One Weird Trick To Turn Libertarians Into Socialists

One Weird Trick To Turn Libertarians Into Socialists

Fascist puppet master Peter Thiel last week helped trigger a run on Silicon Valley Bank that now threatens the foundation of the global economy, and every time I log on to Twitter for updates on the cascading effects of Thiel's highly suspicious actions, tech bros sound less like Ayn Rand acolytes and more like hardened socialists.

Silicon Valley Bank, known as a backbone of the startup economy, was seized by the government last week after a bunch of rich dudes followed Thiel's lead and took all their money out of the bank. These Silicon Valley cretins, usually trumpeting the importance of personal responsibility and preaching the embarrassingly childish tenets of libertarianism, flocked to social media to beg Big Daddy Jerome Powell and Janet Yellen and Joe Biden to step in and save them.

That's right, folks. With their money vanishing before their very eyes, these tech bros experienced an exorcism of sorts: All the libertarianism had instantly left their bodies. In its place came a flood of Marxist economic theory, wherein the government is there for those in need. I'm sure these folks will one day be possessed again by libertarianism, questioning child labor laws and the age of consent – things of that nature – but for now, they are blood-red communists.

Welcome tech bros. I'm glad you've seen the light, however temporarily.

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It's the same old story every time the death throes of late capitalism belch up a crisis or potential meltdown: The mega-rich, after extolling the virtues of pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps, beg and plead with federal regulators and lawmakers to save their money when the shit goes down. They bribe congressional lawmakers to undo critically important regulations – as Silicon Valley Bank did during the Trump administration – then cry alligator tears when the lack of those very regulations leads to disaster.

Muh money, they bawl, save muh money!

This phenomenon helped radicalize an entire generation of American voters against capitalism (check out recent polling around young people's views of capitalism and socialism). Young folks in 2008 and 2009 saw the economic system crack wide open, the flames of hell licking at the heels of everyone on earth thanks to housing market deregulation, and instead of the ultra-wealthy suffering the consequences of their actions, they were bailed out and often enriched by the federal government, which, of course, they own. Meanwhile, regular folks who had been tricked into subprime loans and other highly risky products were left high and dry and broke as hell. It was the socialist thought leader Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, "This country has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor."

The economic meltdown that defined the final months of the nightmarish George W. Bush presidency pushed me from a fairly standard liberalism into the loving arms of socialism. I went from reading Paul Krugman to Karl Marx. Turns out those two want(ed) very different things for society.

Just as there is no point in engaging the right wing's bad faith politics, there is no point in engaging an economic system that was designed only to save the skin of those at the very top while the rest of us struggle merely to survive. The idea that capitalism can be reformed or made kinder and gentler is a sledgehammer of bad faith straight to the trachea. There is no reforming an anti-human system like capitalism, no matter what Elizabeth Warren says. We can only oppose it, and urge others to see the dangerous and inhumane contradictions within capitalism so that they too will reject it.

(Which brings me to a quick aside on the hysterical Republican concept of "woke capital," or financial institutions catering to customers' culturally liberal urges in order to take more of their money and control more of their lives. A bank ad featuring a gay couple saving for retirement or a person of indeterminate gender using a credit card does not make the institution "woke" – the American rights' newest and most prominent racist dog whistle. Capital will do whatever it takes to expand. That is its nature: To grow at any cost, to adapt and spread and expand by any means necessary. Think of it like a virus and it might make more sense to you. If a virus had to pretend to be culturally liberal in order to spread from one person to another or one county or state or country to another, the virus would suddenly become the most woke entity on earth. The virus would start talking up reparations. "Woke capital" is nothing more than multibillion dollar corporations appealing to well-adjusted people who don't spend 11 hours a day thinking about Hunter Biden's laptop and buying Elon Musk collectable plates.)

Millionaire venture capitalists – a cancer on the human race – have taken to social media since the seizure of Silicon Valley Bank to hold up workaday Americans as human shields against criticism of their libertarian dreams turned nightmare. They'll tell you everyday working people in middle America will be affected by the bank's meltdown and subsequent dominoes that fall as a result of deregulating a system that can't be trusted to run itself. Why, the tech bros ask, would you take delight in mom and pop businesses suffering? While it's true that working folks will be fucked by the bank's seizure – as we are in every disaster created by the rich – I'm begging Valley bros to stop their bad faith. They couldn't give a shit about the suffering of working families. Stop pretending you care about anything but your own cash money. It's insulting.

It's apparent by their online reaction that the tech bros are blissfully unaware that everyone hates them and wants them to fail spectacularly. We delight in their demise because when they're on top and the money is gushing into their bank accounts, they tell us to buck up, to rise and grind like never before, to stop buying coffee and avocados in order to save up so we, like them, can one day have more money than we could spend in ten lifetimes. They push for the elimination of the social safety net, they chastise and mock those in need of a helping hand from the government. Everyone is an island when things are good.

Now they want our sympathy. They want our help. Now they are our socialist comrades. I, for one, will take Rorschach's approach.

Follow Denny Carter on Twitter at @CDCarter13.