The self important technocrats of the Silicone Valley have found a new way to opt out of reality, and I'm not talking about a new MMORPG. Stanford lecturer Balaji Srinivasan has made the ultimate proposition, secession from the United States.
With anxiety over Affordable Health Care and same sex marriage growing in the nation's redder states, you might expect the treasonous s-word be uttered in Texas or Arizona, and not from the state home to The Museum of Tolerance.
But that's what happened.
Frustrated with financial failings, unions, and today's government in general, Srinivasan claims that technology has not been allowed to grow under America's pejorative "Paper Belt." An obvious dig at bureaucratic paper pushers, the Paper Belt essentially encompasses everyone who isn't willing to don a pair of Google Glass for the betterment of iMankind.
It's interesting, a little crazy, and dare I say, Nazi-esque.
After all, idealism is an interesting topic in the sophomore student union, or apparently in the intellectual island of the Silicone Valley. But in practice, idealism can be very ugly. The demons that Srinivasan claims plague technological advancement are the same notions that make our nation one of the freest in the world. Our bureaucracy, however frustrating, is the byproduct of divergent opinions and beliefs.
Under the iron fist of ideological societies, it's assimilate-or-get-out. It works on a college campus, or even Google's campus, but it doesn't work in a nation however staunchly enforced. We've seen what happens when tried.
Of course it's fun to point to the Simpsons, where an idealized society was parodied when Springfield's intellectual elite attempted to run the town, “Not only are the trains now running on time, they’re running on metric time. Remember this moment, people, eighty past two on April 47th, it’s the dawn of an enlightened Springfield.”
The truth behind a proposed intellectual utopia is much darker.
Democracy can't exist in single interest societies. Not because Liberals are smarter than Conservatives, but because Conservatives are just as smart as Liberals. The enlightened points in the history of humankind thrived due to divergent options, those without were referred to as the Dark Ages with good reason.
Whether or not Srinivasan believes his nation should exist off the shores of the United States or in a virtual environment, the products produced by the Silicone Valley won't leave the nation without a fight, one members of his exodus couldn't rival.
You can't beat the U.S. military by clicking Shift-Ctrl-Up.
For all the intellect within the campus communities in the Silicone Valley, around Seattle, or the Dulles Corridor, virtual dreamers can't sustain themselves with 3D printing and biomedicine. Never mind the fact that computers simply can't replace tech support hotlines and clogged toilets, but there's a very real third dimension to this world that includes angry North Koreans and coked up teenage soldiers in the Congo.
Srinivasan claims his conceptual utopia is an opt-in nation for the technologically adventurous, but in reality, it's a opt-out society for the culturally intolerant.
Then again, if I never have to read about ass holes like Nick Starr and Robert Scoble again, I might be okay with all of this.