Californian Ideology

part 1

Last year, a critical essay entitled The Californian Ideology" by Richard Barbrook and Andrew Cameron (University of Westminster) appeared on the Internet and quickly became a focal point for growing criticism of the glossy and widely influential Wired magazine. However, the author's difficulty in sorting out the origins of the ideas behind Wired and it's version of the "Digital Revolution" was painfully obvious in their essay.

I'd like to argue that the group which has consistently promoted the worldview expressed by Wired and, in effect, publishes and writes the magazine today isn't American at all -- it's the English. If anything, Wired represents yet another attempt to invade American culture and to undermine American political and economic initiative -- another of the attempts which have characterized American relations with the English for many centuries.

Wired magazine is not an American institution, nor is it even distinctly Californian (although its association with San Francisco is certainly undeniable). And, it's ideology is also not nearly as novel as Barbrook/Cameron and some other European commentators seem to suggest -- although, arguably, it is appearing in a new and, therefore, potentially confusing form. Each of the magazine's elements, including free-market economics, hedonic lifestyle, techno-utopianism and, crucially, complete disdain for the uniqueness of human consciousness are all specifically and historically English.

For that matter, the magazine's sponsors are all English (or self-confessed Anglophiles). Its themes are largely English in origin and its strategy of world-domination through techno-utopian revolution is English (specifically H.G.Wells) to the core. Indeed, Wired is a house-organ for the modern political expression of British radical liberalism and it's philosophical partner British radical empiricism. Politically, philosophically, financially and psychologically, Wired is a concrete expression of the English ideology.

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