Postmodern Conservative

The Competent and Diverse New Democratic Party

First off, Happy New Year.

After watching some football (which I rarely do), I can now predict that a team from the deep South will win the NCAA championship in football. I have a slight preference for Alabama, simply because football victories in our neighboring state seem to make people happier than in other places in our country. The quarterback from Clemson was pretty spectacular, although probably no match for the newly hyper-competent Crimson Tide defense.

After reading a good deal of Paul Rahe’s book about the monstrously evildoing, slavocratic calculations of those Spartans, I was spared experiencing a pretty significant microagression by seeing the team that proudly bears their name erased from the board.

This article in The Daily Beast presents the breaking news that I’ve been sharing with readers the last couple of years. Those Silicon Valley billionaires aren’t really libertarians. Evidence: Almost all of them (with the noteworthy exception of our friend Peter Thiel) vote Democratic, and almost none of them are moved by the resolutely anti-government message of Rand Paul. 

Well, the truth is that this new kind of Democrat is a new kind of selective libertarian. This person is definitely a lifestyle libertarian, thinks he or she deserves all the money that comes with all the power he or she generates, is against government regulation (that isn’t friendly and facilitating) of his or her line work, is way against unions and such, is all for open immigration flooding the country with guest workers, has techno-enthusiastic transhumanist leanings, and thinks that techno-competence should be the true American standard of merit.

But: He or she is all for the kind of crony capitalism that is partnering with government to max out on their kind of techno-innovation, is very “green” or anti-industrial, is for “diversity” as a kind of replacement for morality, and thinks that part of partnering with government (think Bill Gates) is about transforming public opinion and civic spirit with the aspirations of Silicon Valley in mind — and is more than a bit self-deceptive on the motives he or she has for coming to know and control all our virtual and real behavior. 

The candidate of the Silicon Valley Democrat is Hillary Clinton. Their antagonist is the socialist Bernie Sanders, whom it almost seems they dragged out of central casting as someone Clinton could easily beat with honor.

A second antagonist is Donald Trump, who is clearly a macroaggression against both competence and diversity and has no more chance than Bernie of becoming president. A third, less obvious antagonist is the other kind of libertarianism fueled by the Koch Brothers, the Club for Growth, and so forth. A fourth is social conservatism in its various forms. God bless with success the Republican candidate who figures out how to campaign effectively against these (I think) potentially very vulnerable (because not so democratic) new Democrats.

There’s a lot more to say. But, for now, I’m reminded that Rusty Reno, among others, has made the great point that our the reduction of the goals of our institutions of higher education to competency and diversity is caving to the the agenda of Silicon Valley Democrats, at the expense, of course, of any safe space for liberal education or even just moral and religious freedom. Competency and diversity, properly understood, are good things, to a point. But neither is a “bottom line.” And thinking that they are takes the “higher” out of higher education.

Peter Augustine LawlerPeter Augustine Lawler is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College. He is executive editor of the acclaimed scholarly quarterly Perspectives on Political Science and served on President George ...

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