Mr Wright, a noted Science Fiction/Fantasy writer [and married to another, L Jagi Lampwriter Wright] observes a pattern of our times:
Technoplutocracy is my term for our current intellectual elite, a combination of traditionally leftwing and rightwing elements [–> outdated reference], dominating our public institutions, political and legal and scholarly, corporate culture, international finance, but most particularly in our mass media and social media. Not all Morlocks are technoplutocratic elites, but all elites are Morlocks.
“Morlock,” is a strange term, tracing to pioneer Sci Fi writer H G Wells in Time Machine. As Wright describes, “[i]n Wells, the Morlock is a cannibal troglodyte who treats other human descendants [the “fair, childlike Eloi”] as cattle [–> as in, food].” So, he extends to a sadly common phenomenon of today, “[i]n my wry jest, a Morlock is an intellectual trapped in a structure of reasoning he erected, at first, to justify his inhumanity toward his fellow human beings.” Just before, he noted that he uses the term to describe: “anyone who imagines himself to be evolved beyond human norms and into the realm of moral inversion, so that all rules of right and wrong, only for oneself, are flipped downside up.”
Technoplutocacy, can be easily parsed as a compound: Techno + plutocracy, rule of wealth and power expressed through domination of key technological structures. Here, obviously, the oligarchs of the dominant Internet, Social Media, General Media and associated platforms. The ones who exploit the principle that you cannot beat free.
FIRST TECHNOPLUTOCRATIC PRINCIPLE:
IF . . .
a technology driven service such as email or video hosting or blog and related hosting,or even the older broadcast radio or television, etc. is expensive to provide but is made available free or nearly free to the first tier consumer,
THEN . . .
it is because that consumer is actually the product being marketed to the true customer, the one seeking market research and/or information to guide agit prop and lawfare etc., the better to manipulate not only the consumer but the public at large.
(And yes, this is a first principle of our era; one, we dare not ignore.)
Wright, therefore, has put his finger on a saddening feature of our times, an irresponsible irrationality and nihilism posing as avant garde intellectual sophistication that then leads to a mood that demands inversion of millennia of civilisation and moral principle preservative thereof, to suit one’s preferences. This, then leads our minds to:
The center of this philosophy . . . a desperate and hysterical sense of indefatigable guilt, guilt without cause or forgiveness, a crushing, biting, acidic, soul-destroying guilt, a guilt for the sin of being created, for breathing air, for walking in the light of the sun. To escape this causeless a neurotic sense of guilt, a causeless and neurotic sense of entitlement, a sense of moral and mental superiority, must be manufactured by those with not even a specious claim to it.
To manufacture the claim, a gnostic view of the universe is adopted, a metaphysical conspiracy theory, where everything the common man holds to be unquestionable, one must hold as an illusion.
This implies the second Technoplutocratic principle, based on crooked yardstick thinking:
THE PRINCIPLE OF MORLOCKERY
(BEING, THE SECOND TECHNOPLUTOCRATIC PRINCIPLE)
IF . . .
a significant proportion of the public* — especially the “educated” or “informed” in a democracy where +/- 5% support can be decisive — can be manipulated or intimidated into accepting or enabling crooked yardsticks in the place of self-evident, plumb-line first principles and duties foundational to sound, sustainable civilisation,
THEN . . .
such fallacies, perversities and follies will so marginalise truth, prudence and sound knowledge that lawless oligarchy can be entrenched in power and can marginalise and stigmatise soundness as though it were nonsense.
HOWEVER . . .
Eventually, unsoundness has over-the cliff ruinous consequences.
* In an oligarchy, that becomes the cluster of key factions.
As in . . .
Or, more simply . . .
Where, we need to rethink our political spectrum models:
Thus, we come to the strange phenomenon of many people doubling down on and clinging to grand delusion and its irrational, perverse, chaotic absurdities:
Note that a YouTube search, at least at the time of this writing, on the word “illusion” brings a list of optical illusions, but searching “is an illusion” a list of gnostic propositions: the self is an illusion; reality is an illusion; the passage of time is an illusion; free will is an illusion; the universe is an illusion; love is an illusion; consciousness is an illusion.
That’s what we are seeing behind a good slice of the current rhetoric of objections here at UD, folks.
