coal. Good Job!

            How about in Canada? Are Teslas sold there powered by fossil fuels. Pray tell?

            How about if I live in the Pacific Northwest? Washington? Oregon? Is my Tesla powered by Fossil Fuels?

            Actually, even the great State of California now gets more from non-fossil fuels…and headed fast towards even more.

            Make sure you update your brain as this sector is moving quickly and it’s very likely that, as we speak, most electric cars are NOT charged with fossil fuels (since most are in the Ca and P. Northwest, etc.)….

            1. Craig:

              California uses more fossil fuels to produce electricity than all other forms combined (including nuclear and hydro). This is in 2013. Do you think you could not include lies or gross misrepresentations just once in a post of yours?

              You are profiting from vehicles that are primarily being charged from power plants that burn fossil fuels. Just like the Koch Brothers. Good for you.

        2. headinass. I am the common man. I have hated your state when it first started telling me what to do, who I can trade with, and who I can associate with. Fuck you.

          Turd.Burglar.

          1. “it first started telling me what to do, who I can trade with, and who I can associate with”

            MA told you this stuff? Wow….or was it the other states I’ve lived in like PA or TN?

            Funny. I thought the revolution started in MA…the USA, etc.?

            And you are not the common man if you trade.

            Associate with? Wow. I thought we did the Gay Marriage thing here first? You seem to live in backwards bizarro world.

            Oh, MA is also a tech leader and the place is going nutso with growth in Life Sciences. You can thank us when your life is longer and more productive.

            1. Mass did give us Logan Airport, the leader in air travel security since after 2001. Wasn’t then Mass Senator John Kerry notified about the lax security at Logan prior to Sept 11, 2001 and did nothing about it? Thanks Mass. Mass also gives us the high taxes model – that’s why Kerry registered his yacht in Rhode Island even though it was moored in Mass.

  24. When push comes to shove, and it will, the SIlicon Valley Punks will be tossed out in their bath water.

    1. “When push comes to shove, and it will, the SIlicon Valley Punks will be tossed out in their bath water.”

      Could you tell us more about this fantasy?

      1. Turd.Burglar.

        1. “Turd.Burglar.”

          Is this a gay slur? I thought Libertarians were live and let live?

          I’m telling Rand and Koch on you!

  25. Woow Great Artcle By Admin
    jattmedia

    Thanx.

  26. More importantly, who run Barter Town?

  27. Without patent and copyright laws would the creativity and innovation in any sector add to the middle classes life style. Would the price of tech drop so dramatically? If Moores law works does the class strata change – maybe not for ultra wealthy, but the fairly wealthy. Where are the fortunes of the ‘robber Barron’s ‘ today? Dissapated? If a tech makes our lives so good and wealth transfers make us comfortable do patent and copyright laws really have such a great effect or only seem so?

  28. my roomate’s half-sister makes $72 hourly on the laptop . She has been without work for six months but last month her income was $16282 just working on the laptop for a few hours. visit the site…

    ???????? http://www.netjob70.com

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