Originally Posted by DarrylS
IMO it is fractured more than broken.. currently in NOLA for some disaster training, and observing the world going by. ...
Lots of interesting observations here, will stick with 1 or 2 I have something to say about... especially your last one, was just thinking about this...
...anyways he was telling me that even though the moratorium has been lifted there is no new drilling for oil in the gulf.. and most of the floating deepwater platforms have been floated down to Brazil.
And I thought that drilling was going on..
Side-note on this one... I'm thinking the devil is in the details...
I think drilling is
going on, but more to the point, production
was never suspended... so if he only drills new wells, his part of the industry was affected by the moratorium, and I have no idea what the lead-time is prior to him getting into the act -- you have to figure that pipeline, no pun intended, would be backed up before his work picks back up.
Getting back to the subject at hand, government is fractured.. and have to wonder with the easy access to the news and the advent of the blogosphere we are just seeing more.. none of this is new. Since the Civil Rights act government have gotten more polarized and perhaps this is the culmination of about 40 years of contentious politics made more evident by
The whole issue of social media cannot be downplayed, and have to wonder if whoever masters this method will be our most favorite politicians of the future...
We have at the moment a democratization of ideas.
This sounds good. In a way, it is. Anybody should, after all, be able to be heard.
However, there used to be "gatekeepers": real editors, fact checkers, and the like. This pertained for every species of available media. Real news organizations lived and died on the reliability of their information. Gossip was gossip, and if something traveled through the airwaves, for the most part, it was real news. Whether you complain of a corporate or a liberal bias, prior to cable (for example,) there was a "center" to what was considered legitimate news coverage.
The dispersal of news across the cable landscape, and the migration of "news" into entertainment, were the beginning, but only a harbinger of the age we're in now. Even news as entertainment is packaged and pushed.
Consider what we've been seeing lately in Iran and now Algeria and Egypt: flash mob as revolution, and -- this is important -- by leaderless movements.
These movements replicate in the real world the structure of the social networks they use to communicate. As if to gild the lily, it's thought that the movement in Egypt reached a tipping point due to... wait for it... wikileaks.
So we have democratization of information, democratization of discussion of that information, and democratization/decentralization of action based on that (and other) information.
Similarly, the U.S. is itself in a populist mode, once again displaying "throw the bums out" behavior, but without a successor ideology, and without a thought-out program of action based on the acquisition of power.
The difficulty is not for the democratization of discourse, which we consider a good, but for anti-elitist ideological reasons.
The difficulty is that the quality of discourse decreases as it is democratized.
Electronic media seem tailor-made for any point of view to be taken to an extreme. In Iran or Egypt, this may be a good thing. In the U.S., is it?
Caveat - there are no doubt defenders of the Egyptian or Iranian status quos who do not think this is a good thing.
I am a defender of an American status quo -- that is, electoral politics, an independent judiciary, the rule of law, that sort of thing.
Social networks are ultimately anarchic, and their fruits, thus far, appear to recapitulate that anarchic tendency.
When each person's opinion is weighted equally, that's a fair hearing of opinion. When what each person says is accorded a roughly equivalent chance of being factually accurate, we have lost a very significant value that the "gatekeepers" can bring us.
Naturally, the "gatekeepers" can be accused of bringing us badly chosen and edited information. I would counter that you need to base your consumption of "real" news on its fact content, to create a market for fact-based journalism. The wild success of news-as-entertainment, together with the abysmal performance (by comparison) of the real news, is a good indicator of the amount of patience we have with this approach.
I don't know where we go next, and whether it is good or bad. Freud said America is an experiment... a failed experiment. Personally, I don't think that is the case. I think the experiment continues.... in good times, I think the adventure
But what's been lost is that we have to inform ourselves -- not rile ourselves up, not argue to defend an ideology, but know the actual facts -- to have the vital conversations on which the future depends.
The ultimate democratization of information cannot be confused with an ultimate democracy in the evaluation of information, if we wish to live in a world where the best information is the information we use to form our opinions and instruct our actions.