No Minister

Escaping from the rest of us.

with 6 comments

Cool Pic. Very 2001ish. HAL’s unblinking red eye is in that small, black rectangle at the end.

It’s only one line – but a memorable one – from this report in The Guardian about various billionaires spending lots of money to prepare for something bad that may happen.

Prepping is no longer for Low Rent nutters…

Eventually, they edged into their real topic of concern: New Zealand or Alaska? Which region would be less affected by the coming climate crisis? It only got worse from there. Which was the greater threat: global warming or biological warfare? How long should one plan to be able to survive with no outside help? Should a shelter have its own air supply? What was the likelihood of groundwater contamination? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system, and asked: “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?” The event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, solar storm, unstoppable virus, or malicious computer hack that takes everything down.

It’s as if they want to build a car that goes fast enough to escape from its own exhaust

What’s really funny is that this group of the mega-rich actually invited this guy, Douglas Rushkoff, a self-described “Marxist media theorist for advice on where and how to configure their doomsday bunkers“, to advise them about their plans – apparently not caring that he would include all this in a book and then an article in every Lefty Luvvie’s fave news site, The Guardian (well, not every one of them – the True Believers only read Jacobin).

Of course they don’t care because their wealth insulates them from anything this guy might say “back home”. Still, it means he can write about his obsessions by leveraging off their obsessions:

Never before have our society’s most powerful players assumed that the primary impact of their own conquests would be to render the world itself unliveable for everyone else.

Eh? I’ll grant you that the IT world sucks up an incredible amount of energy – for a time the global BitCoin insanity was gobbling more power than nations the size of Argentina – but it’s traditional industries and agriculture that’s getting the blame for despoiling our world. The former for at least two hundred years if William Blake’s “dark Satanic Mills” is anything to go by. It’s a good bet that these assholes are totally behind the WEF, insects as food, ESG Investing, electric vehicles and “de-carbonising” the economy.

But like all good Marxists Rushkoff doesn’t see that because he’s onboard for most of those things and doesn’t see how badly his beloved Toiling Masses are going to be screwed by the flipside of his Scientific Inevitability. The disasters heading our way, starting with energy deprivation in Europe, stem from things that Rushkoff supports and which these guys have the wealth to be insulated from – but he blames them.

Having said that I did appreciate his social, human advice – which they scoffed at, and in doing so revealed perhaps their major weakness, which is that they don’t seem to really have a fucking clue about humanity.

One had already secured a dozen Navy Seals to make their way to his compound if he gave them the right cue. But how would he pay the guards once even his crypto was worthless? What would stop the guards from eventually choosing their own leader?

The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers – if that technology could be developed “in time”.

I tried to reason with them. I made pro-social arguments for partnership and solidarity as the best approaches to our collective, long-term challenges. The way to get your guards to exhibit loyalty in the future was to treat them like friends right now, I explained. Don’t just invest in ammo and electric fences, invest in people and relationships. They rolled their eyes at what must have sounded to them like hippy philosophy.

I did have to laugh. Any professional skilled in the use of violence is probably going to want more than just access to food and water; he’s probably going to want access to the wives and any other females linked to these clowns – and that’s while things are good. When the supplies run low the “billionaires” will need to stop talking about “their” bunker and perhaps even make themselves scarce – and hope they haven’t put on too much weight.

The thing is that Rushkoff is right on that last part, although I was surprised to see him keep it micro, making only a slight reference to what I would think is his larger point as a Marxist; about expanding partnership and solidarity to a large collective in order to meet future challenges.

But these clowns can’t see that, for all the smarts that have made them fantastically rich. They also can’t see human history either, which offers the answer. Clans and kinship based groups will do well. Relationship based groups will do well. Some random former billionaire surrounded by 12 militaristic types…

It’s also a good example of how capitalists, especially the richest ones, really don’t get that Capitalism is a cooperative effort, but then Business has always been a frenemy of Capitalism.

He calls it Silicon Valley escapism – The Mindset – but read the whole thing.


6 Responses

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  1. Wow. Just reading the linked article on The Guardian now. This is a brilliant one to bookmark and use for future reference. Reminds me of what someone said about doomsday scenarios: is that ultimately all of us will have to rely on each other; and if your relationships are only about those you pay to do stuff, you will be totally screwed if anything cataclysmic happens; as those you pay will abandon you for their friends and family.

