From Ayn Rand to Sayyid Qutb to Richard Dawkins to Sam Harris to Jordan Peterson to Matt Breunig to Aimee Tereese to Adolf Hitler to Rick Scott to Will F Buckley to Donald Trump, reactionaries are united by their hatred of humanities & social sciences, and love of technology
See, people get confused, because many of the worst reactionaries ALSO worshipped poetry, mythology, sentimentality, fall narratives, even as they worshipped modernity, speed, power & technology, but, in reality, this isn't a contradiction at all.
I've always noticed this dynamic where a very specific type of person is attracted to these scientistic readings of Marx, leftism, modernity, industry, etc., that I find so abhorrent, empirically baseless, and often strictly reactionary.
It's usually engineering, computer science, medicine, & similar medicine fields (& these are among the most conservative academic fields/majors in general). Philosophy, physics & math undergrads can often be insufferable, but grad students I've noticed are a lot chiller.
You see there's this funny dynamic where everyone says academia, the arts, etc are elitist and resented by the 'working class'--now, they are elitist & exclusionary *in the way that ALL institutions currently existing are*--from medicine to schooling to even socialist orgs
But, if you look at the polling, the statements, etc., among laborers, unemployed, working, and poor people, professor, scientist, teacher, writer, artist, etc are consistently rated top 10 *most* respectable, it's the suburban petty boug types who absolutely despite them.
And, I think there's a lot of personality type, selection effects, enculturation, demographic correlations & structural issues at here, so it's definitely not mono-causal (indeed, it may not be *causal* at all, but simply related & explained by an extraneous factor).
But why is it that the engineers, doctors, & technocrats, on the one hand, and poets, futurists, & romanticists, on the other, who very reliably cape for fascism & atrocity when it's type comes around? (and, btw, this isn't mere speculation, it's a reliable fact).
You see the engineering, com sci, or w/e STEM type who reads Marx in this scientistic way do so, because they do Marx w/o Marxism (or, rather, Marxism without Marx), which is to say a pedantic scientistic reading devoid of its critical & social scientific spirit.
For them, it is a *cudgel* to be wielded. You'll notice the same people who, in high school, spent all their time moaning and whining about the existence nebulous class of person--'the hipster'--all ended up either fascists, or these weird trad-lefty banging on steel types.
You see they want the social science without the social OR the science, for, their image of science is *technology*, which, is to say, produced artifacts sustained by entire socio-technical-ecological & epistemic systems, RATHER than the messy nitty gritty of science & socilality
They despise these images of the spectral postmodern because it is a world from which they have always felt excluded, and, given their relative position, to which they feel they are entitled access.
You'll notice in the way they'll say 'why doesn't anthro/phil/literature/soc/poli sci/history/econ/geography/theory' etc 'write to be accessible to a mass audience, what else is the point?' but they'd never say that about chemistry, physics, or w/e else.
If they're honest, they'll admit they're a STEMlord scientistic reactionary type, and, almost always inevitably, will admit that they find the very idea of cognitive, social, historical, ethnographic, computational, textual & empirical studies of science *reprehensible*
This is because for them, everything should be subjected to 'THE scientific method' as they call it, EXCEPT science, though notably the hard sciences as they call them haven't followed any such method for 100 years. What they're thinking of is *technology*
It is ironic, therefore, that Chomsky, of all people, who decidedly is, in many ways, an example of exactly this phenomenon (the hand waving of theory, social science, humanities, w/e), actually calls it quite right, scientism is the ideology for wanna be bureaucrats/technocrats
The scientistic Marxism they wish to wield as a cudgel is ideal for their vision of the world, where they the rational genius 'material' facts & 'dialectical' reason technocrat smarter than every1 else (esp pomos, soc scis, religious folks & others) gets to plan the world.
They wish to render the social, political, cultural, economic & historical world not to be scientific but to be technological, lest that they can wield it, at others exclusion & expense, and, ironically, this coheres w mysticism & romanticism quite well.
You see, I noticed long ago that scientistic STEMlord types while dismissing the humanities as woo were also the most likely to believe in these wack brained formulations of spirituality & mysticism, at whose original adherents would laugh (buddhism,spritualism etc)
They wish everything to either be ineffable or technological,that way they can hop between passing off their ignorance & boorishness as sophistication, and their phillistine desires for technocratic control & superiority as radical & sophisticated.
At the risk of sounding like a downright phillistine Popperian (oft an exemplar of the aforementioned) it's Plato who sort of started this dynamic, even though any pedant would be quick to jump down my throat to pointed out he hated both technologists & poets lol
But, alas, this is for two reasons:
1. Despite his flaws, Plato is obviously vastly more sophisticated a thinker than these types (I mean it's like saying 'The Beatles are good' lol)
2. Every technocrat hates the potential competition ;-)
I am, very admittedly, hopping between straightforward demographic facts & cultural patterns and interpretive, psychological, even almost purple glosses, motivated by a mix of personal experience & my reading, so I will emphasize again, this is *NOT* a causal account.
I do not know if it is selection or causal, individual or structural, inculcated or revealed, causal or correlated fx at play here (and, obviously, where the relations do exist, they'll be a mix thereof)
Frankly, at the end of the day, I don't *care*--I relish any opportunity to dismiss bullshit and to mock epistemic arrogance (personal arrogance doesn't bother me, obviously), & to poke at the fragile egos of LARPing wannabe technocrats & 'rational' ™ bureaucrats
You see, one personal dynamic I can comment on among them (for it's not unique to them) is that their central personal dialectic is their expectation & feeling of necessity of always being the smartest kid in the room & the pain their impostor complexes bring them inside.
That's why they love to fall into ideologies that allow them to dismiss interlocutors without even considering them, let alone investigate their positions.
You see scientistic Marxism, NuAtheism, TradLeftism, Petty boug right wing populism, and fascism all share one key trait--they are ideologies which license you to dismiss an opponent not for error but precisely *because* they are more informed & thoughtful than you are.
Lest you think I am discussing myself here--have no worry--I gladly admit I am an ignorant dipshit, but one doesn't need to be a genius to see this dynamic at play *constantly* in the world, both online (where it's distilled) and irl (where it's more diffuse & ritualized).
If you don't believe me, at your next social event of choice, watch what happens to the demeanor & discourse of an irony bro or some social equivalent when someone, innocuously, speaks of something that they feel to make them inferior (esp if the speaker is a woman, for ex)
(Should it have to be said, I have no problem with computer science, engineering, medicine etc or their students in general, lol)
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