The hope of immortality springs eternal at a summer retreat for millionaires. / Chris Drumm
The Baffler,  August 2, 2016

Daily Bafflements

Throwing the baby out with the bloodbath-water

The hope of immortality springs eternal at a summer retreat for millionaires. / Chris Drumm
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• Today in billionaires: Do you have FOMO for the Koch brothers’ Colorado Springs secret summer consortium for conservative millionaires? Us, too. Take comfort, at least, from the fact you can brush up on the reading list. Among the set texts, a book co-authored by Peter Diamandis (executive chairman of the Singularity University, whose conference Corey Pein bravely attended for issue 28), an “unapologetic case for fossil fuels,” and the work of Baffler contributor Andrew Bacevich! But whither The Baffler?

• After you’ve worked through that, you’ll be glad to know that Zoltan Itsvan’s transhumanist election bid is still game-on. Though Itsvan has no hope of winning, as he readily admits in an interview over at Pacific Standard—since America is way too religious, and “because of the technicalities against me”—he still hopes to make a splash in “the four biggest states for transhumanism”: New York, California, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

• The election will be rigged, says Trump consigliere Roger Stone. And if there is a revolution (or, to use Stone’s term, “a bloodbath”), I’m sure we can count on Breitbart TV to televise it.

• In a momentous case of the narcissism of small differences, Donald Trump kicks a baby out of his rally.

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The Betrayal of Democracy

Chris Lehmann

The globalized power elite that may feel more at home in Taiwan or Singapore isn’t objectionable because its members may be in thrall to some sinister, unpatriotic economic loyalties, as Bannon and his retinue of Trump enablers tirelessly insist. No, the members of the placeless, merit-obsessed global ruling class deserve our scorn because they’ve turned their backs on the larger project of sharing democratic civilization on an equitable basis with their fellow citizens. Instead, they’ve arrogated knowledge—an artificially scarce social good—as their own monopoly franchise and, in the process, systematically hollowed out the local institutions and impersonal forums for public debate that helped diffuse a democratic civilization.

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Further Reading

 August 15

The alt-right era my book was about---the anonymous online trolling culture, the constant evasions and ironic styles---is over.

 August 3

I was wandering in a smoldering landscape, knowing that nothing could be done. The decisions had been made.