The old expression, “idle hands do the Devil’s work” is one of those phrases that has lost much of its meaning in the modern age. One reason, of course, is the steady removal of Christianity from daily life. Few people attend church and Christianity has been removed from the public square by the ruling class. People look up for cultural cues, so a society run by secularists will be stripped of religious references. Still, the expression offers some insight into what currently vexes western societies.
Look around the typical large enterprise and what you will find is a lot of people engaged in what is best described as busy work. In the private sector, there are hundreds of job titles that have been invented for tasks that have very little, if anything, to do with the mission of the enterprise. These roles have either been created to meet a demand from government or they have been created to inoculate the firm against current cultural fads like diversity.
Of course, record numbers of people are employed by the state. Not all of them work directly for government. Many work in “private firms” but those private firms exist for only one customer, the government. The imperial capital is festooned with consultants who advise on things like the proper arrangement office furniture. There are thousands of firms owned by special people that exist just so vendors can meet their special people quota in government contracts.
When you factor in education and health care, probably a third of the workforce is engaged in work that is unnecessary. If not for the endless cultural pogroms and government mandates, these jobs would not exist. It’s just busy work for people who tick a box that needs to be ticked. Some significant portion of these people actually cause harm while performing their work. Human resource departments are fountains of trouble making at most companies.
A good example of how people engaged in pointless work create trouble for society is the Antifa professor Megan Squire. She is called a computer science professor at Elon University, but in reality, she is just a busy body with too much free time. When not teaching Python to South Asians, she spends her days listening to podcasts Antifa has deemed unacceptable. She writes down the names of people who appear on these shows and then publishes these lists in left-wing publications.
Now, Elon could fill the teaching role with a grad student or a contract instructor looking to make some extra money. Instead, her role is expanded to include “data science, cyber security, online extremism.” These days, anytime you see the phrases “data science” and “cyber security” in a job description it means the person is not engaged in meaningful work. Of course, “online extremism” is a nonsense phrase that has moral significance to the far-left, but is otherwise meaningless.
On her resume, Mx. Squire describes her work this way. “My main research focus is at the intersection of data mining, cybersecurity, and online communities. I actively develop data storage and measurement techniques for studying networks of toxicity, hate speech, racism, and extremism in online social spaces.” Currently she has a grant for the purpose of “Documenting, Disrupting, and Dismantling the “Alt-Tech” Streaming Funding Pipeline. This is what she does all day.
When you look at her profile at the university, the first sections look like the list of hobbies and interests from a middle aged woman on a dating site. These are not legitimate research areas and none of them qualify as computer science. An aging actress with a supply of box wine can do those things. The biggest section of her profile page is the media section. That’s the point of the position. Her job is to get attention by validating myths and legends popular on the far-left.
Mx. Squire is probably a nice person, who knows, but she is a good example of idle hands being the Devil’s workshop. In a better age, she would be the accounts receivable manager at a mid-sized company. Maybe an office manager with an associate’s degree in accounting. Because we have an excess of middling people, especially women, make-work is created for them in government, the academy, the media and the private sector. The Devil is spoiled for choice.
To make matters worse, this army of idle hands now has access to the rest of through mass media. Someone with the ridiculous title “data scientist” can inflict themselves on the rest of us by adding authority to other worthless people engaged in busy work that reinforces current fads. If the internet was shutdown tomorrow, millions would be thrown out of work, but the overwhelming majority of those people are now doing work that is either pointless or harmful to the well-being of society.
In an even better age, when women performed the role for which they evolved, this natural desire to nose around in the business of others would be put to use in maintaining the social capital of the community. Instead of studying “on-line extremism” our oversupply of data scientists would be supervising the children in their community and working with other women to maintain cultural norms. Instead, our oversupply of childless, middle-aged women is a plague upon society.
It is popular to forecast how automation will change society, but we have a pretty good idea about that now. Instead of a world of Eloi overindulging in recreation and pointless leisure activities, while the robots tend to our needs, the robot future will be waves of credentialed scolds lecturing everyone about nonsensical moral codes. Everywhere you turn will be a data scientist lecturing you about your speech. Instead of a world without work, it will be a world of idle hands doing the Devil’s work.
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