Why Silicon Valley Reactionaries Embrace RFK Jr.: An Exploration

Why Silicon Valley Reactionaries Love RFK Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently announced his running mate for vice president in his independent presidential bid: Nicole Shanahan, a prominent attorney with deep connections to Silicon Valley. Kennedy, during the introduction of Shanahan to the public, drew a striking parallel between her and his controversial grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy.

Notorious for his dubious business dealings and right-wing politics, Joseph Kennedy’s legacy is often viewed with disdain. Yet, Robert Kennedy Jr. candidly acknowledged his grandfather’s flaws while likening him to Shanahan, highlighting her role in their campaign.

Kennedy’s choice of running mate reflects a peculiar juxtaposition: while positioning himself as a rebel against corporate power, particularly Big Tech, his selection of Shanahan embodies Silicon Valley plutocracy. His campaign rhetoric denouncing big business seems incongruous with aligning with someone deeply entrenched in its interests.

RFK Jr.
RFK Jr. (Credits: CNN)

During his speech, Kennedy asserted that his campaign stands against various entrenched powers, including the military-industrial complex, Wall Street, and corporate media. However, his alignment with Shanahan raises doubts about the sincerity of these claims. Moreover, Kennedy’s hawkish stance on Israel and his promotion of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories further challenged the authenticity of his populist narrative.

Shanahan’s background epitomizes the fusion of Kennedy’s presidential aspirations with a faction within Big Tech that embraces a concept known as necro-futurism. This ideology advocates for a return to past greatness through technological advancements achieved by dismantling regulatory barriers.

Silicon Valley’s financial backing, particularly from figures associated with Peter Thiel, has propelled Kennedy’s campaign. Notable tech figures, including Elon Musk, Chamath Palihapitiya, and David Sacks, have thrown their support behind Kennedy, seeking to promote their own interests in a deregulated environment.

Shanahan’s political evolution from a Democratic Party donor to a supporter of reactionary causes, such as opposing criminal justice reform and spreading discredited medical theories, underscores the ideological shift within Silicon Valley’s elite. This shift is driven by a disdain for regulatory constraints and a desire for government policies that serve their interests.

The Silicon Valley reactionaries’ nostalgia for a bygone era of American greatness, epitomized by the Kennedy era, is evident in their support for Kennedy’s candidacy. However, this nostalgia overlooks the complexities of the Kennedy legacy and the constraints imposed by party politics, which required engagement with social movements and progressive policies.

Kennedy’s campaign represents a paradoxical blend of populist rhetoric and alignment with corporate interests, epitomized by his choice of Shanahan as a running mate. While invoking the Kennedy legacy, his campaign is ultimately fueled by Silicon Valley’s desire for deregulation and government policies tailored to their benefit, rather than the broader public interest.

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