Is Texas becoming too self-confident?

July 18, 2022

In the hilly terrain of West Austin, a buzzing high-tech industry has emerged. Amazon, Apple, Google, Tesla, Meta and many other tech companies now have a foothold in “Silicon Hills”. Dallas has become a financial hub, hosting major offices of Chase, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Charles Schwab. 

What has led to such an influx? Alongside attractive lax government regulations (which have saved Elon Musk 2.5 billion dollars’ worth of income tax), a critical convergence of engineering talent, venture capital, educational institutions and government money has inspired businesses to move to Texas. Along with their investments, thousands of Americans are moving to Texas every week, with quite a few of them coming from California.

This recent influx of left-leaning internal migrants has changed the political geography of the state: many analysts now consider Texas a purple state. Yet the Texan G.O.P. will not surrender without a fight. The party has recently advocated for the secession of Texas. The reason, as stated by the G.O.P.’s Permanent 2022 Platform & Resolutions Committee, stems from the federal government’s impairment of the Texan “right of local self-government”, and the illegitimacy of Joe Biden’s election. The full report calls for opposing gun control, abortion rights, critical race theory, homosexuality, climate justice initiatives, etc.

While secession is barely a possibility, as the Constitution does not contain any procedures for states to withdraw from the Union, the Texan rebellion is likely to shake up federal politics. Its outspoken Republican politics will add fuel to the current hyperpolarization of American politics, which is threatening the stability of the U.S.

Burning questions:
  • Can Austin really imperil Silicon Valley’s dominant position as the global tech hub, or will it remain a satellite region?
  • The radicalization of Texan Republicans can be understood as a response to the demographic shift. Given that a similar shift is taking place throughout the U.S., is Texas merely a frontrunner in this process?

Series 'AI Metaphors'

1. The Tool
Category: Objects
Humans shape tools.

We make them part of our body while we melt their essence with our intentions. They require some finesse to use but they never fool us or trick us. Humans use tools, tools never use humans.

We are the masters determining their course, integrating them gracefully into the minutiae of our everyday lives. Immovable and unyielding, they remain reliant on our guidance, devoid of desire and intent, they remain exactly where we leave them, their functionality unchanging over time.

We retain the ultimate authority, able to discard them at will or, in today's context, simply power them down. Though they may occasionally foster irritation, largely they stand steadfast, loyal allies in our daily toils.

Thus we place our faith in tools, acknowledging that they are mere reflections of our own capabilities. In them, there is no entity to venerate or fault but ourselves, for they are but inert extensions of our own being, inanimate and steadfast, awaiting our command.
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2. The Machine
Category: Objects
Unlike a mere tool, the machine does not need the guidance of our hand, operating autonomously through its intricate network of gears and wheels. It achieves feats of motion that surpass the wildest human imaginations, harboring a power reminiscent of a cavalry of horses. Though it demands maintenance to replace broken parts and fix malfunctions, it mostly acts independently, allowing us to retreat and become mere observers to its diligent performance. We interact with it through buttons and handles, guiding its operations with minor adjustments and feedback as it works tirelessly. Embodying relentless purpose, laboring in a cycle of infinite repetition, the machine is a testament to human ingenuity manifested in metal and motion.
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About the author(s)

With a background in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and a Master’s in History, Martine Dirkzwager Wu is intrigued by researching what the new conditions for the Humanities are in the age of the Anthropocene. In trying to understand a fundamentally unintelligible world, her thought process aims to be as critical as creative. She celebrates an era of post-truth in which knowledge can be traced through academic, but also natural and artistic networks.

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