The more we get to know Michael Bloomberg, the more fascinating he becomes. We have now learned that he is utterly incapable of debate, and apparently contemptuous of anyone who would waste time wrestling with ideas and concepts. What good are they to shareholder value?
But, newest in the revelations about him is that in 2017 he referred to farmers and factory workers as, well, stupid. Not overly burdened with “gray matter.”
These comments are remarkable for any number of reasons, not least of them being it displays an astonishing inability to play politics. When you’re trying to win votes (and he seems to have been thinking of running for national office even back in 2016) you don’t go out of your way to insult potential voters.
More than that, though, I think these comments reveal something of Bloomberg’s core beliefs, and perhaps those of the affluent business class he represents. Specifically, there is an assumption here that anyone who is not like him — not a businessman, not an entrepreneur, not the head of a large corporation — is a lesser being. I wonder, indeed, what he thinks of artists, writers, scientists, and others who are motivated by the love of creation rather than pure profit. I’m guessing he seems them as fools and probably evolutionary dead ends.
Which brings up a chilling question. What would such a man do if he had the vast power of the American presidency behind him? What would he defund? What would he consider not worth survival? Would anything but corporations, business schools, and a very few medical facilities remain open?
It is, I confess, something that worries me. We already have a barbarian and a philistine in the White House. Do we need another?
Michael Jay Tucker is a writer and journalist who has published material on topics ranging from the Jazz Age to computers. (Among his small claims to fame is that he interviewed Steve Jobs just after that talented if complicated man got kicked out of Apple, and just before the company’s Board came begging him to come back.)
Tucker’s most recent book is Padre: To The Island, a meditation on life and death based on the passing of his own parents.
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