No, really, they are. Hipster libertarians are the new street mimes, so enjoy them while you can before everyone gets tired of them. The latest example is this silicon valley entrepreneur, Rob Rhineheart, who has written a paean to his lifestyle. It starts with a complaint about the horrors of alternating current.
The walls are buzzing. I know this because I have a magnet implanted in my hand and whenever I reach near an outlet I can feel them. I can feel fortresses of industry miles away burning prehistoric hydrocarbons by the megaton. I can feel the searing pain and loss of consciousness from when I was shocked by exposed house wiring as a boy. I can feel the deep cut of the power bill when I was living near the poverty line. I can feel the cold uncertainty of the first time the power went out due to a storm when I was a child. How long before the delicate veil of civilization turns to savagery with no light nor heat nor refrigeration?
This summer, I met an electrical engineer who also had a magnet implanted in his hands. It sounded useful in his occupation — he could tell when a wire was live without actually touching it, which is a good ability to have when you’re poking around electrical gadgets. If you’re just using it to stoke your paranoia about electricity in the walls, well, I’m sure there’s nothing anyone could do to prevent you from being silly.
Rhineheart’s claim to “fame” is that he’s selling a product called “Soylent”, which is supposed to be a complete liquid replacement for regular food. This kind of thing has been around for a long time — when my grandfather was recovering from cancer surgery that removed his entire lower jaw, he got by on Ensure. He didn’t enjoy it. I can’t quite imagine wanting to eliminate all flavor and texture and variety from my diet that way voluntarily, but apparently someone thinks there’s a market for tastelessness (they probably aren’t wrong.) But making the case for Soylent in environmental terms is absurd, and adding a nice dollop of privileged elitism on top makes it revolting.
First, I never cook. I am all for self reliance but repeating the same labor over and over for the sake of existence is the realm of robots. I utilize soylent only at home and go out to eat when craving company or flavor. This eliminates a panoply of expensive tools and rotting ingredients I would need to spend an unconscionable amount of time sourcing, preparing, and cleaning. It also gives me an incentive to explore the city’s fine restaurants and ask friends out to eat. In fact, I find soylent has made me more social when it comes to food. I can spend the money I saved from groceries and take out to buy a friend lunch or dinner. When soylent 2.0 reached private beta, I was thrilled to learn that thanks to aseptic processing the product does not require refrigeration, and will still keep its nutrition for at least a year. It tastes better cold but I think it’s fine warm. Getting rid of my fridge was one of the greatest days of my life. Nevermore will I listen to that damn compressor moan.
After all his babbling about going off the grid and the disgraceful wastefulness of coal plants and public power, his answer is to just buy his weird processed liquid food (which, apparently, requires no energy to make or transport!), and go out to fine restaurants to eat, which in turn must be entirely solar powered and are synthesizing their food by fixing CO2 directly out of the atmosphere.
In what universe do you save money by buying processed food in a bottle and going out to restaurants all the time, rather than cooking from fresh ingredients in your home? This is completely contrary to a lifetime of experience, and makes no sense whatsoever. But the entire essay is a bizarrely disconnected fantasy. He loves Uber, that capitalist wet dream that outsources all the labor from a business that profits the owners exclusively.
Public transportation is leagues more efficient and I love trains. Still, the energy costs are substantial and the infrastructure requires a lot of maintenance. I take Uber around the city and to work (most of them are Priuses which use DC motors so I’m good there). I take the bus often too. It’s pretty good in LA. Runs on CNG.
Perhaps a cross between a subway car and an automobile: some sort of self-driving electric pod that carried a dozen people in a UberPool model would improve on this. Either that, robot horse cheetahs, or drone multicopters.
Robot horse cheetahs. This is my new catch phrase to perfectly capture the delusions of Libertarians. All our problems will be solved by Robot Horse Cheetahs that will be constructed by 3-D printers, no labor involved, and that will run entirely on DC current beamed to them by the beneficent sun, with the all-knowing love and guidance of Holy St Tesla.
One more fragment of elitism:
I enjoy doing laundry about as much as doing dishes. I get my clothing custom made in China for prices you would not believe and have new ones regularly shipped to me. Shipping is a problem. I wish container ships had nuclear engines but it’s still much more efficient and convenient than retail. Thanks to synthetic fabrics it takes less water to make my clothes than it would to wash them, and I donate my used garments.
Yes. You can save energy and money and the environment by throwing away your clothes when they get dirty, and having new ones shipped to you from China. And it’s OK, because when his t-shirts get sweaty and dirty, rather than washing them himself and wasting water, he gives them to poor people, who will wash them for him, apparently without using any water.
I’m actually kind of impressed. Silicon Valley is breeding a whole new class of uniquely clueless asshole.