The visit of Mark Zuckerberg’s to congress provided an interesting juxtaposition between the criticism of Facebook as a rapacious corporation and Ted Cruz’s criticism that Facebook is a bastion of anti-conservative liberalism. Zuckerberg did allow that Silicon Valley leans hard left but denied the charge of bias. While the matter of bias is interesting, I will set it aside to consider Zuckerberg’s claim that Silicon Valley is left leaning.
On the face of it, the valley does seem to tilt to the left. Zuckerberg and his brethren do tend to embrace the leftist positions on various social issues. For example, Apple’s Tim Cook is routinely praised for his advocacy of LGBT rights. In general, one might say, the Silicon Left has embraced the narrative of identity politics. Interestingly, some have argued that this focus on identity politics has cost the Democrats dearly in terms of votes lost to Trump and his fellows. While this claim can be contested, it is not without merit. However, a proper analysis does require a bit more nuance. While it seems likely that the Democrat focus on identity politics made the forgotten Americans feel forgotten, this would not have been a major problem if it had not been for another major factor: the correct belief on part of the forgotten that the elites, including the elites on the left, did not care about them. In fact, it would be reasonable to say that the elites actively harmed the forgotten Americans. Before getting back to the Silicon Left, I need to tell a seemingly unrelated story from my college days. But, I assure you, it will be quite relevant.
When I was in college, the cafeteria served a mystery meat—a breaded patty of some sort of meat and probably soy as filler. This meat was quite magical—by pouring different sauces on it, the cooks could transmute it into beef (brown sauce), chicken (yellowish sauce) or pork (light brown sauce). Under the sauce, as far as any of us could tell, it was the same meat adjacent mass.
The point of this is to set up an obvious metaphor: the elites are like the meat mass: they are almost all essentially the same under the thin layer of sauce: they do not care about the lower/middle classes and are simply out for power, money or fame.
While the idea that the conservative elites do not care about the forgotten Americans and actively harm them with the implementation of their environmental and economic ideologies is well known, the fact is that the left elites are also guilty of at least cruel indifference if not active harm. While this might seem odd, given that the leftist elites are harshly accused by their conservative elite brethren of wanting to coddle the poor, it is quite real. The Clintons, for example, were instrumental to the rise of globalism and shaping it in ways that have been catastrophic to American workers and the middle class. In this regard, Trump’s criticism of globalism does have merit: while it has been amazing for the corporations, it has been harmful to many American workers.
In the case of the Silicon Left, they are also the same sort of meat masses under that liberal sauce. For example, consider Apple’s Cook. While Cook, as noted above, is considered a champion of LGBT rights, Apple is infamous for the human rights violations in its supply chains. While Cook also professes liberal values, his company dodges paying the taxes that could be used to fund all those social programs that are supposed to be beloved of liberals. Zuckerberg, who also follows speaks within the narrative of the left, heads up a company best known for an economic strategy based on privacy violations and monetizing racism, ageism, sexism, and xenophobia. It could be countered that folks in the Silicon Left and other left elites do donate to charities, praise going green, do speak on social issues, and have enlightened policies for their top employees. While this is all true and does make some difference, this is the liberal sauce and not the meat. Under that sauce are the values that allow the above-mentioned human rights violation, tax evasion and so on.
While it might be pointed out that the Silicon Left is no worse than the right, this is not exactly the case. The Silicon Left purports to be liberal, caring and dedicated to “doing no evil.” While this might hold true regarding certain social issues and identity politics, it does not apply to core economic concerns and even basic human rights. This compounds their misdeeds with hypocrisy. As such, the liberalism of the Silicon Left is just sauce deep.