The historical context I notice is that Evan Sayet presents himself as a New York Jew who would by his upbringing typically identify as a liberal, but due to events that were recent at the time of the speech – in 2007 – he identifies politically as a conservative Republican. He uses an analogous story – starting ~9:00 – to place himself and his own political conversion within the historical context of the points he drives home.
The Perceived Problem
Modern Liberals don’t think. Starting at ~9:30 Evan Sayet reasons out exactly why modern Liberals “don’t think.”
The Actual Problem
We are all considering issues nationally instead of locally. We are getting most of our information from impersonal national sources like television and the most popular participants on social media. We are imagining that our problems and their solutions come from national change.
Liberals usually think up change and drag conservatives kicking and screaming to a better place with national change while the conservatives filter the change with prudence. Now, Liberals are thinking up how to destroy what’s been created while both sides are distracted from important local problems with nationally-created mass media and consumer culture. Neither side will give up the comfort the system provides even while the system itself crumbles.
What the Mainstream Media Says
The mainstream media blasts entertaining political provocation like this at full-volume 24/7.
The idea that modern Liberals have arrived at a point where they can’t find anything to change is not new. I believe it is accurate. I believe the content of the video is a mostly-accurate description of what has happened to modern Liberalism. However, there are just a few words I would alter. Instead of saying modern liberals “don’t think,” he should have said, “liberals focus exclusively on how to make change nationally through government and mass media. In their fanaticism for change, near perfection has required them to consistently mess everything up.”
The core of the solution is to address our problems that appear national at a local level. The only way Hollywood and other national entertainment will improve is to be abandoned and replaced locally. The only way the federal government will improve is to be less by being challenged by local governments.
Evan Sayet gives the solution at 24:10. “We have to take back universities, schools, media, the entertainment industry.” I agree. This is best done with participation in local government, local decision-making, and local entertainment. If we must educate our own children because the Liberal-influenced education administrators will not do it properly, how can we get it done? Fortunately our schools are funded locally, but we must participate in their governance. How can we entertain ourselves locally? Live minor league baseball, youth sports, adult sports leagues, golf, live local bands, symphonies, plays, and concerts are the answer. Unfortunately we face the challenge to eliminate what threatens these things with complacency: TV and air conditioning. We must turn off the TV, open the doors and windows, go outside and socialize.
At 43:22 Evan Sayet says modern Liberals question authority and attack the ability to distinguish right and wrong, but we have not replaced the authority and morality with anything. We need to replace this authority locally. A return to dressing decent in public would help. Once we turn off amoral TV, what do we do? We will only know once we do it. If a state were to refuse federal funding in order to maintain sovereignty, what would be the effect? How would we fund local projects and infrastructure? Are we prepared to really challenge the power of the federal government? How can we prepare? Are we educated voters on these issues?
I list five “bad” items on the Post-Industrial Time Blog that bring only comfort and complacency and should avoided to the max extent possible: TV, cars, air conditioning, sugar, pills. These five items are almost entirely new in our daily lives in the last century. They barely existed in 1900. Nationalism and the internet are equally as new as the “bad” five items, but they each have a good side. They bring more than just comfort and laziness. Nationalism keeps relative peace and the internet enables almost unlimited bi-directional communication. We must learn what these two things really mean in order to understand the solutions to the complete failure of national leadership. Nationalism is only effective if the large whole is made up of strong, healthy individual parts. We cannot outsource everything to the national specialization. Hollywood and Netflix cannot be our source of entertainment. The internet can enable local entertainment and I don’t mean friends on Facebook and YouTube. Blogging is a great way to experience the bi-directional internet. Blogging can be as simple as organizing your internet experience and sharing it with others in a positive way that you completely control. Pay attention to local events through the internet. The internet, unlike television and Netflix, is just as powerful locally as it is nationally.
“Science” is the labeling of what one feels like saying with the name science to give a conclusion credibility by association with real science through the word. The connection to science is often also established through implication by quoting whatever study or statistic feels like it supports a conclusion. Usually characterized by:
- Using a personal survey of media headlines as evidence to support a conclusion.
