One of his best essays, IMO
Once upon a time, digital tech firms, having caught the regulatory state off-guard, spontaneously embraced de facto freedom from regulation. Nowadays, big tech firms lobby heavily for preemptive regulation of digital tech old and new. See, for example, Sam Altman's plea for regulation of AI. It's unclear whether the motives are insider-ism (regulatory capture), fear of a hostile standoff by lawmakers, and/or elite ideology. Count me more skeptical than Richard Hanania.
‘... the openness to change of the left.’ What drivel! The Left are not open to change. It MUST be done their centuries old, tired, failed way. Of course the Left’s way never fails - it just hasn’t had enough money spent on it, or hasn’t been done long enough, or not enough resources applied. Left open to change? Please... do me a favour, pull the other one, it’s got bells on.
What makes Elon Musk a special billionaire is he sees threats to own well-being and that of his employees and his children and he makes a public personal defense - he puts his own money and reputation at risk to defy the political consensus. He saw California's Covid policies threatening his business and he pushed back, ultimately moving Tesla's HQ to Texas. He sees Transgender activism a threat to children and so he defies his corporate executive peers and he speaks out in criticism. He sees threats to free speech and so he buys Twitter.
But Musk is a unique case. He made his billions off of government subsidies yet he feels no loyalty to government. Contrast that to Zuckerberg, Google and other Silicon Valley firms who profit from their government ties and who are all too willing to please the government's wishes.
Tech Right: Andrew Yang plus HBD statistics.
What's the political platform of the tech right?
1) Richard wants them to try to cut Social Security, DOA. Probably the single worst thing the GOP wasted political capital on for the last 20 years. If you hate olds just assume the US is going bankrupt eventually and pass huge child tax credits to funnel what money is left to young faster.
I would guess tech right opinions on healthcare run the gamut, and that's where the money is.
2) He wants more immigration even though immigration turned Silicon Valley into a one party far left state.
3) Move on from legalizing pot to legalizing meth?
4) All of the reforms Richard says he likes (low taxes, growth, school choice, anti-woke) are all happening in Red States full of those GOP populists he hates.
Silicon Valley voted in favor of affirmative action:
I thought it as a good essay. The #1 issue is that the crop of new "educated conservatives" is smaller and smaller every year. Even if one is dispositionally conservative (in the traditional American sense) it's hard to develop the knowledge and skills in today's education system that has fewer and fewer conservative role models. I see it with one of my teenagers. Conformity is prevalent and the nail that sticks up gets hammered down.
"Here, Hanania sounds to me like a Paul Ryan Republican. As it stands today, that faction is under the bus, having been tossed there by Donald Trump and his supporters."
Paul Ryan and similar Republicans tossed themselves under that bus.
"like a Paul Ryan Republican. As it stands today, that faction is under the bus, having been tossed there by Donald Trump and his supporters."
It was Paul Ryan who failed as a Republican House leader to get funding for a border wall, as was promised by Trump -- Ryan did more tossing Trump under the bus first.
This is kinda common in those who complain about Trump. Trump-haters insult or badly treat Trump, who returns even worse insults or worse treatment. (Lately with DeSantis, Trump is insulting first - and many Trump supporters are supporting him less because of this.)
Kling has often complained about lousy Trump appointees - yet since Biden's successful steal* of the election, no Kling complaints about any of Biden's terrible picks doing lousy stuff. Plus, Trump in changing / improving was at least going thru the advantage of democratic gov't - peaceful replacement of those not performing.
The Tech Right, and Kling, like rich Rep donors, don't like Trump and especially his strong anti-illegal immigrant stance, which all nativist anti-immigrants also are against. Tho it's Trump's boasting and vulgar "rich & winning" claims & style which so many educated folk make him "unqualified" to be President.
*Kling's idea is that gov't supported censorship of true news about a candidate doesn't rise to the level of "stealing" an election, because of the ballots being counted. Tho the FBI supported RussiaHoax was all about vague influence, rather than specific censorship of the truth - and of course, none of the deep state illegal election influencers will be indicted or punished. Most won't even be investigated.
