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No, technology does not simply bend Left

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No technology does not simply bend Left

On the Joe Rogan Experience featuring tech billionaire, Naval Ravikant, that circulated on Conservative media for the comments about the Left winning the culture war and shooting the survivors, the claim was made that technology bends to the Left. The video made a claim, that taken on its face contributes to the myth that society is constantly moving to the Left and Conservatives can’t stop, only slow down progress. This claim deserves pushback, because while Naval Ravakant is an expert in technology and entrepreneurship, his understanding of the political spectrum is wholly inaccurate. Watch the minute and a half long clip.

Political Spectrum

It’s important to note that the political spectrum runs from totalitarianism, on the left, to anarchy, on the right. This spectrum is universal and can be applied to all societies, while rightwing and leftwing are social constructs marking the Overton Window within each society. I firmly believe Naval Ravikant has a different conception of the political spectrum. But with this conception, let’s see how his argument holds water.

Industrialization

His big example of technology moving culture Left was industrialization. This example is correct. Industrialization paved the way for Progressivism, a universal ideology where the state intervenes in the free market on behalf of labor against management. So industrialization led to unionization and therefore progressivism. However correct this example is, it is widely broad. It’s hard to choose a specific example of industrialization. What comes to mind is the cotton gin, which furthered slavery. But a Left wing in American politics consisting of ideals such as social democracy (welfare) and progressive income did not emerge until after the American Civil War. And in the last hundred years, unionization has lost in the private sector, surviving only because of the public sector, in the United States.

Progressivism has morphed into Leftism and socialism, in the United States. Industrialization gave birth to all sorts of movements in what America would call far Left. Communism/Socialism rose in prominence as a result of industrialization. The Soviet Union sought to bring unity between industry and agriculture with the hammer and sickle. The Nationalist Socialist German Worker’s Party brought vast technological innovations. It was leftwing compared to the social democracy Wiemar Republic.

Communications

Television and radio are perhaps other good examples that show Naval Ravikant’s point as well. But it’s not so much that the country moved left because of the technology; rather, the country wrestled left because of who controlled the technology. However, Leftist control of TV and radio was hardly as influential as the Left’s takeover of higher academia. After all when barriers to entry relaxed, the veil of nonbias faded, Fox News emerged to take on Leftist outlets. Rush Limbaugh became a force on AM radio. The internet brought forth a myriad of publications, with Conservative sights.

Has the internet really moved people to the Left? I would argue that the internet accelerated the logical conclusion of what people already believed. On the abortion issue, the logical conclusion of the abortion beliefs of people has been exposed. The “safe, legal, and rare” trope was only really believed by the nominally Pro-Life side. Social media accelerated this debate and rendered a middle ground on abortion untenable and lonely. Now the Left has won marriage, or have they? Because it was never really about marriage if, years later, Jack Phillips is being harassed a third time and children are dancing sexually at pride parades.

They weren’t really after marriage, so we cannot conclude that they won yet. And society is starting to push back on it, because the logical conclusion is being reached. Note: Steven Crowder just decisively defeated Rainbow Jihad.

Smoking Gun

One of the biggest technological advancements of all time was the invention of the printing press. The printing press was, in Europe, invented by Johannes Gutenberg. Its early use was to mass produce the Bible. Its invention paved the way for vernacular translations of the Bible. This invention would accelerate the Protestant Reformation. Was this a societal shift to the right or left? Does the individual focusing on orthodoxy and a church structure where the power is localized move society to the right or left? Separation of church and state was a tenant of the Anabaptists. And while the remnants of the Anabaptists are more theologically progressive, separation of church and state up until the twentieth century was understood to mean that the government does not choose what religion you practice. Is this closer to totalitarianism or anarchy?

Final Thoughts

When we reinvent the political spectrum, we can make numerous arguments unfounded in history. Technology has impacts but its impacts are clearer the further away we get. After all, it’s hard to examine the legacy of the Trump administration, but the legacy of the Washington administration can be expounded upon, without overt dogma.

Technology, social media, will have a major impact on society, but Naval Ravikamp prematurely stated its impact in moving the country leftward. The culture war simply isn’t over yet.

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