- Citing “a consensus of scientists” as evidence.
- Using a correlation, however weak or even just perceived, to establish a cause-effect relationship.
- Presenting a conclusion to an audience who mostly follows the same “science.”
- Use of some form of the phrase, “They say…”
- A religious adherence to a conclusion.
- A religious dependence on what “they say.”
- Accusation of the use of “science” by an opposing view.
- Adherents to the religion of “science” almost always watch some TV and / or read mainstream media.
- Reference to a well-known opposing individual or a story of a scientist who fabricated data in order to shift discussion to easier more familiar opposition.
- Grouping complex issues into “two sides” due to low-resolution thought, short attention span, and inability or unwillingness to comprehend complexity / a continuum.
- Reacting to a lack of evidence by shifting to a more extreme conclusion rather than adjusting hypothesis, level of certainty, or searching for objective evidence.
- Claims of reading “both sides” to get a “balanced view,” under the assumption that the right answer is “in the middle.”
- Misunderstanding and misapplication of the terms evidence, hypothesis, reproducible, correlation, cause-effect relationship, theory, objectively, confirmation bias, and other terms critical to disciplined science.
- Lengthy discussions between disagreeing parties, both using “science” to support opposing conclusions.
- Equating the opposition suggesting a bias with conspiracy theory.
Both science and religion have their place. Mixing the two, or using one or the other to harm other people is bad.
If it is not worth the risk without a mask, then it is not worth the risk with a mask.
What I Would Do in Order of Importance
- Lose excess weight. We have known about this virus for more than six months now and we have known about the comorbidities the entire time. Diets. No sugar. Less excess carbs. Smaller portions. That’s it. Not easy, but straightforward and effective – with or without a virus. Care about yourself.
- Be outside. And by the way, you might lose weight outside. Not always possible, not necessarily easy, but the most effective.
- Open the windows. Turn on a fan. Make the indoors as much like outdoors as possible. Fresh air. Not easy, but effective. One person can infect your whole family in an enclosed house – or not, your choice.
- What about winter you say? We will see when we get there. Currently it is July so we are lucky we can be outside.
- Pay attention to what “physical distance” means. It is about your exhaled breath. The virus is invisible and odorless, but imagine second-hand smoke. Outdoors, you are probably alright. Indoors, it could be the guy on the far end of the other room choking you out. Pay attention. Not so difficult, and fairly effective.
- Masks in hospitals, on public transit, airplanes. Mandatory. Done. Boom. No problem.
- Mandate that businesses post whether they do not allow masks, allow masks, or require masks? Sure, for the rest of my life if it makes you feel better. Businesses, decide and post it, go. Dictate it, DeWine.
- Require masks everywhere? Magic false-sense-of-security cloaks that make you feel comfortable in virus-polluted recirculated air-conditioned places going wherever you want without thinking? Easy, yes. Effective? Maybe.
- An encroachment on rights? Yes. It is. Comparing “you must cover your face to operate” to “you must wash your hands and follow sanitation codes” is an unproductive affront to personal dignity. It is offensive to my basic beliefs. Mandating face covering is a big deal and you better be doing everything else right before I am happy about it. We are not even close.
This is going to continue until we face the first 5 items on this list. Pretending #7 is the answer because it is easy just makes it worse.
Note: unlike the entire rest of my blog, there is swearing in this post. I’ve been driven to it.
Governments across the United States have taken away the right for businesses to operate with their full face showing. Most business owners and employees must wear face coverings to operate. That happened. Boom. Just like that. Some people seem to love it. Many people see it as a civic courtesy. Many people see it as a serious encroachment on rights. Either way, it happened.
Here is some discussion that should occur.
Probable COVID-19 Spreaders from Most Spread to Least
- Public transit
- Bars and clubs
- Call centers
- Collective care – like nursing homes
- Meat packing facilities and other high density work environments
- Cities in general
I will gladly wear a mask in a hospital or on public transit. Not only are they high-density and indoors, but they also are not social places. We don’t want to be there anyway. Who wants to be in a hospital? Nobody, that’s who. Wearing a mask there doesn’t take anything away. Likewise public transit. Subway cars weren’t designed jam-packed so people could socialize with their full open face spitting on each other from three inches.
