culture wars

Read this article! I have no time, so just throwing my thoughts here for personal reference:

  • very much agree with the debate of “do I continue consuming news/social media or not” - but I don’t think I become a victim immediately if I stop. One could also say that I am not engaged with the national culture wars but I am engaged with my local community culture wars - which used to be the case before the TV came along.

  • culture wars are not a solely American symptom, and I don’t think the solution will come from America alone. If we are talking about slowing down the toxic Silicon Valley culture, I think policy can help, and that can only happen outside the US.

  • speaking of policy-related changes, there are a lot of discussions at the Lab about “polarization is bad, lets fix it” but honestly no one has come up with a good idea yet. There recently was this: https://www.cortico.ai/blog/2018/2/29/public-sphere-health-indicators but I think they want to be poking at the problem rather than fundamentally solve it.

The culture wars on the blogosphere is an enormous source of revenue for so many different players in the game - and that’s why I am not very hopeful it can be solved from within the US.

  • his attitude is very militant, but I know people who are far better off being disconnected. Does it matter if someone thinks they are “victims” ? I see it as they are healthy, and they are inactive nodes in networks were nodes = power. “If you are not with us, you are against us” is a false dichotomy in this case - if half of Facebook’s or Twitter’s users suddenly decided they were bored and logged off for a day, putting all clicks on pause, the news algorithm would go nuts and definitely influence the other half that was still logged in.

More specific phrases that grabbed my attention:

  • “a condition of monstrously metastasized hyperdemocracy”- that phrase is golden.

  • “We are in the 3-30 years range here. Judgements about which ideologies can grow, go mainstream, and exist sustainably as part of the institutional landscape become much easier if you think 30 years out instead of 3. Very few ideologies have the legs to last long. Most are just good for a few years of bloody skirmishing, not for building lives around.”

Yes, but - we are blaming some technologies for at least the spread and tactics of the blogosphere culture wars, but technology is not ideology. Technology is the medium that enables the articulation and spread of ideologies. And the technologies that enable our current culture wars are inextricably linked and controlled to their makers, in a way that a book for example is not. An empty laptop does nothing - a laptop with an OS that can connect to the web and browse alt-R websites does.

Unfortunately I don’t think these technologies are bloody skirmishing, and we have built our lives around them.

  • “The authoritarian left will lose because it underestimates the degree to which humans want to freely negotiate their own relationships with other humans, rather than within some sort of coercive matrix of doctrinaire mutual expectations mediated by prescribed identity performance masks.”

Solid description of the authoritarian left, and it is the same (and worse) in Europe.

  • ” In a way, parts of the world that seem to be cleverly avoiding similar culture wars are building up cultural growth debt”

Which parts of the world is that, other than Canada and Switzerland?! I don’t like the attitude “the US will survive the flu because we are having it earlier in the season”. I think this is a very weak happy-ish ending to the otherwise dark but honest article.