‘They had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.’
THE famous quote by Tallyrand on the Bourbon dynasty, restored to power in France after the fall of Napoleon, has always puzzled me: one can understand, even forgive, an elite being so cut off from the populace that it fails to see disaster coming. However, to experience total calamity and continue to learn nothing seems impossible.
We are living, are we not, through our own Bourbon age. It isn’t just Brexit: the same dismal mentality and refusal to learn continues to permeate the establishment and all its thinking in large ways and small. Just last week, plans were announced to increase the number of tech jobs in London to one million by 2023. Great stuff, you might think, until you get to the bit about the need for diversity quotas in senior management and targets for the proportion of women in the industry to plug the skills gap.
Now it is true that women are very under-represented in information technology, and researching why some industries and occupations such as IT are so heavily skewed towards some groups is a legitimate concern in ensuring a just and equal-opportunity society. Are the stereotypes inaccurate, outdated or unhelpful? Are people aware of the diversity of roles available? How are roles advertised? Is discrimination a genuine problem?
That is not, of course, the standpoint our misanthropic elites start from. Instead they automatically assume an insulting lack of agency in women and discrimination at the hands of men. In the real world such patronising elitist efforts are highly likely to fall foul of the well-established but largely ignored ‘gender paradox’, whereby the more equal society becomes in terms of opportunity, the more men and women make different decisions.
In any case, if there is a case for targeting IT recruitment towards disadvantaged groups, then a much stronger case can be made for those people who have missed out on formal education but may nonetheless have an aptitude for the subject. IT is unusual compared with most professions in that it does not require years of formal training to succeed. You cannot experiment with heart surgery, fighting a court case or building a bridge the way you can with computer code: what is required is curiosity, attention to detail and some degree of intellect.
However, as poor James Damore found out, our elites aren’t the slightest bit interested in solving real-world problems. An opportunity to help the genuinely seriously disadvantaged in society is therefore highly likely to be squandered in favour of futile and expensive ‘white knighting’ on behalf of fashionable ‘minorities’. Whether it is the relatively minor issue of IT recruitment or major ones such as returning ISIS brides, what matters to the elite is what feels good, and what allows them to feel better than the masses they despise.
Our elites are essentially dopamine junkies, addicted to the hormonal high produced by narcissistic behaviour, and like any addiction, once hooked the subject craves greater and greater fixes to gain the same level of pleasure. So many of the travails of modern society can be understood if one accepts that our ‘betters’ are chemically addled: the endless search for ever more exotic causes to champion; the ever-widening gap between perceptions, actions and reality; the hysterical aggression when their worldview is challenged and the stimulus thus withdrawn.
We have seen all this, of course, with Brexit, where some of the reactions from hitherto highly accomplished individuals have tipped over into outright madness. Perhaps what the elites really fear is not so much the ‘crashing out’ they say a WTO Brexit would entail but a ‘cold turkey’ Brexit: the ensuing disruption would force them to concentrate on the real world rather than their imposing their own increasingly wild trippy fantasies on the nation.
Even then, I doubt if it would it make a difference. The horrible truth is that even confronted with very serious and immediate challenges, addicts refuse to change their self-destructive ways. Ever since the 1960s, social conservatives have made the mistake of thinking the rising Liberal elites would one day have to grow up, but they never have and never will.
To return to Tallyrand, our elites learn nothing and forget nothing. Brexit, should we ever get it, is likely to prove just the start: what is required is a complete reset of the system that removes the dopamine junkies permanently from power.