The historian Hugh Trevor-Roper summed up Hobbes’ Leviathan with admirable clarity: “The axiom, fear; the method, logic; the conclusion, despotism.” In Bloomberg’s conception of politics, the method is expertise, which is not quite logic but will do duty for it in an empirical age; and the conclusion is certainly despotism. But what is the axiom? What are the fearful principles undergirding the tyranny of the Bloombergian state? Not the “nation” or the “people” or the “flag” or any of the other epiphenomena of Trumpism. The fact that there do not appear to be any principles is what makes a Bloomberg presidency such a loathsome prospect.
Expert opinion collated, its rational conclusions codified, the formal up-and-down verdict-making power of the law applied with bloodless uniformity to every conceivable action — a perfect engine of lawful tyranny designed not to assuage man’s oldest fears nor even to enrich Michael Bloomberg personally but seemingly for its own sake. The prospect of President Bloomberg is an invitation to consider the future as a boot stamping on the face of a Big Gulp sipper forever while the Dow soars into the empyrean and crime statistics dwindle. It would be unfair to Cass Sunstein and other sober scholars of administration to call this technocracy. It is simply capitalism as machine learning.