Wright then highlights the key point, self-referential incoherence and tied absurdity leading to neo-gnostic, nihilistic chaos:
Now, all these are self-refuting statements, not merely illogical but obviously and blatantly so. Their purpose is not to be believed and acted upon — what action is recommended in a universe where both you and the universe are illusions, not to mention time, free will, and reality? What action is possible? — their purpose is to create a false sense of mental superiority above dullards who believe reality is real and truth is true. [And, echoing Havel in his epochal Power of the Powerless, to so impose an agenda of falsities that you break the conscience and common sense rationality of the ordinary person, through imposed, inescapable cognitive dissonance leading to conscience numbing conformity to the imposed order of neo-gnostic nihilism.]
This false sense of mental superiority is prompted and sustained by believing in paradoxes and absurdities. No one can challenge a paradox, because a paradox denies what it asserts. No one can call wrong a statement that is both wrong and right — there is no place to start.
Actually, we can point out the absurdity and insist that we shall not live by lies, absurdities and perversities of thought or deed. Thus, we build a counter culture of the truth in loving community. In so doing, we can insist on first principles of right reason and first, branch on which we sit first duties. Of course, the slander machines will be cranked up to bring us under a cynical bombardment of filth, to smear, marginalise and scapegoat.
That simply reveals the Dark Lord such slanderers actually blindly serve, one whose very name is Slanderer or Accuser.
Resemblance to the course of public affairs and discussion in recent decades is not coincidental.
Wright draws out consequences:
This false sense of mental superiority segues into a sense of moral superiority on the same basis: merely by substituting bad for good, foul for fair, vice for virtue. Saying jihadists are victims, or that police are criminals, or that property is theft, or that theft is reparations, or that men are women, is not enough. One must accuse any who fail to repeat the paradox of being uneducated, distraught, gauche, heartless, misogynist or racist, or of suffering from new mental illnesses, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia, xenophobia, or of being running dogs and supporters of one evil world-conspiracy or another.
Naturally, these ad hominem accusations have no basis in fact, nor are they meant to. They are meant to signal one’s nonexistent virtue, to shout down opposition, to kick over the chessboard, and change the subject.
Hence, of course,
THE TRIFECTA FALLACY OF SLANDERING THE MARGINALISED
BEING, THE THIRD TECHNOPLUTOCRATIC PRINCIPLE
IF . . .
a critical mass (our small, tipping faction) can be so influenced and programmed in a party-line as to habitually resort to using red herring distractors led away to strawman caricatures of other views and their proponents (duly soaked in ad hominems and set alight to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere for discussion on key matters) — the trifecta fallacy
THEN . . .
the resulting toxic polarisation, marginalisation or “cancelling” of the despised, slandered other or his/her considerations, will tend to stabilise the ideology and cultural agenda being promoted (despite its evident fallaciousness and potentially ruinous consequences). Where of course if this is pointed out, the programmed, habitual retort is to try to turn about and project the blame and fault to the other . . . a favourite agit prop tactic of men like Hitler and Goebbels.
HOWEVER . . .
again, unsoundness can lead to ruin.
For intellects otherwise bankrupt, ad hominem is the only threadbare remnant of a once-vibrant mental life. Standing silent when one has no counterargument is not an option, for it signals no virtue and props up no sense of false self-regard. Recall that for these sad souls, the monster of neurotic and causeless guilt, a guilt for being alive, lurks in their shadow and waits at the door, claws and fangs gleaming, lusting to rend and tear. If only empty words can hold the devilish beast at bay, then empty words will be said and shouted and spewed like vomit.
These days, sadly, even honest men otherwise careful of their reputation for integrity, will applaud, or even repeat, such empty words.
Food for thought. END
20 Replies to “L&FP, 54: J C Wright on the haunting “Morlockery” of many today, in the neo-gnostic, nihilistic “Technoplutocracy””
J C Wright on the haunting “Morlockery” of many today, in the neo-gnostic, nihilistic “Technoplutocracy”
–> Introducing two Technoplutocratic Principles as premises of ruinous subversion of civilisation in pursuit of oligarchic, domineering power, wealth and control, through J C Wright’s reflections.
And yes, the echoes of The Ship of State are there:
Guess how multiplied billions are being made by creating and providing “free” or nearly free services that are expensive to produce, and why . . .