- Retail Stores
- Office space – so much time here, 8 hours +
- Basically anywhere indoors where the air is trapped – along with trapped exhaled breath aerosols!
- Possibly a park on a no-wind day in the shade might make this list if you have a concert jam-packed with drunk people. Maybe, but I doubt even the worst conditions outdoors would come close to being indoors.
- Wherever everybody goes when they close parks and beaches
Probably Practically Fucking Zero Spread
I try to avoid swearing here but in this case I think we need to jump-start the old common sense neurons.
- Parks and beaches on a breezy day especially in the sun
- Especially beaches. They are breezy and sunny.
- Passing someone on the street or sidewalk
- Anywhere outdoors
Guaranteed Zero Spread
- Somebody in their yard doing yard work
Can you believe I even wrote that? I’m actually not 100% convinced this happened but I heard the governor of Michigan essentially tried to put the whole state on house arrest for like a day until various Sheriffs called bullshit. I also heard Mike DeWine said something about mandatory masks, which I believe but he backed off.
Update – 15 July 2020, DeWhiner said something arbitrary about masks. I’m not sure what. Good luck with that guvnah. Man up and tell people to open their windows in July.
Where do masks fit in on this list? Probably nowhere. Indoors, does wearing masks prevent spread of virus breath to the people around you? Very little. Outdoors, are you going to transfer enough exhaled virus breath floating in the wind with UV light sanitizing each little droplet on the way? No way. Not now. Not ever. Breathe free people.
Do masks provide a false sense of security? Oh yeah. Magic masks and everybody back to work! When the virus goes away, is it because everybody was wearing masks? If I post a sign in my yard, “no elephants” and no elephants show up, was it because of the sign? (not my joke, I copied because I love it) When the virus persists for another two years with no reliable vaccine and the media loses interest, did the virus really go away? I bet the masks will.
Some Options Besides Instant Dictation
Hey DeWine, pay attention. Copy this to your teleprompter and regurgitate it.
- Publicize a risk list like above and repeat it. Let people manage their own risk. They are better at it than the government.
- Require that businesses post whether they require masks or not. Let businesses decide what they do, make them post the decision, and let the people decide. If somebody is going to tell me to wear a mask, it better at least be the owner of the building or business. Mike DeWine sure as hell has not earned the right to tell me or any business that. AND TO BE CLEAR, do not even try comparing this to banning indoor smoking. My exhaled breath is not a completely optional carcinogenic fire specifically designed to create poisonous smoke. If that thought even crossed your mind, do ten push-ups and read a book.
- Establish guidelines on delivering food to the elderly and at-risk. Organize helping out.
Ever smelled a fart outdoors? If you did, it would have probably made your eyes water indoors.
COVID-19 (the virus, I know it’s called SARS-CoV-2) is carried in the aerosols of our exhaled breath. Did you know that we exhale 6 liters of breath per minute? Can you imagine farting at 6 liters per minute? Yeah, it would clear a room and it still wouldn’t smell outside.
Does underwear stop a fart from smelling?
Did you know that viruses can enter through our eyes? Ever chopped an onion – or been in a room where someone is chopping an onion? Your eyes watering is you catching the virus – indoors.
Watch some virus aerosol videos on YouTube.
Fog a Mirror
Can you fog a mirror? You can spread a virus.
When you lose weight, most of the mass exits your body in your exhaled breath. Carbon dioxide doesn’t make people sick, but it is one more thing contained in breath that we don’t perceive.
Peeing in a Pool
I’m peeing in your pool, but don’t worry I’ve got my shorts on they filter the pee.
Said someone about to be banned from a pool.
Yeah go ahead and smoke inside here – so long as they’re filtered cigarettes. They’re filtered cigarettes, right?
Said nobody ever.
