This morning, I read an interesting piece by Sohrab Ahmari wherein he suggested that we are not heading towards a dystopian novel future, but are in the dystopian novel right now. It's worth a read, but I think he's got it substantially wrong. Here's some snippets.
Our culture-creators are highly adept at prophesying dystopia, and we love to nod along as their premonitions come to life—but we can’t seem to be able to stop the process, much less reverse it. As Patrick Deneen has observed, “our popular culture seems to be a kind of electronic Cassandra.” It “offers entertaining prophecies born of our anxieties, and we take perverse pleasure distracting ourselves with portrayals of our powerlessness.”
What if dystopia is already here? What if our territory already conforms to maps drawn long ago by science-fiction authors? Could it be that we have crossed the invisible frontier that divides an ordinary place, an ordinary topos, from a dystopian realm?
He then goes on to draw parallels between modern life and a 2000 novel called Super-Cannes.
At Eden-Olympia, there were no parking problems, no traditional burglars or purse-snatchers, no rapes or muggings. The top-drawer professionals no longer needed to devote a moment’s thought to each other, and had dispensed with the checks and balances of community of life. There were no town councils or magistrates’ courts, no citizens’ advice bureaux. Civility and polity were designed into Eden-Olympia, in the same way that mathematics, aesthetics and an entire geopolitical worldview were designed into the Parthenon and the Boeing 747. Representative democracy had been replaced by the surveillance camera and the private police officer.
Again and again, Eden-Olympia’s architects drive home this point. In a telling exchange, Paul tells one executive that “‘there’s no drama and no conflict [at Eden-Olympia]. There are no clubs or evening classes….’
‘We don’t need them [the executive responds]. They serve no role.’
‘No charities or church fêtes. No fund-raising galas.’
‘Everyone is rich. Or at least, very well off.’
‘No police or legal system.’
‘There’s no crime, and no social problems.’
‘No democratic accountability. No one votes. So who runs things?’
‘We do. We run things.’”
That utopian existence is what the modern professional class, the Elites, think they are creating. It's never going to come into existence because they're denying reality in so many ways.
- Men can't become women.
- Men and women are substantially different and have different drives and needs.
- $3.5T does not equal 0.
- Handing out needles and reigning in the cops is a really bad idea.
- Dissolving the border is equally bad.
- $30T of debt is destablizing.
- It's a bad idea to keep trying to force a heavily-armed citizenry to do things against their will.
And so forth.
The ivory tower belief that the utopia is coming through ever-greater intervention in the lives of the Normals by the Elites is a fantasy. The only way to convince yourself that we're on the path to said utopia is to close our eyes to reality. You have to hide the data.
See also: Scores, SAT, disposal of.
The Elites forced us to shut down the economy to fight a respiratory virus that almost exclusively attacks the elderly and the obese. It didn't result in utopia, it resulted in massive bottlenecks and shortages. Dig this chart of the Baltic Dry Index, which measures shipping costs.
|"Inflation is transitory," said the Elites.|
Reality is saying something different.
Here's the change in the murder rate, by city.
|It turns out that cops actually serve a purpose.|
Finally, here's a video from the streets of Los Angeles.
This is Los Angeles, California. pic.twitter.com/uQNu4okoxa— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) October 5, 2021
This isn't a dystopian novel where the Elites have walled themselves away from the dirty, real world. It's one where they've closed their eyes, temporarily. It's a make-believe utopia.