by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Michael Knox Beran devotes a National Review Online column to those who think their theories and formulas can run the world.
The technicians of capital and cyberspace dominate the elite policy playgrounds of Davos and Bilderberg, and in America the chief talent of the nation is drawn to Silicon Valley and Wall Street. The result is a class of modern magnificoes united by money and a messianic belief that their technocratic virtues will save the world from the benighted rubes whom they have risen above.
Call them Bacon’s bastards. At the height of the Renaissance, Francis Bacon predicted that an inductive revolution — experiment over scholastic logic — would change the world. By disclosing what “is most hidden and secret” in nature, the Baconian method would “endow the life of man with infinite commodities.”
Bacon’s revolution transformed man’s lot, and mostly for the better. But today’s Baconian grand seigneurs, dreaming of cyber immortality while furtively building super-bunkers to shield themselves from the fury of obstreperous proles, carry confidence in techné (as the Greeks called practical knowledge) to the point of hubris — the very quality the Greeks associated with tragedy.
Like Dickens’s Mrs. Jellyby, who in her solicitude for the children of Africa neglected her own offspring in London, today’s moguls preach benevolence for those struggling abroad even as they evince little sympathy for those who are living the downside of their high-tech utopia at home. But the sentimental globalism of the elites is feckless: Resettlement and foreign aid will hardly repair the broken cultures that bedevil much of the Islamic world and Central America, regions that are now exporting their troubles to the more prosperous parts of the West. At the same time, the metropolitan hauteur and condescension of our technical titans blinds them to the devastation beneath their own noses.