We exhale 6 liters of air per minute. That is a lot. It is enough to fill a room as it disperses.
Somebody in New York has a data project that correlates market news articles to future market moves / short-term volatility. Somebody knows the strength of this correlation and they place their bets accordingly. If the correlation is strong enough, then they are creating the news stories. If it is weak, they are ignoring the news.
What is the cause-effect relationship among news, market moves, and actual events?
Some Cause-Effect Possibilities
1. Something happens.
2. News reports it.
3. Market moves.
1. News reports something.
2. Something else happens in reaction.
3. Market moves.
1. Market moves by wild mob.
2. News reports mostly random speculation / is along for the wild ride.
3. Hedge funds win and lose along with the rest of us, just more in a more complex way.
1. The largest market players have incorporated creating news into their big data market-controlling strategy.
2. Big money / big data analysis creates news stories that create profitable market moves.
3. Market reacts with short-term volatility, biggest hedge funds profit.
A is the ostensible assumption. D is the most cynical. I suspect it is pretty close to option C really, but I don’t know. We as outsiders do not know the answer and I suspect the real answer is a combination. As usual, it depends!
On Market “News”
- Misinformation is as bad as lack of information.
- The question, “what are reporters saying,” yields infinite random information of unknown value – and therefore zero value.
- Speculation is free. The only incentive for someone selling news is to say something alarming and attention-grabbing.
- The question, “where are people actually putting their money,” yields better information. However, the average outsider investor can only know where the money really went after it happens.
Where Should I Put My Money?
Short-term, only the most inside people know “real” value of individual investments. No single individual knows the “real” value of every individual stock, hence the “market.”
Long-term, there is a strong incentive by all major parties for the market to go up. This applies to value creation by companies as well as the more cynical policy setting by governments. Therefore buy-and-hold works. Ride the bandwagon!
If you can, put your money right in front of you where it can enhance your own value creation / attention / effort. In other words, put your money where you are the “insider.” If you can, be the insider.
But I’m Curious What’s Happening
Okay, then do not ask the question, “What is the news saying about the market.”
Instead start with the question, “Where has the market gone?” This at least starts you off by knowing where people actually have placed their collective substantive opinion.
U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress. They were not, and they knew it, an exclusive Post investigation found.
The current US war in Afghanistan is now the longest single military conflict in the history of the United States. It has been going on so long that it hardly requires justification to the American public anymore. We are accustomed to it. I was in high school when we first invaded.
The British fought in Afghanistan three times, for 1-3 years each time.
The Soviets fought in Afghanistan for 9 years from 1979-1989. It was a Cold War proxy war against forces backed by the United States.
The Perceived Problem
The article above claims that falsified reports by military generals are a major factor that keep us in Afghanistan. The article goes so far as to say the reports have been deliberately falsified over the years to justify remaining at war.
The Actual Problem
We as a country continue to fight a nearly 20 year conflict in Afghanistan. The Washington Post article above will be soon forgotten.
We fail see how wrong some decisions are ironically because they are so wrong on such a large scale that we simply can’t comprehend it. The magnitude is so much bigger than us we assume we must be mistaken somehow.
The main-stream media controls the majority of information people receive. They sling mud at each other for entertainment. An article like the one above catches peoples’ interest because it implies evil treachery by a select group, in this case military generals.
What the Main-Stream Media is Saying
The article appears anti-war. However, notice the article does not actually say we should leave Afghanistan now. It provides no suggestion for how we should cut our losses and depart. It also does not reference the historical failures in Afghanistan of the British and the Soviets.
The article criticizes former President Obama. Did The Washington Post criticize President Obama from 2009 – 2017, when he could actually make decisions? I will be honest, I am not going to go search Washington Post articles for an 8-year period, but let’s all be honest, Obama is a Democrat and The Post let him go while he was in office.
The Washington Post article describes one small portion / symptom of the military industrial complex as though it is a new thing. Really it is a very old phenomenon. It was well-known in 1935.
