My two cents: High-end algorithmic design and development takes a fair amount of brains. In terms of access, we’ve gone from usenet backwaters to very popular global wave pools, disrupting many old forms of communication aggregation and technology.
Rule-making and enforcement is hard, and some of the problems found therein can bedevil anyone (political/ideological disputes, violent actors, child predators etc). Twas ever thus. You want the people, you get the problems. And there are some serious f**kin’ problems.
Each one of us gets what we pay for, I suppose. So, in choosing to use these companies’ products, each of chooses to play some part, however small.
My vague predictions: Companies tend to get co-opted by the organizational structures that have grown up within them (often run by 2nd and 3rd-raters, loud voices, and/or bureaucrats). The best talent goes elsewhere or moves on to other problems. Or maybe the company’s overtaken by new rivals. Or it stagnates against new technologies. Or maybe they are made to answer other centers of power, authority, and influence. Or….things fall apart.
Some people on the Left, feeling the pull of authoritarian undercurrents or dashed against the sharp, totalitarian edges of many others on the Left, have been the ones suggesting modeling these platforms’ speech policies on 1st amendment protections or ideas found in J.S. Mill’s thinking.
Those designs have worked much better, for much longer.
As for me, I’m not holding my breath. I’m pretty sure I don’t trust the lifeguards at the global wave pools.
Within minutes of @YouTube‘s announcement of a new purge it appears they caught my outlet, which documents activism and extremism, in the crossfire.
I was just notified my entire channel has been demonetized. I am a journalist whose work there is used in dozens of documentaries. pic.twitter.com/HscG2S4dWh
You may not use Twitter’s services in a manner intended to artificially amplify or suppress information or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people’s experience on Twitter. https://t.co/AyT3TOb34k
I’m well aware that any schlub can post a Youtube video on a WordPress site, but given the progressive politics dominating political discourse, it’s timely, I assure you.
The discussion hinges on the idea of whether or not you and I are already free, and whether or not we somehow need liberating from something. The world and society are full of injustices, and discontents, and inequalities. Sure, we needed liberating from King George for various reasons during our revolution, but not in the radical, ideological, rationalist sense (addition: a reader points out John Locke’s right of revolution…duly noted).
Black folks in America certainly needed liberating, held under the laws and subject to extreme injustice. But how?
In Marxist ideology, this liberating hinges on a form of revolutionary praxis, according to Minogue. It operates as a closed system of ‘first principles’ which goes deep and purports to function as a science and claims to undercut the sciences, philosophy, capitalism and theology in order to liberate. This is why it lives on, and on, and on. Despite its failures it remains ultimately untestable, neither proved nor disproved, not being a form of knowledge we’ll know ever lines up with reality, or that can be falsifiable, a la Karl Popper.
In the video, liberation theology is briefly discussed as well, described by Buckley as a kind of ‘baptised Marxism.’ In it, we see a charged movement against the injustices of slavery moving towards ideas of liberation (think Rev. Wright’s church). I’ll put up a quote from a few posts ago by Cornel West.:
‘Being a leftist is a calling, not a career; it’s a vocation not a profession. It means you are concerned about structural violence, you are concerned about exploitation at the work place, you are concerned about institutionalized contempt against gay brothers and lesbian sisters, hatred against peoples of color, and the subordination of women.’
Few things are sadder to me than relatively well-off, unknowing, white liberals, maybe even of the classical variety, finding sudden solidarity under the current progressive mainstream discussion, softly under the influence of the New Left alliance of the 60’s.
There are many hypocrisies visible in this approach, logical inconsistencies and costs to all of our economic and political freedoms.
Needless to say, it’s frustrating.
Also As Sent In: Martin Luther King’s intellectual development came mainly through theology and seminary, social gospel (addressing social injustices), but also depended on various other sources, including Gandhi’s non-violent resistance (not acquiescence) to displace the force of the laws used against blacks for centuries. He welcomed a broad definition of rights enacted into law to include black folks, and a vast involvement of Federal authority…that libertarians have trouble with philosophically:
Murray argues that since 1963, America’s civic culture, one that prized marriage, one that was more religious and more influenced by organized religion, and one that created a network of civic associations, clubs and shared expectations and obligations has sharply declined (Murray does not advocate a return to 1963).
