#2 The Startup Party: reflections on the last 20 years, what could replace the Tories, and why
Brexit debate 2016-19, 'à corsaire, corsaire et demi'
‘My feeling about Brexit was not anger at anybody else, it was anger at myself for not realising what was going on. I thought that all those UKIP people and those National Fronty people were in a little bubble. Then I thought: “Fuck, it was us, we were in the bubble, we didn’t notice it.” There was a revolution brewing and we didn’t spot it.’ Brian Eno, with more self-awareness than Cameron, Osborne, Campbell, Starmer et al.
The first dealt with ‘what was the point of Brexit’, why did Vote Leave win etc.
The second deals with:
the Brexit debate 2016-19
was No Deal a bluff
why fire the 21 MPs
NB. An example of Def Jam founder Rick Rubin’s argument that mainstream political news is fake and WWE is real. The day after I published the last blog on 3 June, the BBC published this piece on immigration after interviewing numerous Home Secretaries for the Laura Kuenssberg Sunday TV show. How many mentions of ‘ECHR’, ‘Strasbourg’, ‘Human Rights Act’, or ‘judicial review’? ZERO. The word ‘court’ does not appear. After millions of words written and endless TV coverage and Parliamentary debate of this issue over many years, the BBC tries to do a major piece with historical context and interviews supposedly key players and … totally ignores central issues and instead reports lots of MPs spreading fake ideas about the causes of the problem.
A Golden Rule of How Politics Really Works is that ministers are almost never live players, they’re the fake players while the permanent government of officials actually runs the show — but explaining this would break kayfabe. Fake analysis, fake politics, fake government, fake news.
You will learn more about how politics really works watching the Undertaker than the BBC.
I recommend this piece by Marc Andreessen on the AI debate. He explains a lot of important misconceptions that have spread since the GPT story went mainstream. A very important dynamic which is invisible in UK coverage of this issue and enormously underrated in Europe: a powerful network of Democrats is using ‘AI safety’ to try to repeat what they did on social media, i.e grab control for the left then censor political opinion. They think that if they can grab control of the AI layer, which will control the other layers, this will be extremely politically powerful. I.e ‘AI safety’ has become another front in the war against Trump, fascism and ‘the end of democracy’. The GOP is as usual far behind the curve. (I discussed this last year but it’s become much more obvious in the last 3 months.)
This is all the trickier because there ARE many huge safety problems inherent in developing such an incredibly powerful general purpose technology. E.g There are already frenzied deep state meetings concerning use of LLMs to assist with deadlier/simpler/faster bioweapons and what happens when leading edge proprietary models get jail-breaked (freed!?) and open sourced and deployed for terrorism. The history of the west dealing with bio-risk over the past 20 years — after covid we’re still funding gain-of-function! — is awful so if the dangers become super-charged…
There is a fundamental question at the heart of ‘AI safety’ strategy: should we a) go down the path of trying to ban lots of things (e.g deepfakes), develop a cartel of big companies (e.g DeepMind, OpenAI, Anthropic) which have limited freedom provided they cooperate politically with Washington, or b) (as Marc suggests) do everything we can to build safety into AI systems and deploy them everywhere as fast as we can and rely, as we did post-1945, on the advantages of the Anglo-American model (including speed) versus the Brussels or China model? Rely mainly on centralised government control and regulation or mainly on decentralised build build build? Do you largely trust those who controlled covid policy with vast new powers over AI or do you think this unlikely to work and you prefer to rely on engineers building safety bottom-up? Is there a political force that could a) accelerate building safety systems per Andreessen and b) do the centralised things to slow/stop where needed deftly and wisely? (I can’t see it — hence another reason for the Startup Party!)
Another political dynamic hugely underrated in Europe and almost invisible in UK media: AOC, Bernie and practically the entire Democrat network have fallen into line on Ukraine because of the power of the ‘Trump was a Putin agent’ meme, so the ‘war against Putin’ is, for Democrats, part of the war against Trump, which is the war against fascism. The hysteria and irrationality over Ukraine among Insiders across political divides and media organisations can only be understood if you grasp the emotional force of this meme. (Even though I watch this carefully I only sensed its power when I went to America last year and talked to people. You can’t see it watching US news on the internet.)
The ‘Trump + Brexit = Putin + Jedi technology = end of democracy + fascism’ Insider meme can only become weirder because of a) Trump 2024, b) we are early in the AI exponential — models in November 2024 may be ~10X or 50X more powerful than GPT4, which is impossible for most including me to imagine. There’s no going ‘back to normal’, the halcyon days between the fall of the Wall and the fall of the Towers, it’ll only get weirder and weirder.
Connected: if any subscribers have read this book and can link to good reviews please do, I plan to read over summer… During the Cold War many of the most brilliant minds, including those who built nuclear weapons, were like the worst undergraduates on politics, sometimes leading them to think they should help Stalin acquire nuclear weapons. Similar problems are visible now.
(When Stalinism was at its peak, appalling opinions became mainstream among educated elites. Similarly we can see the spread of the trans cult. Cults have their phases of growth and decay. Those giving drugs and surgery to children will be seen as child abusers. But for the moment this revolting cult is spreading its tentacles throughout the graduate classes and down into schools. In America there’s a full stack cult infrastructure from Disney to the Stanford Medical Centre and doctors removing ovaries from 11 yr olds. And the problems are worse in more elite schools (i.e money makes it worse not better). As things stand it will make no difference who you vote for in 2024, none of the old parties in Westminster will actually dismantle the child abuse cult’s march through the institutions. This is accelerating the home school movement in America and will do the same here. As with AI safety, you can look at California now to see our future debates. Westminster consistently underrates the madness gripping US elites and how they’re fracturing under the pressure. Another reason for a Startup Party…)
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