The article focuses on one select group of people, military generals. I believe that the scope of people responsible for our military industrial complex – which includes fighting a 2 decade war in Afghanistan – is so wide that pointing at one set of actions by one group is ridiculous. Generals operate near the political level. When the overall political climate wants to remain at war, it selects generals who will fight war.
Why is the Washington Post so excited to report the evil treachery of the military generals right now? I do now know but I will speculate. I heard recently noted that military generals are enjoying more political success now than ever before here in the US. Maybe this article is designed to curb that trend.
We need to acknowledge all the factors that go into the United States fighting wars. This includes military generals who want to fight wars of course. However, it also includes our consumer culture that gobbles up resources made cheap by war and perpetuated by our two-party democracy that gives us only two choices, selected by the dollars of the MIC, both war-fighting.
We need to educate ourselves about ourselves and it starts by not consuming any information owned by large corporations close to Washington DC. The main-stream media is so ubiquitous that forcing oneself to learn is insufficient. We must first cut the propaganda from our busy lives and free our minds.
The gap between our nation as a whole and the wars we fight with 2% of the population needs to close. Is this possible? I really do not know.
Global Carbon Transfer
I have said before that we should call this concept we are all familiar with Global Carbon Transfer. That is what it is and always has been.
Global Carbon Transfer is directly measurable.
The term “Global Carbon Transfer” is completely accurate to what we are actually doing. We know that we are transferring carbon.
The name “Global Carbon Transfer” allows for consideration of other unknown effects that we have yet to identify that nobody even talks about.
We are transferring a lot of carbon from the ground to the atmosphere. This is an indisputable fact.
Simple Man’s Evidence for Global Warming
I personally believe that global carbon transfer is causing significant man-made global warming. Here is a list of the evidence that shapes my concept of the world, my personal observations that lead to my belief:
- I learned in Physics class in high school in ~2001 that carbon dioxide reflects infrared light / heat more than the other more highly-abundant components of the atmosphere. This makes sense to me. It would be difficult to fake this, easy to confirm or refute. I put this under the heading of scientific fact.
- We learned what the greenhouse effect is, and I have personally been inside both a hot car in the sun, and an actual greenhouse. Fact.
- I have personally seen an equilibrium exhibit a large change based on a small increase in a catalyst. For example:
- Milk goes sour if you drink from the carton.
- I saw chemicals abruptly change color in chemistry class after just drops of liquid entering.
- If I had drunk two beers this morning instead of two cups of coffee, my blood would have changed by less than one percent, but I would absolutely not have written this post.
- Small change can yield big change.
- Catalysts exist.
- I have seen man affect the environment, both for good and bad. Some of these I didn’t personally see of course, but they happened:
- Water quality in Columbus, Ohio versus Rio de Janeiro.
- Chemical disaster in Bhopal, India 1984.
- Smog in LA.
- Scale of the Piper Alpha explosion in 1988.
- Personal accounts of the reduction in litter in the United States following anti-litter campaigns in the 1970s.
- Chernobyl of course, but that’s nuclear not chemical, a whole ‘nother level.
- Urban sewage management, cities now versus 200 years ago.
- Forests versus fields.
- I see carbon entering the atmosphere that used to be in the ground from sources that are less than a century old. Sound ridiculous? It’s everywhere. Everywhere. Try not seeing it! We could not transfer more carbon if we started a campaign to transfer more. Everything we do contributes to carbon transfer, and is mostly new!
- The earth is really really old. There has been a lot of time for plants live, absorb carbon dioxide, respire oxygen, die, and be buried in the ground. Let me repeat, really really old, and a lot a lot a lot a lot of time. A lot. There has been so much time in fact that I no longer view the air I breath as coming from “the earth in general,” but as being the breathed out breath of plants. Call me a tree-hugger, but it is an accurate concept, much more accurate than the “general earth air” idea that comes easy. The atmosphere is and always has been a product of life and vice versa. It is a two-way street.
