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Automation will stop worker uprisings, not old school tyranny

By Matthew Delaney

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. View more opinion on ScoonTV.  

Part of working in this business is reading someone else’s work and occasionally thinking “Damn, I wish I wrote that…” That happened to me while reading an article about how the Freedom Convoy up in Canada exposes a fatal flaw in the liberal elite regime.  

Auron McIntyre over at IM 1776 writes that “Automating away the working class is [the elites’] eventual goal, but for now, they are heavily reliant on exactly that class to keep the already fragile infrastructure of their regimes running. They have attempted to abandon the working class before they can make them obsolete, and that is a serious tactical error.”  

He cited the Southwest Airlines strike last fall, and of course the trucker-powered supply chain, as further proof that our transportation infrastructure is fueled by working class muscle. That’s why his point about automation is so true — the “laptop class” wants to replace workers with robots as soon as possible. Therefore, their labor no longer is, to use the word of our time, essential. 

I don’t have to spell out how important it is to be seen as “essential” to our power brokers. If you earn that glorious classification, you get the dignity and autonomy that comes with being an adult. If you don’t, you become a child in the eyes of the elite; a charge for them to oversee…as long as you behave, that is. 

This dependence is at the heart of liberal hegemony. You need to play by their rules to keep a job, or to grab a drink at the bar, or now in Canada, to freely spend your money and protest causes you think are worthy. The trucker protest has been a middle-fingered reminder that the working class are what allow liberals to even flirt with their idealized dictatorship. They don’t have as much power as they think they do. In fact, elites are dependent on these fringe, Confederate-flag-waving rubes to survive. 

The concentrated focus on the Freedom Convoy has delivered that message to the masses. In just a few weeks of protests, the truckers have; 

1). exposed how unscientific Covid-19 policies are, 

2). revealed the shameless hypocrisy of liberal media allies, 

3). and unmasked the authoritarian character behind the super inclusive, empathetic image of liberal leaders like Justin Trudeau, who imposed martial law on his citizens.  

Legitimate respect for the liberal order is out the window. The fear they often use to engender that respect has become dull to the touch. I wouldn’t expect this ego death to cause elites to appreciate our freedoms, though. They’ll instead learn to minimize our role in society and enforce dependence via technological circumstance rather than with the threat of cancel culture like we’re used to. 

This is where automation comes in. 

In the Before Times, automation was a slow-moving reality. Sure, there were self-checkout lines at your grocery store and robots in warehouses and factories. But it was on a non-politicized course, which is why the European Union said that 45-60% of workers could see themselves replaced by automation by 2030. More to the point, Harvard Business Review projected that automated trucking could eventually wipe out some 450,000 long-haul jobs, which flew under the radar when it was written in 2019. 

Now, those same truckers have become a symbol of dissent to liberal authority. They’ve become the catalyst for a populist, worker-led uprising from Europe to New Zealand. In non-political contexts, they’ve also shown corporations that there is money to be made outside of the social justice cocoon. Those businesses may in turn feel less need to cater their marketing. Thus, they will contribute fewer woke sentiments to the public sphere. 

But the class divide on wokism is a major advantage for liberal elites. The scientists and engineers leading the automation push arguably lean left politically. They’re sympathetic to the notion of improving efficiency regardless of tradeoffs. Creating a Manhattan Project atmosphere around automation would be an easy sell to them. It’ll be an even easier sell when they’ve convinced themselves that they’re displacing mindless Trumpers.  

There is a solution to those who lose their jobs to robots: Be given some cash to retrain for a new career in tech or another field. Manual laborers can simply “learn to code” and they will be thriving members of society again. 

I wouldn’t take this analysis at face value. For one, when mining facilities are shut down, typically what happens is more like what occurred in one West Virginia county: mass layoffs for public school teachers and other local government workers. While job transitions for miners have become a political football, the interim solution has been government charity, no matter if it’s a liberal or conservative party in the White House. 

This retraining also comes with strings attached. Working class America is largely red, while “laptop class” America is largely blue. Phasing workers into these new environments will require a level of indoctrination, or at least, begrudging acceptance, of left-wing tropes being treated as the foundation of all knowledge. For destroying the worldview of liberal elites, the new arrivals to the laptop class will have to destroy their own worldview in order to feed themselves and their families.  

In other words, the solution becomes a dependence on Big Brother. 

It’s a power transfer by way of business evolution, and one that the temperamental corporations will get behind because it helps them exceed their bottom line. The fact that it just so happens to disenfranchise the working-class folks, whose value to the economy allows them to successfully oppose liberal elites’ desires, can be coughed up to circumstance. 

Tyranny takes a new form in our modern age. What’s happening in Canada is shocking to us because it is so familiar. There are millions of people worldwide who have lived through archetypal authoritarian regimes and can still recount their horrors to us.  

But the tyranny that we now face is one of tyranny over how freedom can be expressed. You’ll be “free” to submit to the regime ideologically or “free” to submit to them for subsistence. Otherwise, you’ll be free to face the consequences. Just ask the truckers.

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Matthew Delaney


Matthew Delaney is a local journalist based in Washington, D.C. When he’s not questioning why he joined the media, he’s doing his part to restore some of its credibility with quality work

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