He tells a tale of two cities: Belmont & Fishtown. Belmonters are upper-middle class folks, and however much they followed the 60’s zeitgeist (however radical or not radical they were), they could afford to bounce back. They’ve since come to run many of our institutions and are doing ok for themselves in the professions albeit with less religion in their lives (NPR’s mainstreaming of institutionalized feminism, environmentalism, moral relativism etc. might be a good example). The upper 20%, and a professional class of lawyers, doctors, professors has held together pretty well.
Fishtowners, on the other hand, haven’t rebounded according to Murray. Working-class whites in Fishtown now have marriage rates of 48% (to 84% in Belmont). They have much higher out-of-wedlock births, and 1 out of 8 males are not even looking for work alongside only 1 out of 8 people going to church regularly. Religion has declined in both areas, but much more so in Fishtown. The social fabric that once held these two groups together, and formed the core of pre-1960’s society, has weakened considerably.
In lieu of Murray’s lost civic culture, the clubs and associations that once bound us together, perhaps we could think of McArdle’s mandarins and meritocrats having been born of the newer, more self-selecting, Belmont. Perhaps some there are more open to government uniting us, or open to more European-style governance.
***Murray also addresses the rise of technology and technological dislocation (brains, STEM training, the rise of the quants) as well. There are many other moving parts here.
Any thoughts and comments are welcome.
The point of this post: The mandarins are us! Egads!
Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working. Check out his series at The American Interest. He has a big vision with some holes in it, but it’s one that embraces change boldly.
VDH was a supporter of the Iraq war as part of a larger war against “Islamic fascism.” He is registered Democrat but generally conservative (neoconservative?), and I suspect virtue, duty, and honor are central to a lot of his thinking as he is a military historian who’s written extensively about the Peloponessian wars.
As he points out, we are in an asymmetrical war against Islamic terrorists and also in potential conflict with the nations which actively support, harbor, or simply cannot control those terrorists within their borders. He discusses some of the forces inside Muslim countries which help to produce these terrorists as he sees them: anti-modernism, anti-Westernism, an Islamic resurgence whose sharp edge is going to drive the infidel and his Western influences from the Arabian peninsula and restore purist Islam.
In a democracy like ours (he no doubt sees parallels to ancient Athens) we generally don’t provide a lot of public support to a war unless we are in real danger as we were on 9/11. This kind of ongoing conflict (USS Cole, embassy bombings, Ft. Hood, Times Square bomber) is a tough sell to Americans and VDH is generally suspect of our will to see the struggle through as for him it is a conflict to be won, military campaigns and all.
I’d add that as we speak, Obama’s liberal internationalist policy platform is pursuing a goal which I would support if I had more confidence it would reap reward without too much sacrifice and change to our own freedoms, traditions and institutions (and not lead us into the European multicultural solution which is in part relying on our military strength).
This goal is getting a plurality if not a majority of Muslims to stand up and say to those terrorists, Al-Qaida members, inflammatory Imams and radicals amongst them: Stop it. Your way is not our way.
On this view, to achieve this goal, you meet with these Muslims and their organizations where they are, and you try and punish/reward their political leaders who cannot be too far in front of their people. You still try and install more Western democratic institutions and include the people under a set of ideals which you presume to be universal, but with as little military involvement as possible. Now you have the “right ideas.”
According to liberal internationalism, curbing American force, withdrawing our military from Afghanistan and Iraq (but involving it in unforeseen ways in Libya, and leaving it out of Syria?) is the best way forward. With carrots and sticks this will somehow, in the long run, lead toward peace by including and representing all parties without exposing them to the sharp edge of Western society. The preferred ideals of women’s freedoms, human rights, and tolerance are often pursued most prominently.
As VDH points out, our enemies (Al Qaida, terrorists in general, Ahmadinejad, Hizbollah) see this approach as a sign of weakness, and will take any advantage they can which poses other risks to our security. Our old enemies like Russia and unknowns like China will do much the same, and international institutions may not be the best way to handle any common interests. The kinds of institutions which this worldview produces are like the relatively ineffective ones it has already already produced: the U.N., the failures of the Eurozone and its top down class of bureaucrats, and the excesses of more indebted and unsustainable Western States whose people are being out-produced and out-reproduced.
There is a serious design flaw to such an approach, aside from the Rousseuian tendencies and the idealism inherent within it.
I’m not sure I’m totally on board with another military campaign in the Middle-East and I know many fellow Americans are not as well, so I’ll leave with this quotation by Samuel Huntington which I keep putting up:
“Although the professional soldier accepts the reality of never-ending and limited conflict, “the liberal tendency,” Huntington explained, is “to absolutize and dichotomize war and peace.” Liberals will most readily support a war if they can turn it into a crusade for advancing humanistic ideals. That is why, he wrote, liberals seek to reduce the defense budget even as they periodically demand an adventurous foreign policy.’
