After writing that post, I started to think about other examples of this phenomenon, and about variations on this kind of fantasy-driven argumentation. The concept of being “reality-based” became a meme among liberals after a political appointee in the George W. Bush administration brazenly brushed off people who care about evidence by saying: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.” This accompanied his claim that “the reality-based community” is made up of people who foolishly “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” Where are we now, more than a decade into post-reality politics?
Does the aerial view afford new insights into how distant neighborhoods are connected, for example, or how criminals might attempt to hide—or flee—from police oversight? Where are these other, illicit routes and refuges?
Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Harry Halpin and Elijah Sparrow titled “The origins and future of informational capitalism,” which I found out about, ironically, via Facebook. I had a couple thoughts, which I’ll try to put together in an organized fashion below.
Halpin and Sparrow share concerns over the endpoint of what Marx calls the “real subsumption of labor”: the seemingly inevitable moment when we, the workers of the world, are all made redundant by technocapitalist machines capable of doing our work more efficiently than us, and for free. The two mock think pieces for asking questions like, “What will we do with our free time when machines make employment unnecessary?,” doubting the political viability of something like a minimum income to fill in for when we all lose our jobs to machines. This allegedly unviable solution is, of course, exactly the goal of the interesting but a bit passe movement of accelerationism: re-engage modernity and technology to steer it to utopian ends, while seizing power of political institutions to guarantee basic social reforms that cushion the fall for the formerly-working class.