    Lucia Maria

    September 5, 2022 at 3:07 pm

    • Yep. It’s actually the antithesis of the systems that have made these guys their fortunes, especially the likes of Zuckerberg and his “relationship network” system of Facebook, although to be fair, I’ve never heard about him going off along these lines.

      Tom Hunter

      September 5, 2022 at 3:15 pm

      • Zuckerberg probably has his expected future all mapped out: we will all be happy and under control in the Metaverse, only interacting virtually; and aware we can’t step out of line because then we will lose access to food and shelter. So … he’s probably not expecting complete collapse as these other guys are, who are probably far more realistic – as ridiculous as that sounds!

        Lucia Maria

        September 5, 2022 at 4:27 pm

  2. These billionaire prepper types will have made so many enemies in the search for the (can never have too much) El Dorado, it will be hard to find true loyalty. Lord of the Flies all over.


    September 5, 2022 at 3:37 pm

  3. Cynical me just sees this as just another article in a series of one million, how to frighten the hordes over climate change,with a new twist to it.

    Covid is off the agenda, monkey pox is a fizzer, time to ramp up climate catastrophes combined with ” wow look at me, I’m important too ”

    The nut jobs have been building castles since 1066.

    For the great unwashed this is just fear porn disguised as something else.. catastrophe is happening but I’m sorta on your side and if you adopt the sublinisl Marxist message we can survive it together.
    Like all preachers of doom since time immemorial it’s bullshit which ever way you read it or interpret it


    September 5, 2022 at 7:09 pm

    • “Like all preachers of doom since time immemorial it’s bullshit which ever way you read it or interpret it”
      O.K. How long since you read the Bible with a logical mind? Not a straw-man of the street ranters with their own version of doom……..?
      Try connecting dots like this one: back in 1983 I was reading Ezekiel 39: 11-16 . I thought ” How dumb can it be to carry a backpack full of flags to mark a bone spot, and someone else then come pick it up and deal to it, and also have to pick up a pack-load of the flags as well as the bones ? Why waste the energy and time? Just have the first finder pick up the bit of bone. ” So roll on 1999 only 16 years later and I am testing a simple Garmin 10 GPS unit as LandSearch & Rescue familiarisation exercise. A moment of comprehension: Now the military grade GPS are centimetre-precise, and it is actually more efficient to have a specialist searcher put a GPS flag on the location, and another specialist uplift the bone, possibly do a DNA test on it to figure is it an enemy bone or a friendly bone (all soldiers having DNA testing on recruitment) and either it gets returned to its family for their closure, or put in the mass grave for enemies. The phrase “cleanse the land” may also indicate something as simple as complying with old Jewish ritual land cleansing laws, or may hint at NBC contamination (anyone suggesting an mRNA treatment at recruitment to enhance performance ?).
      The point is that only in recent times has this 400 BC recording of doom had the technology development to become a reasonable description of a real event viewed by the writer. Then again section Ez 39: 9-10 sounds very much like a common-fuel policy for the military where the tanks (large shields), Humvees (small shields), guided missiles (spears), and liquid fuelled personal weapons (arrows) all run on diesel, which can be drained off to be used in a civilian power station for seven years.
      Could simply be that both Russia and NATO are happily emptying the warehouses of obsolete material in Ukraine so they can justify (to the taxpayer) the re-stock with new toys.
      Final point: Almost all of the Bible versions of end-of-age-events I am familiar with have only in the last 20 or so years had the technology development to become a reasonable description of a real event viewed by the writer. The bigger one was the 1948 re-establishment of Israel as a nation with a land territory; a “Nation born in a day”, much like the new nation of South Sudan more recently.
      The point of the original post is choosing a rational response to an apocalypse scenario; Some people also consider the probability of a “supernatural” or “extra-dimensional” aspect to our present existence, and that can lead towards valuing an eternal destination more than either material prepping or community prepping. As an old guy is recorded as saying: “Choose you this day, whom you will serve”.


      September 6, 2022 at 11:34 am

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