People love talking about the future, as it allows them to project their own narrative onto the present, without actually having to argue from facts and reason. The robot future is the best example. Those inclined to doom and gloom assume the robots take over and the result will be awful. Libertarians imagine the robots take over and immediately realize a society based on private property is the only viable option. In other words, when we start imagining the glorious future, we do so in order to make points about the present.
The fact is, the future is never what is promised. Those inclined to dark thoughts in the middle of the last century were sure Orwell’s vision was mostly correct. We live nothing like that today. Yet, people insist he will be proven correct any day now. Of course, the glorious future promised in the middle of the last century never happened either. Instead of flying cars, hot women in tight fitting jumpsuits and colonies on Mars, we have traffic jams, fat single mothers scurrying over the southern border and an emerging police state.
Just because the futurists always seem to be wrong, it does not mean no one warned about what was coming. Every society has its prophets. That’s because the future does not spring from nothing. There are always signs early on, suggesting what comes next and the ramifications of it. In retrospect, those signs seem obvious, of course, but the fact that some people saw them suggests people chose not to see them or to simply ignored them for short term reasons. Immigration policy is the obvious example.
What commonplace items today will be things the robot historians look at and wonder how we missed them? This story at the Huffington Post on DNA testing is an example. The story itself is unimportant. It is the sort of thing that would have appeared in a woman’s magazine fifty years ago, except the topic would have been French cooking. That’s a clue, for sure, but not one being has missed today. Popular culture is now awash in females playing roles, other than the one for which they evolved.
The interesting bit is the writer. Her name is Julia Ries, a young graduate of Boston College, working as a freelance writer. Here is her resume. Boston College is one of the more prestigious schools in America these days. It is in a new class of colleges called the “New Ivies” because their admissions standards are similar to the Ivies and their name carries a lot of weight in the managerial class. That means young Mx Ries is fairly emblematic of the type of woman who will be taking up a position in the ruling class.
Look at the job titles. It is a dog’s breakfast of managerial speak. For example, she was a media planner for health and wellness clients. The word “wellness” is a neologism that means the state of not being sick. In other words, instead of being sick, people have degrees of wellness. No one can ever be completely well, so there is a whole industry to promote wellness. If you read that entry carefully, what you see is she spent her days recommending keywords that would work in a Google search.
The next entry is “Digital Content Strategist” which she describes as “we’d listen to clients talk about the growing pains their brands were experiencing and we’d whip up some powerful campaigns to create some buzz and punch things up.” If you want to know why corporate communications is a tangle of neologism and nonsense phrases, there’s your answer. It’s bright young people spending their days coming up with new ways to say what their parents said. It’s a thousand monkeys pounding away at search engines.
The point here is this women is pushing thirty and her career thus far as been a series of nonsense jobs with clever titles. She no doubt thinks they are important steps on the career ladder and they very well may be essential steps. The managerial system is really just an apprenticeship process bolted onto an exam system. If you want to know why mass media is populated with middle aged airheads, incapable to dealing with observable reality, the answer lies in the resumes of young people like Mx. Ries.
The managerial system is not just selecting for the weak and frivolous within its ranks. It is breeding a generation of hot house flowers with its exam system. This story Sailer linked to is a great example. The Hindu comic gets the hook, because his jokes made the Columbia students uncomfortable. The thing about it is the students did not rush the stage or stomp off in a huff. They sat there in various states of emotional distress, until their handlers rushed the stage and shut down the the comedian mid-set.
The point of all this is there seems to be a strange old flaw in the managerial system, that will probably seem obvious in another generation. That is, the system selects for and cultivates increasing weak-minded people. As the system becomes more complex and interdependent, the people become more helpless, depending on the inertia of the system to supply the courage and resolve. In a system built by people with the soul of a human resource department, the greatest skill is doing nothing while sounding essential.
Perhaps the system will become self-aware before this becomes a crisis, but that’s not the way to bet. Instead, we’ll reach a point at which the people in charge are emotionally, morally and intellectually incapable of addressing the inevitable crisis. We may be getting a glimpse of this in France, where the ridiculous fop Emmanuel Macron is quickly being undone by men in safety vests. Macron is an example suggesting the managerial system is not going to be producing a Napoleon or even a de Gaulle to save the day.
The Mongols figured out that invaders from the hills had a habit of taking on the habits of the people they conquered in the valley. The conquers got soft and were in turn conquered by a new tribe from the hills. The Mongols tried to remedy that by being raiders and never settling the lands they conquered. In the West, allowing talent to bubble up from the bottom, often in military service and later business, was a way to keep the ruling class vigorous and on edge. This used to be way things were done in America.
Today, the ruling classes of the West are a closed system. The children of the elite head off to prep schools nestled away in secluded areas. They head off to nice colleges and then start their apprenticeship in the system. Outsiders can only gain entry by first proving they are no threat to question the system. The managerial class is becoming a hot house of make believe work and fatuous airheads. Like the people in the valley enjoying the good life, they are wholly unequipped to handle the next conqueror.