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July 26, 2023

Wednesday Morning Rant [Joe Mannix]


And probably other things, too

Imagine that you're a contemporary plutocrat. You're a wealthy megalomaniac who is assured of your own brilliance and power and you want to remake the world. You're the kind of guy who builds a bugout bunker in New Zealand to which you can retreat once your plans come to fruition. You have the desire to be a supervillain and you have the means to do so, but what do you use as a guiding principle? What is your mechanism?

Enter the "Effective Altruism" movement, or "EA." EA started in the late aughts and early 2010s. It is the favored mechanism of many of our contemporary plutocrats. EA is an idea that our industrial (especially tech and finance) elites increasingly subscribe to. Its goal is to use money effectively - that is, to maximize return on investment. It sounds good, until you see the names involved in the movement - names like Pete Singer and a clutch of plutocrats including FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried.

Sam Bankman-Fried hired his little brother Gabe Bankman-Fried - a former Democrat Party operative - to lobby on behalf of FTX. While doing his job of greasing political palms, Gabe Bankman-Fried also allegedly had grand ambitions for the FTX Foundation and its EA-focused mission: protecting fellow travelers and creating a race of genetically-engineered supermen.

No, this isn't a Doctor Evil plot or some absurd Bond villain scheme. He meant it. According to recent court filings related to the implosion of FTX's fraud empire, some fascinating tidbits came to the surface. Gabe Bankman-Fried was apparently lobbying the FTX Foundation's board to attempt to purchase the island nation of Nauru. Nauru is an independent state in the Micronesia region of the Pacifc. Gabe Bankman-Fried wanted to try to use the FTX Foundation's money to buy the country. Not the land, but the entire country and its sovereignty - though there is no evidence that Nauru itself was interested in such a deal.

Why? To protect his fellow "effective altruists" when the world ends and to end-run regulations on human genetic engineering:

The goal, according to the memo, would be to build a bunker that could be used in the event that "50%-99.99% of people die," with the aim of ensuring that most EAs, or effective altruists, can survive, as well as to develop "sensible regulation around human genetic enhancement, and build a lab there."
Ah yes. Once the "EAs" manage to blow up the world, they can all retreat to Micronesia and provide some source material to the engineers designing tomorrow's new race of genetic supermen. A bugout bunker in New Zealand is cool and all, but those guys all lack vision. You really need your own country if you want to truly run hog wild.

Besides the supermen and the compound for those who would destroy the world, there are surely other benefits to owning an entire country. Gabe Bankman-Fried even called those out. Sort of:

"Probably there are other things it's useful to do with a sovereign country, too," the memo also notes.
The main purpose is a bugout bunker compound where the EAs can meddle in G-d's domain, but there's probably some other stuff, too. We'll play it by ear.

This is our ruling class.

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posted by Open Blogger at 11:00 AM

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