Archive for February 17th, 2021

Bad Internet? No, Bad Profit Monopolies & Bad Education

February 17, 2021

Trump said it himself; he is the symptom of a deeper problem, he became president because his predecessors had “done such a bad job”. And why did the predecessors do such a bad job? What was this bad job? The rise of inequality in the West has brought a misallocation of resources, and, more devious, hidden below the surface, deliberately bad education “justified” by the pseudophilosophy of “postmodernism” (which puts in doubt the very notion of truth, so that we can’t criticize our masters). The misallocation of resources in turn sent jobs, dignity and know-how to cheap factories overseas, and life expectancy down the drain (“Obamacare”) [1].

To all this the New York Times reacts by shooting not just the messenger, but the message itself. Democracy Is Weakening Right in Front of Us. Is technopessimism our new future?  …”online behemoths like Twitter, Google, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook have created a crisis of knowledge — confounding what is true and what is untrue — eroding the foundations of democracy.”

The New York Times rolls out the big guns of plutocratic universities in charge of establishment defense (nota bene: I had a professional relation with Stanford… and hold the university dear…)

Nathaniel Persily, a law professor at Stanford, summarized the dilemma in his 2019 report, “The internet’s Challenge to Democracy: Framing the Problem and Assessing Reforms,” pointing out that in a matter of just a few years

the widely shared utopian vision of the internet’s impact on governance has turned decidedly pessimistic. The original promise of digital technologies was unapologetically democratic: empowering the voiceless, breaking down borders to build cross-national communities, and eliminating elite referees who restricted political discourse.

Since then, Persily continued:

That promise has been replaced by concern that the most democratic features of the internet are, in fact, endangering democracy itself. Democracies pay a price for internet freedom, under this view, in the form of disinformation, hate speech, incitement, and foreign interference in elections.

Most democratic features of the internet are endangering democracy itself“? Gee, what to do? Is the Stanford professor suggesting to shut down “most democratic features of the internet?” Would not that be convenient to the establishment to preserve only the non-democratic features of the internet… to save what the establishment calls “democracy”?

Instead, of course, thinkers such as yours truly, want to use the Internet to expand DIRECT democracy. The Internet could, and should, allow citizens themselves to debate and vote laws… As Athenians and Republican Romans could.

Trump, Trump Derangement Syndrome, and the apparent erosion of democracy that the Internet contributes to, are symptoms of a deeper problem: a lack of education [2]. And it is deliberate, as the Internet lockdown, which is confined mostly to public schools, demonstrate (countries such as France have kept their public schools open, mostly, and certainly did not give preferential treatment to private schools!).

Today’s adults were not exposed to enough dispassionate debate, especially in history. In particular, art history. Logic, mathematics, science, and especially the history of science were not drilled sufficiently, starting in primary school. Thus, an imbalanced view of the universe and how it works, was conferred.

But not just that: a capacity and desire for children to learn interesting worlds were forsaken

The present Internet is indeed built to increase passions, for profit. Very advanced methods are used to promote clickbaits of all sorts, all appealing to the basest instincts, because, the baser the instinct, the stronger the passion, and the stronger the passion, the more attractive the participation to tribal fury. The Internet has been very good at capturing the tribal instinct.

Truth is not necessarily nuanced, but getting to it oftentimes is. Children have to be taught this, the subtlety of how one gets to truths. If they have not been taught to be astute in evaluating information, children are not going to be taught how to do it within an Internet which targets passions, instead of cold logic.

Thus a way out maybe to break the connection between rising passions of the tribal type and rising corporate profits. Maybe social networks should be turned progressively and increasingly into public utilities. As it is people with very little education are in control of the asocial Internet networks, and exert bovine censorship. A prestigious (analytic) philosophy university professor, a woman, Harriet Baber, expressed, in a very cogent comment, her dismay about the lack of basic education of her students: her “comment contravened our community guidelines and has been deleted” (too bad it did not copy it when it was showing). Bemoaning lack of education has become a crime: to insure a return to the kingdom of the beasts will be enforced by the… beasts. 

Patrice Ayme

***

[1] Lack of education and poor education were put in striking relief by the COVID LOCKDOWN. Where I live the Bay Area County has 332,000 students in school. 31,000 of these are in private school, enjoying “in-person” teaching. The public school children (including my own daughter) are condemned to extremely poor schooling, by zoom, for only a few hours a week. “Democratic” governor Newsom, whose eleven companies got millions in stimulus money, is also sending his four children to private school (as a suffect of the plutocratic Getty family, Newsom has the means). So the “Democratic” governor children are getting educated while children of the common folks are turned into uncomprehending beasts… All this in the name of “Democracy”…

For more than a month, in the run-up to the US presidential election, history lessons supposedly on Ancient Egypt, Sumer, Babylon, were replaced by intense “democratic” propaganda pro-Biden. The Principal was posing, on the Internet, below a huge poster with the raised fist of “Black Lives Matter”. Of course this elitist lady is 100% white, and lives in a multimillion dollar home, in a zone where only multimillion dollars homes are legal (the Berkeley hypocrite mood which launched that sort of racist zoning a century ago, is eroding, thanks in part to the colossal scorn of yours truly… Yes, they prefer to talk about “busing”… That doesn’t concern their children…)

*** 

[2] The hoaxes that Trump was elected by Putin, or that the interference of Trump in Ukraine was impeachable, and in particular worse than the blatant and obviously illegal intervention Biden boasted about on tape… were not invented by the Internet. Those hoaxes, which most “liberals” are supposed to believe, lest they be excommunicated, were old fashion propaganda using the Big Lie technique, to sabotage the Trump presidency.

What the plutocratic owners of the media were aiming at was to prevent Trump to enact reforms, and changing the moods too deeply. Paralyzing society by confusing moods is crucial to the exponentiating plutocracy. The first impeachment trial enabled the elitists “Democrats” of the US Congress, truly corporate shills, led by corrupt Pelosi, to get out of the previously agreed upon accord with the White House to sue the Internet monopolies reinforced under Obama.

The end result was that Google (which steers search results to its own profit) got sued by Trump alone, with a one year delay. Thankfully, president Biden has left, so far, the Justice Department free to pursue that criminal inquiry against google (one may fear that Obama would have stopped it, considering his record; perhaps Biden is determined to get even with all his corrupt sponsors? One may hope… I wish Biden makes as many (good) reforms as possible. So far Biden is leaving the core of Trumpism intact, covering that up with lots of noise, smoke and mirrors… A good thing…)

Core of the quadrangle of Stanford University, which was founded in honor of the one and only child of Senator Stanford and his wife, after he died. Their son died at the age of 15 on a family trip to Italy, from typhoid fever. Within a few hours of his son’s deathStanford said to his wife, “The children of California shall be our children.” A good thing (Stanford was the railroad magnate who built the train going east to the rest of the USA). That demonstrated that a plutocrat using Chinese workers (in bad conditions, but not necessarily his fault, the California legislature was racist …) can turn into a contributing hero to civilization. I am not necessarily against hero worship, or for wealth bashing. My relationship with Stanford is correspondingly love-hate. But i think love and smarts can win. Top universities are irreplaceable.

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www.grrrgraphics.com

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