Critics like Donald J. Trump, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, and Patrick J. Buchanan are wrong, modern Democrats are technocrats not socialists.
To explain, technocrats want an economy and society driven and perhaps governed by technology and science. For instance, a country where the government bases its policies on data rather than emotion.
In contrast, socialists want an economy where the state owns everything and runs it in the people‘s name. Importantly, classical socialists view all private enterprise as evil and destructive. Additionally, classical socialists are often hostile to science and skeptical of technology.
Most Democrats; however, want a country where government uses data science and technology to manipulate private business for the common good. In addition, the modern Democratic argument is over how we should use and control technology not over its value.
Why Democrats are not Socialists
Tellingly, many Democrats base their arguments on data science. In addition, Democrats propose technocratic not socialist solutions.
To clarify technocrats want to create utopia through technology and science. In contrast, socialists try to build utopia with government power.
For instance, Presidential candidate and US Senator Liz Warren (D-Massachusetts) cites data about income inequality in her requests for a “wealth tax” on millionaires. Meanwhile, ultra-nerdy presidential candidate Andrew Yang uses data to make his case for the Value Added Tax (VAT) and the basic income.
Notably, neither Warren nor Yang wants government-owned or run businesses. Instead, what they want is a more powerful government that can force business to do what they want.
Even self-proclaimed socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) heavily cites data when he makes his case for policies like tuition free college. Revealingly, socialist Democrats like Sanders and US Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) never mentions word like nationalization or government ownership. Instead, their speeches are heavy on social policy and class warfare.
What do Democrats believe?
Thus, I think Democrats are technocrats or rather something new and undefined. Perhaps a political party that believes properly used technology and data can solve America’s problems.
Interestingly, such beliefs are in keeping with Democratic history. Traditionally, Democrats eschewed ideology and high ideals while focusing on pragmatic solutions.
For example, we commemorate Democratic icon President Franklin D. Roosevelt (D-New York) for creating Social Security. In addition, Americans revere President Lyndon Baines Johnson (D-Texas) for creating Medicaid and Medicare and expanding civil rights.
Historically, Democrats focused on the practical benefits of government such as jobs and help for the poor. In contrast, Republicans focus on high deals and philosophies like capitalism, ideals like liberty, and the Constitution.
Moreover, Republicans emphasize theoretical or philosophical benefits like liberty and virtue. For example, Ronald Reagan spoke of “a city on a hill” or an ideal America.
Today’s Democrats are Something New
Thus, Republicans often ignore technology and its impacts while Democrats glorify tech. John F. Kennedy’s (D-Massachusetts) obsession with the space program and James Bond is a perfect example of traditional Democrat tech worship.
However, the belief that technological solutions are an end in themselves is a new development. For instance, President Barrack Obama’s (D-Illinois) focus on the use of data to analyze problems and direct government solutions. Interestingly, the best word I can come up with to explain Obama’s program is Dataism.
Are the Democrats practicing Dataism?
Hence, Democrats like Yang and Obama are advancing the first dataist political programs.
Importantly, both Yang and Obama present themselves as non-ideological or post-ideological. However, the agenda advanced by both men is profoundly ideological.
In addition, both men seem to think humans have little or no free will and are completely at the mercy of forces beyond their control. The embrace of data is an effort to bring order to a chaotic universe and give humans some control over their environment.
Obviously, this belief corresponds closely to some past political philosophies like Marxism, Darwinism, and Scientific Determinism. To clarify, classical Marxists believe humans are completely at the mercy of economic forces. Meanwhile Darwinists think humans are at the mercy of biology. Moreover, Scientific determinists conclude science is the basis of all behavior.
On the other hand, dataists believe humans can overcome both economics and biology through data. For example, Yang believes we can eliminate poverty with the basic income. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley technocrats think we can cheat death with science and data.
Are the Democrats Rejecting our Traditions?
Thus, many of today’s Democrats are advancing a radical new belief system that differs completely from our traditional beliefs.
For instance, traditional Islamic and Jewish theology teaches that man’s destiny is under God’s control. Meanwhile, Christian theology holds human beings cannot overcome their fallen; or corrupted, nature without God’s help.
Hence, many Democrats are rejecting our civilization’s traditional beliefs. Whether this Great Rejection is good or bad depends on your point of view.
In the final analysis, Democrats’ embrace of technocracy and dataism is something we must discuss. Americans must ask themselves if they want leaders who reject many of our traditional beliefs.