We need a @JustOnReddit or @JustSomeoneOnFacebook equivalent of the excellent @JustSaysInMice. So tired of the divisive words of a few making their way in to fear mongering news headlines.
In a recent Guardian opinion piece, George Monbiot calls for “political rewilding” to fight against demagoguery.
At the moment, the political model for almost all parties is to drive change from the top down. […] I believe the best antidote to demagoguery is the opposite process: radical trust. To the greatest extent possible, parties and governments should trust communities to identify their own needs and make their own decisions.
Makes a ton of sense at first glance. But isn’t “political rewilding” just the best of libertarianism repackaged, the freedom of choice and voluntary association? I can understand why he didn’t use that word. The worst of libertarianism — civil liberties at all costs, at the expense of others, the earth, and more — has usurped the rest of it ideologically. “Libertarian” is to the left as “socialist” is to the right.
Related, but separate: in his article, Monbiot draws attention to Finland’s impressive (and seemingly successful) efforts to teach their populace how to spot fake news. In the CNN article he links to, the former secretary-general of the European Schools Kari Kivinen cautions that “it is a balancing act trying to make sure scepticism doesn’t give way to cynicism”.
That line hit home. Reading the news, parsing Twitter, fielding well-intended but misguided email forwards from loved ones. I’ve been living in the barrel for a while now, and it’s exhausting.
On the upside, I’ve joined Mastodon on the vis.social server. My handle is @email@example.com, and I’ve downloaded Toot! for iPhone since I like their stance against servers that spread hatred. I’m excited to give a smaller community a whirl, hopefully it will expose me to a more human and humane part of the social web.
The point of the phrase “Summer of the Shark” is to remind yourself that a “trend” can be, and often is, entirely a product of people energetically looking for a certain thing, even while the actual rate of the thing is unremarkable, abnormally low, or declining. […] If a self-sustaining hype bubble can form even over something as relatively easy to measure as the number of shark attacks, imagine how common it must be with more nebulous social phenomena.
Read Summer of the Shark post on Scott Aaronson’s blog