Probably futile, but definitely worth a link:
If you listen to smart people on the right, they are currently laughing their way to the end of humanity as the left continues to push deeper and deeper into the mistakes we are actively refusing to learn from. It is very difficult for the few revolutionary leftists still alive to confront this, because it’s genuinly so vertiginous and horrifying that it really approaches what is cognitively and emotionally unsurvivable for genuinely caring people: there are at least some objective reasons to believe the human species may be genuinely crossing the threshold at which exponentially increasing technological efficiency makes the absolute end of humanity an objective and irreversible empirical reality. I think it’s debatable where we are at in that process, but it seems undeniable this question is now genuinely at stake and I simply don’t see a single person on the revolutionary left seriously considering this with the radical honesty it requires.
See the same link for a sense of the budget requests overall — it suggests some comparatively impressive ax-wielding, but with the savings then squandered on the public security establishment.
There’s a lot more to this than almost anyone wants to acknowledge.
When Bannon listed the administration’s central purposes, the first two were unsurprising: “national security and sovereignty” and “economic nationalism.” But then came the third: the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” Bannon explained that officials who seem to hate what their agencies do — one thinks especially of Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who has sued it repeatedly to the benefit of oil and gas companies — were “selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction.” […] Thus did Bannon invoke the trendy lefty term “deconstruct” as a synonym for “destroy.” […] This is a huge deal. It reflects a long-standing critique on the right not just of the Obama and Clinton years but of the entire thrust of U.S. government since the Progressive Era and the New Deal. …
It’s getting extremely hard for libertarian-types to simply dislike this regime.
ADDED: On regime media-strategy technology guru Robert Mercer — “… his basic politics, I think, was that he’s a rightwing libertarian, he wants the government out of things.”
Scott Alexander (already linked below):
I would say these picks raise my previously abysmal opinion of Trump, except that they all show the obvious hand of Peter Thiel. And I’m not sure it’s possible to raise my opinion of Thiel at this point without me doing something awkward like starting a cult.
Mother Jones on the other America, that’s poking back through:
Although the DeVoses have rarely commented on how their religious views affect their philanthropy and political activism, their spending speaks volumes. Mother Jones has analyzed the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation’s tax filings from 2000 to 2014, as well as the 2001 to 2014 filings from her parents’ charitable organization, the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation. (Betsy DeVos was vice president of the Prince Foundation during those years.) During that period, the DeVoses spent nearly $100 million in philanthropic giving, and the Princes spent $70 million. While Dick and Betsy DeVos have donated large amounts to hospitals, health research, and arts organizations, these records show an overwhelming emphasis on funding Christian schools and evangelical missions and conservative, free-market think tanks, like the Acton Institute and the Mackinac Center, that want to shrink the public sector in every sphere, including education.
It mostly seems to be looking shockingly good for libertarians. On that:
ADDED: And more.
Urbanomic’s obituary is excellent throughout. A telling snippet:
Having unexpectedly had an abstract for a joint conference paper accepted, and following a lengthy train journey, Mark and I began writing our paper the morning before the conference (of course), and a state of panic swiftly morphed into a sleep-deprived, hysterical flow state. It was hugely enjoyable, because Mark was never happier than when swept up in working on something that seemed to be building itself, soliciting further input, coalescing into some unexpected entity before his eyes, suggesting new double-meanings, puns, unexpected connections between the abstract and the empirical, Marvel Comics-style names for as-yet unnamed forces, concepts for unrecognised processes. Then the self-doubt would disappear, the anxiety would dissipate (even if the paper had to be given in a few hours!) and he would be in his element: that outside element, something beyond the strictures of the personal, that fuels enthusiasm and enthralled fascination with what is being ‘channelled’.
Mark Fisher’s life was an extreme manic-depressive roller-coaster, which he constantly sought to cosmically (and socio-politically) rationalize. The upswings were incandescent with a creative energy beyond anything I have ever witnessed (or engaged with). The downswings were hell. Finally, he reached one he was unable to wait-out.
The Ccru was only one stage in his life, though it was of course the one I knew best. His contribution was so complete that it eludes any attempt at isolation. That Ccru happened at all was only due to his absorption into the entity. When he dropped out — during an earlier season in the abyss, around the turn of the Millennium — it was over.
ADDED: An obituary from Simon Reynolds.
The NYT talks to Thiel:
His critics demanded to know how someone who immigrated from Frankfurt to Cleveland as a child could support a campaign so bristling with intolerance. How could a gay man back someone who will probably nominate Supreme Court justices inclined to limit rights for gays and women? How could a futurist support a cave man who champions fossil fuels, puts profits over environmental protection and insists that we can turn back the clock on the effects of globalization on American workers?
“There are reduced expectations for the younger generation, and this is the first time this has happened in American history,” Mr. Thiel says. “Even if there are aspects of Trump that are retro and that seem to be going back to the past, I think a lot of people want to go back to a past that was futuristic …
That “a past that was futuristic” thought could go somewhere — all we need is a name for it.