The most amazing title of a UD post ever! 🙂
Was that as far as you got, as well?
Good analysis, KF
They also enable a common-bond within the group, so there are insiders and outsiders. The ridicule and mockery of outsiders creates fear – people do not want to leave the tribe but want to be protected within it.
SA, sadly, yes. The resort to attack the man via distractions and caricatures is actually an admission of intellectual bankruptcy multiplied by a failure of basic respect, but can be used to reinforce a narrative of polarisation, further undermining civilisation; the notorious case of Jewish people being scapegoated should be a warning to all. J C Wright is an astute observer and has put his finger on a clear breakdown in our civilisation. KF
PS, Have we fallen so far in awareness and appreciation of the literary canon, that Morlocks is an unknown term? Well, here is the Gutenberg page https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/35
looks like a movie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcGGxsNtEcI
I reread the Time Machine recently. Interesting story but really demonstrates the Eurocentric attitudes of the time.
I started watching the TV movie you provided a link to but had to stop. The writing and acting were horrific. I much prefer the movie with Rid Taylor. Interestingly, the actor Wit Bissell was in both. And he was also in the TV series The Time Tunnel.
I taught high school and middle school literature for a time and I think we have fallen very far in awareness and appreciation of the literary canon. It has left our culture impoverished. Not entirely so – there are pockets (return to classics), but in a general sense we have lost a lot.
I read The Time Machine many years ago and found it engrossing and I prefer the Rod Taylor movie version as well. I’d also suggest Gregory Benford’s Timesape and Fred Hoyle’s October The First Is Too Late as different but equally intriguing fictional approaches to the conundrums of time.
Well, if we are talking about time travel movies, I give two thumbs up to The Adam Project.
Sev, J C Wright is a Sci Fi author, as is his wife, and he used the term. In the OP I cite and comment on his remarks to draw out some issues tied to what he terms with some justifiability, technoplutocracy. The book gives a literary reference but it seems many have missed out on bits of the canon. Worse the movie I found seems to have played fast and loose with the text, ah well. KF
Ultimately, The Time Machine is a story about human evolution.
Sc, more, it is about moral degradation. KF
F/N: Morlockery at work, Meyer describes a debate with Krauss:
The attempt to delegitimise, marginalise and stigmatise through the trifecta tactic is plain. The resort to the mob is also plain, and its willingness to enthusiastically enable the trifecta game speaks, tellingly, and not in its favour.
We now need to ask pointed questions on where the Technoplutocrats want to go, why they sponsor and promote things like so called new atheism, and why they seek to marginalise as they do. For sure, Morlock tactics like this are indefensible and the Eloi pretence that silence and ignoring the attacks are good enough is suicidal. We need a shepherd spirit to stand in the gap between sheep and wolves.
PS, BTW, note the gross philosophical, logic of being failure posed by eminent physicists, in onward clips:
If your system of thought is leading to such blunders and those can be widely spread without widely headlined public correction and collapse, that is a very bad sign of where we are and of the quality of today’s oligarchs.
F/N: More of it, shouting down, intimidating and silencing at Yale Law School https://hotair.com/john-s-2/2022/03/19/what-really-happened-at-the-yale-law-school-protest-n456567 The place this happened is significant. KF
“The universe springs into existence from nothing.”
I mean …. what?
William J Murray/18
I’m bound to agree. You cannot get something from literally nothing. It’s a logical contradiction.
WJM, Sev, now we can see what sort of breakdown of thinking we are looking at. Physics is a tough intellectual discipline, and requires a lot of apprenticeship in analytical thought, care in inference and argument, mathematical and conceptual. A common term is “effects,” which ties to causes, and identifying causes is a routine exercise, pivoting on clarifying dynamics [here, including stochastic processes] and the premise is implicit, something does not come from nothing. And yet, here we have fairly significant names wanting to pull a cosmos out of a non existent hat. Basic, basic fallacy in logic applied to being. Non being, the true nothing, has no causal powers and relabelling quantum foams with fluctuations or spacetime etc as nothing is a blunder. Something, is deeply, deeply wrong in the state of our thinking. KF
PS, that inadvertently humourous Dawkins exchange with the now somewhat rehabilitated Cardinal Pell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v34QjYPuiEA