For Karl Marx, religion was the opium of the masses, and indeed the market-managers of traditional religions did make belligerent profits with their secret recipe for creation. The buccaneers of mass-tech, however, are more interested in their bank accounts than in any believer’s ledger log of sin and virtue. The Club of Diamonds, ever in search of escalating profits, turned part of the internet, once the potential church, mosque and temple of democratised knowledge, into the agora of sanctimonious slur. Their business had one great redeeming feature, though: humour. This, too, was a bestseller.
Having captured their millions of users, the Control Club raised their ambitions. They decided that they could also determine the fate of elections through suppression of information; that they could arbitrate on the meaning of right and wrong; that they could censor opinion by subterfuge. They turned globalisation into a quasi-religion, decrying nationalism as a heresy with the zeal of an inquisition. Some very good minds, and many prominent leaders, did not quite realise that they had been gulled into questioning the nation-state itself by a cartel’s business model.
A reaction was due. It may have begun.
Musk the disruptor
Is Elon Musk a dynamite stick with a lit fuse? Musk is a contrarian and an egoist, and a disruptor, but less maverick than he purports to be. He understands business, or Tesla would have never been larger than a garage. He will not explode in isolation, if he does explode at all. If the Club of Diamonds decides to cut his hair, Samson Musk will bring the pillars of a larger structure down with him.
The only power to gain from Musk’s self-annihilation will be China, which has the Tesla car production facilities in its backyard and is ready to replace Twitter with TikTok after a tweak or two. TikTok is the sound of time. Twitter is a giggle. Time can wait.
New genteel construct
The towering conceit of this century is that the blood and gore of imperialism is being whittled into a genteel new construct where knowledge and new mores are spreading light, harmony and reform.
The first decade of the last 30 years was consumed by Afghanistan and Iraq; the second by Syria; the third is being chewed to bits by Ukraine.
There is an obvious question. Is Ukraine the last war of the old era or the first one of the new age? The causes, of course, lie in the past. President Putin may have seen the American sunset in Kabul and confused it with a Russian dawn.
Perhaps he did not take into proper consideration the fact that America’s gut instincts are not aroused by revenge against zealot terrorists in strange robes but by a threat to its military and technological dominance. This means Russia and China. Moscow and Beijing cannot be locked away in Guantanamo. Ukraine is yet another splash of blood in the long war between Washington and Moscow. Russia may not be as strong as the Soviet Union, but it is still powerful enough to blow up the world.