The News Story:
Bill Nye (of “The Science Guy” fame) recently sold out and went on John Oliver’s late night show:
Full bias disclosure: while I believe that John Oliver and for example, Donald Trump, are near equals in the damage that they do by being entertaining idiots / bullies in the media (both are both, if you can’t see that, then you are stuck firmly on one side), when they face off, I personally would enjoy watching Trump name-call John Oliver instead of the reverse. This is probably very simply because Oliver seems like a little weeny to me.
The subject of this post, whose name I am finished using so that you and I can successfully forget it as soon as possible, does not himself warrant a post. However, he so acutely represents a form of the cancer that is the mainstream media that his name gets to appear in my title here on the Rage and Frenzy Blog, the most prestigious place it will probably ever be written.
I am going to use the stupid media term “global warming” here, rather than the more accurate and effective term, “global carbon transfer,” because we are talking about media bias, not the actual phenomenon.
The Perceived Problem
The perceived problem, judging by Bill Nye’s calling somebody “you f***ing idiots” (we don’t swear here at NathanRuffing.com, but in this case, it is a direct quote), is that global warming is caused, or at least allowed to continue, by some portion of the population who isn’t smart enough to understand global warming. I assume the idea is that this idiot portion of the population is voting for selfish policies that exacerbate the problem, and also probably spreading conspiracy theories that discredit the basic science behind global warming. I personally believe that these things have some truth to them, but what follows is the actual problem.
The Actual Problem
The actual problem is that we – and I do mean we human beings, all of us, especially those of us living in industrialized nations – are logistically supported by the energy that comes largely from transferring carbon from the ground into the atmosphere. Keep in mind, I did not say that we are the problem, I am saying that our source of energy can cause problems that we did not foresee when we started using it.
The current population of the world is 7 billion +. That is seven times the population of just 200 years ago, and ~25x the population of about 1,000 years ago. That is a significant increase. On top of that, we use a lot more energy per person now than we did 1,000 years ago. This is great, and I am happy to be a beneficiary of this energy wealth, but we should recognize that we should conserve the resources that produce it.
The Mainstream Media
What does the mainstream media say?
One side of the media says that global warming is not happening at all. This side actually will go so far as to say that it is impossible to the point of ridiculous to even suggest that mankind could affect the entire atmosphere and the climate. The main evidence that I have heard cited for this idea is that some scientists faked data, and that there are large global climate cycles. Both are almost certainly true, neither is evidence one way or the other.
The other side says that global warming is definitely happening, and does things like have a “Science Guy” put safety glasses on, string swear words together, and take a torch to a globe while a laugh-track rolls. Very constructive, subject of this post, you little weeny. I agree with your science, but you are the ring leader of a half-political laugh-track circus whose carbon footprint is the size of most third-world countries. Your team of writers puts its energy toward corrupting Bill Nye The Science Guy into insulting half the country because it is more entertaining to call somebody stupid than to say something smart. Are you even the leader? I find it hard to believe. Who writes your teleprompter? Who tells that person what to write and not to write? Who pays that person?
I think I editorialized this post enough that you know my opinion.
The solution is for us to identify things that we do that use a lot of energy, especially energy that transfers carbon into the atmosphere, and stop doing those things. The first thing that comes to my mind is the military-industrial complex. If you don’t know what the military industrial complex is, you should. Click the link for the Wikipedia article.
The military industrial complex is not a new concept. One of the greatest warfighters in our history recognized the military industrial complex and preached about it in 1935. Click for the PDF: War is a Racket, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC
Stopping doing many things that transfer carbon into the atmosphere will be difficult. For example, if we fight fewer wars, trade routes will close, and prices may go up. This may include the price we pay for gas at the pump. This would be difficult. We would have to coordinate with each other and carpool to work for example. We might even have to live closer to work and bike there.
Geopolitics, from Wikipedia:
At the level of international relations, geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography, demography, natural resources, and applied science of the region being evaluated.
If the geographical landscape affects politics, doesn’t the technological landscape affect politics also? Shouldn’t there be people studying how technology affects our politics?