Why is it so hard to accept the truth? The election was unfree, unfair - therefore stolen. Kling prefers confirmation bias analysis to claim "not stolen" rather than - yes, deep state stole the election. Why? probably because accepting that 2020 was stolen means ... what? That more should vote Trump 2024 for "some kind of justice"? - and Trump haters hate that idea, tho many want to continue the outrage porn of Trump hate intellectual masturbation.
I'll support Trump or DeSantis - any Rep better than every Dem. (I'm already tired of 2024.)
Great article analysis.
I have read Richard's essay earlier, and it looked interesting at a first glance. On a second thought, after reading your critical opinions, it appears, he is coining yet another 'group' out of in no way politically organized individuals with very broad range of views and interests, whose individual views may be intersecting to a significant extent with a broad set of ideations Richard listed (and with many of which I coincidentally agree). Thus, the name Tech Right - because the left-coined dismissive acronym is unpronounceable. Why not Tech Middle, for example? Because, given a sound handle, the receivers of it presumably may be pushed by the wokers to more eagerly support general 'right'. Perhaps an unconscious manipulation? Will be interesting to see if the wokers will pick up and use it as a slur, instead of the unwieldy acronym. If it is going to stick at all, will not take long.
However, Hanania's is a very surface level description of the phenomena. This is why he has so much readership - it is understandable, with apparent insights, and mostly wrong. The deeper description of modernity as a religious competition between memes. Gnostic secular religion of leftism, culmination in wokedom, and in case of the US a relatively strong opposition of many classical Christian denominations. Elsewhere in the English Western world, there is less traditional religious opposition.
What Hanania describes as Tech Right are essentially a typical rare high IQ high achievers that don't buy into one or the other cult. Thus mostly rational true progressive initiatives and desires (aside from things like Transhumanist delusions, and similar - that the acronym tries to exploit - grouping nonsense with progressive stuff - so they can strawman all of it together). Per Gaussian distribution of g, there can ever be very few of them. Thus, they will be ostracized from both sides. Yet people like them were indispensable in getting the civilization technological progress to here. Perhaps 'they' will succeed overcoming this and perhaps not. But, as a 'group' they are better described as the secular Renaissance Tech, not the Tech Right. But I would rather not group vastly different individuals with their idiosyncrasies, which is the intersectional trap of the left that Hanania is falling into, and playing that game. Again, very relatable, gets him tremendous number of readers. And shallow.
Hanania's article is good. But these people have a broader spectrum of views than what he describes https://twitter.com/Scholars_Stage/status/1665839448741879808?t=dUK_LTMA_TPgnQs634E6bQ&s=19
Hanania is right about the economic populism. It's going to get mugged by reality.
The Paul Ryan Republican faction is thrown under the bus by Trump. Kling keeps saying that over and over.
Paul Ryan rose to the leadership of the Republican Party as a health care policy specialist and despite winning lots of elections and having control of all three branches of federal government, under Paul Ryan's leadership the Republican's ultimately delivered nothing or next to nothing. Paul Ryan may be a great policy writer, he may have great policy ideas, but as a political leader specifically on the health care issue, he seems to have done a terrible job of leading the party, building consensus, building messaging, and passing quality legislation.
Also, while Paul Ryan was leading health care legislation efforts with all three branches of federal government under Republican control, I noticed Kling was decidedly uninterested in everything Paul Ryan was doing.
Also, the tech right has been around for a while, they were a key part of Trump's success. Peter Thiel is obviously part of the tech right, he has been one of the most influential voices of the right and endorsed Trump in 2016. Elon Musk is now the biggest politically outspoken figure of the tech right in 2023.
“And if I were younger and more focused, I would be trying to turn one of my LLM app ideas into a business right now.”
