I imagine a half-human, half-machine robot, perhaps stitched together by a futurist Newt Gingrich in some sterile, state-subsidized, private, for-profit R&D facility, a sort of Frankenstein for the brave new world, when I consider the author of “The Only Real Trend is Fast-Forward,” FM-2030 (Commentary, Dec. 18).
FM-2030 has apparently been programmed to feed back that accelerating movement in a certain direction is necessarily synonymous with meaningful progress. Mere accelerating movement in the guise of NAFTA, etc., of the technologcal/mega-corporate juggernaut along the elite-determined “shining path” to a supposedly glorious future, is only progress by technological/corporate standards, not necessarily human ones.
To be fair, to write, as FM-2030 does, that “election results no longer indicate a nation’s ideological direction,” is to be in touch with reality–not just virtual reality. Surrealistically though, FM-2030 mistakes this for “decentralization” and democracy. But, to transfer power from marginally accountable public institutions to obviously centralized and authoritarian private institutions not only fails to accomplish these much-maligned goals, it is a move in the opposite direction. It is the road to serfdom, literally.
The “progress” FM-2030 beeps and whistles over giddily is indeed, as he readily admits, overturning such things as traditional community and family values. But it’s deja vu all over again. The (tactical) nuclear family, which the selective “conservatives” seek to preserve (though they wouldn’t think of it this way) against the onslaught of capitalism’s latest “revolution,” is itself a product of capitalism’s first assault on human beings and their traditional modes and values: the Industrial Revolution.
So, yes: Unaccountable and growing corporate tyrannies and “the Market” do and will continue to destroy local autonomy and control, in the name of liberty, and at a speed that is growing exponentially.
Strictly within this context, I am not only a conservative (18th century), but a reactionary too.
Written by Ron Leighton and published by the Los Angeles Times on January 2, 1996