Any thoughts and comments are welcome. Please feel free to highlight my ignorance.
There are real enemies, and real dangers, facing the U.S. The current administration has a big stake in claiming that Al Qaida and the Taliban are on the wane in Afghanistan, and that the timeline for withdrawal in 2014 is sound, even though ending the war in Afghanistan is not necessarily our objective (preventing another terrorist attack on our soil and protecting our way of life is our objective). This administration also claims that through its liberal internationalist doctrine, Libya has been a success and that the Benghazi attack wasn’t the result of an Al Qaida affiliate (it was the result of an Al Qaida affliliate). It’s conducting a lengthy FBI investigation while claiming that the persecutors will be brought to justice.
Logan, reporting from Afghanistan on the ground for many years, has been observing how that threat is very real.
‘The central liberal internationalist premise is the value of a rules-based international order that restrains powerful states and thereby reassures their enemies and allies alike and allows weaker states to have sufficient voice in the system that they will not choose to exit’
What if you can’t even appease extreme and radical groups of violent Muslims as they murder your troops, diplomats and citizens, let alone get them on-board some sort of ‘rules-based international order’?
What if there is such a chasm between Western and Muslim civilizations that even less violent Muslims on the street have no clue as to the concepts we’re defending, and why, and have little to no incentive to expel the extremists from their own societies?
What if you go so far down this path that you are, or least appear to be, willing to bend on a key issue and core freedom for our country as well as our national security?
Just a little nod to the rioting mobs? To salvage a foreign policy vision for the Middle-East and give the current administration some cover? For the good of our country and our political freedoms?
The ‘movie’ seems awful, really. I should add that the quality of the piece should not be drawing the interest of this administration, as it will have a chilling effect on free speech likely not worth any upside under the liberal internationalist banner. What business do the authorities in this country have in such matters at this moment?
Addition: Walter Russell Mead on Egypt, and the Salafists may be trying to make the Muslim Brotherhood look like appeasers:
‘Unfortunately, Islamic radicals are deliberately hoping to promote a clash of civilizations in the belief that a climate of polarization will strengthen their political power in the world of Islam. Attacking the embassy in Cairo is an effort to push Egyptian opinion in a more radical direction, but the radicals hope that this is part of a larger push that will bring them to power across the Islamic world.’
Another Addition: The Atlantic has more here on Google’s decision. Is it only Google’s decision to make?
Another Addition: Fear. Violence and the threat of violence. The fatwa that changed Salman Rushdie’s life. The New Yorker’s piece on Rushdie.
From the onset, Manhattan was a place for trade and commerce. It has an exceptional natural harbor. It was an outpost for the Dutch to invest and turn a profit and it’s continued from there (after many years of British rule and even British control during the Revolutionary War). It didn’t become our nation’s political capital as Jefferson made sure of contra Hamilton, though it has had distinct artistic and cultural influence.
As the series points out, what drew and draws so many disparate groups and pits them against each other is economic opportunity. What unites them is not diversity (that’s a by-product), but self-interest and a chance for a better life by getting a job, making it big, getting away from somewhere else,being the first or the best in your field (finance, trade, insurance, fashion). I suspect both religion and secular religion (the current rise of the equality of outcome crowd, nanny-staters) have always had and hopefully always will have a hard time bending New York’s commercial bustle to their moral visions.
Related On This Site: The market will make people better off, but always leaves them wanting more and in spiritual malaise, which invites constant meddling. Can economic freedom and free markets reconcile the moral depth of progressive big-State human freedom: Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’
Hoffer was a man deeply suspicious of top-down organization and intellectuals running things, yet he is a man deeply curious and taken with ideas: He strikes this blog as something of an anti-intellectual’s intellectual. He worked as a longshoreman for much of his life in San Francisco and was not formally educated, but read many of the great books. In the video he discusses how he thought he was observing a change from an interest in business to an interest in ideas in American culture and society in the 1960’s, among other things.
‘Hoffer said: “The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.”
People who are fulfilled in their own lives and careers are not the ones attracted to mass movements: “A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding,” Hoffer said. “When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.”
What Hoffer was describing was the political busybody, the zealot for a cause — the “true believer,” who filled the ranks of ideological movements that created the totalitarian tyrannies of the 20th century.’