Would love to hear more about your llm app ideas...🙏👍
Note the throwing under the bus too the idea that "crony capitalism" is bad. The difference between the Tech Right and libertarianism is the former's idea that government interference/subsidy on tech's behalf is good.
So it's a Paul Ryan + an unabashed support for Big Serious Capitalists, contra the romance of the small business person. None of this Institute for Justice stuff wherein helping taco truck entrepreneurs is on equal footing with less corporate regulation.
re: “The Tech Right is in many ways anti-populist, and will hopefully stand in the way of those trying to make Republicans more friendly to labor unions, entitlement spending, and economic regulation.”
Not sure that populists are categorically pro-labor unions, entitlement spending, and economic regulation. Instead, one might argue, that they (as every other political faction undoubtedly claims as well) to share “extropianism” with the TESCREAL “Extropianism” being to the best of my understanding, placing a priority on the improving the human condition. The motto of the populist journal Spiked Online, is, for example, “humanity is under rated.”
Earlier Hanania suggested Vivek Ramaswamy might be considered part of the tech right and Vivek is considered a populist ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/vivek-ramaswamy-the-anti-woke-populist/article66553983.ece ). Nor has he come out in favor of labor unions, entitlement, and economic regulation. Like DeSantis, though, Vivek’s agenda seems to priortize defending against the wokeness attack on normal citizens.
Perhaps Doug Burgum might represent common ground between populists and the tech-right? Although his stance on vassalage to the CCP and moving beyond woke and on to quality of life for everyone might lack strong appeal for the tech right, if they held their nose, they could likely common ground with populists attracted to his message that “Our enemies aren’t our neighbors down the street. Our enemies are countries that want to see our way of life destroyed. In a country built on neighbors helping neighbors, we’ve become a country of neighbors fighting neighbors. We should be fighting to unite the country against our common enemies like China and Putin.”
Secondly, I was, as I suspect many other populists, were gratified to see that the new web site for the two-term North Dakota governor’s presidential campaign states quite plainly “The economy needs to be the absolute top priority. It’s the main thing. A strong American economy propels everything else and is the key to unlocking the best of America. Innovation has always been America’s best weapon. Innovation over regulation is how you solve the challenges we face today. Regulation looks backward and innovation looks towards the future. It’s provided an opportunity for a better life to Americans willing to reach for it. All that is now at risk.” (https://www.dougburgum.com/why-doug#economy ).
Burgum’s biography would appear to be an appealing candidate to the tech right. Per wikipedia “He mortgaged his inherited farmland after graduating from college in 1983 to invest in a small technology startup, Great Plains Software. Becoming the company's president in 1984, he grew Great Plains into a successful large software company. Burgum sold the company to Microsoft for $1.1 billion in 2001. While working at Microsoft, he managed Microsoft Business Solutions. He has served as board chairman for Atlassian and SuccessFactors. Burgum is the founder of Kilbourne Group, a Fargo-based real-estate development firm, and also is the co-founder of Arthur Ventures, a software venture capital group.” Real per capita GDP grew about 8.8 percent from 2016 when he took office to 2021 (most recent data available at: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/NDRPIPC ) so he would be appealing to populists as well.
There is not a lot of policy on the Burgum web site but hopefully more specifics will become available. He does also prioritize energy and defense. So, from a populist perspective, not too bad as some bare bones on which to hang a policy agenda.
The Tech Right is similarly lacking in any sort of well-developed and specific policy agenda. Largely based in California, though, it does not appear that it has not been able to accomplish much of anything in the arena of democratic give and take, which is perhaps why the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia, would appeal to them so much as a model of governance. This morning the excellent Edward Ring paints an agonizingly depressing portrait of the tech aristocracy’s experience governing in California (https://amgreatness.com/2023/06/06/infrastructure-choices-matter/ ). Reining in the administrative state and reintroducing reality-based cost-benefit analysis really ought be a top economic improvement strategy in either a Tech Right or a populist policy agenda. If the Tech Right can hold its nose long enough to participate in democracy rather than attack it perhaps there are opportunities for real extropianism.