Technopolitics, from my Rage and Frenzy Political Blog:
At the level of national policy-making and international relations, technopolitics is a method of studying policy and foreign policy to understand, explain and predict political behavior through technological variables, especially as those variables change over time. These include technology market penetration studies, cultural attitudes, demography, information flow, and communication norms of the region and time period being evaluated.
Technopolitics, Historical Context
I remember my high school history teachers drilling into our heads the importance of the Gutenberg Press while I went through high school. They said it was easily the most important invention in the last 2,000 years. I remember because it seemed so dull at the time – but it finally clicked. We should all know about the Gutenberg Press and the Reformation, and the technopolitics of the world at that time. This should not be obscure history, this should be daily discussion. Who were the first political leaders in the wake of the press in the 15th century? Who issued the first political proclamation to be copied to a newly-reading populace? These are the right questions to be asking right now in the twenty-eighth year of the internet, very possibly the height of technopolitics for the 3rd millennium. I discuss it here on the Rage and Frenzy Blog.
Modern Applicability of Technopolitics
Being the case that technology, especially communication, has fundamentally changed over the last century, technopolitics should be a focus of academia today. The internet went public 25 years ago. Information exchange changed fundamentally, and it increased exponentially. Many attribute the election of the current president of the United States to his use of modern communication technology in Twitter. This is such a simple truth to us that we are instantly bored with it, but it is also such a fundamental driver within our world that we must understand it more deeply.
Vote, … and participate in the multi-directional free exchange of thought on the open frontier that is the internet. But do it responsibly! Contribute your ideas to the Rage and Frenzy Political Blog. Thank you!
Big News: Trump. Still Bigger: The Internet
Like him or not, Trump is the most powerful man in the world. He gets more attention globally than any other single person. His media coverage may be mostly negative, but they’re covering him, and more importantly, his coverage of the media is just as negative, and it matters. So what is bigger than Trump? The technopolitics that enabled him to turn the tables on the media and rise to the presidency are bigger than Trump.
The internet went public in August of 1991. The barrier to information dissemination dropped to zero. This is the defining event of our lives. This invention in the last decade of the 2nd millennium will be the defining event of the 3rd millennium. It seems old now after 25 years. It is not old. It is still brand new and its shock wave is still emanating.
The Only Thing Bigger: The Gutenberg Press
You will see a theme on this blog that the best historical analog to the internet is the Gutenberg Press. The movable type press was invented 500 years ago, which is a long time past, but like the internet does today, the press represented an exponential increase in the spread of information. Information spreading has far-reaching impacts. The details of the impacts are unpredictable, but the overall effect has direct historical precedence if you know what to look for and you look for general trends.
The Gutenberg Press, the first movable-type printing press that enabled documents to be copied by machine. Look at the changes that occurred within two centuries of the invention. The press fueled the Reformation that occurred from 1517 (Martin Luther’s 95 theses) to 1648 (end of the bloody Thirty Years’ War). The Reformation was a revolution of literacy and upended the monopoly on religion that the Catholic Church had held in Europe for more than a millennium.
Fake News, A Modern Inevitability
“Fake news” is one small example of the impact that information dissemination has. It is an example of the general trend of exposing corruption and eliminating information asymmetries that leads to tearing down of institutions. We could not have known that Donald Trump specifically would be elected, but we absolutely should have known that ideas would shatter powerful institutions like the established media, and the Republican and Democratic parties. “Fake news” is shattering the established media. The media reports Twitter. They have to. They have to report what Trump says on Twitter because 50 million people will hear what he says anyway, and is therefore by default, “news.”
What It Means
I don’t know exactly. I do know that the fall of institutions and the shift of power is not complete. The internet is still new and we need to pay attention to the technopolitics of what is happening to understand our modern world.
Get on Twitter. Participate on the internet. Don’t leave it to the power-hungry, narcisistic few YouTubers and Instagrammers. Hard to imagine, but I bet anything there were hold-outs when the Bible was first available to read in 1500. I bet there were many who refused to read Martin Luther’s 95 Theses in 1520. They missed out. We shouldn’t. Help me understand what is happening. Contribute your thoughts here at RageandFrenzy.com