Wednesday, June 14, 2023

See also Daniela Gabor's definition of neoliberalism.  Neoliberalism sucks because it opposes the state! Neoliberalism's bad-bad-bad because it's statist! 

How did libertarianism become fascism? How did the Grateful Dead spawn Peter Thiel? 

Why is Farrell's favorite band named "My Bloody Valentine"??
Atomization, isolation and the illusion of absolute community. The low buzz and hum—the violence and warmth—of neurological overload
This has turned into a run of three posts, connected and rambling. The second post is the last link below.

Farrell, June 1st

Quinn Slobodian’s new book, Crack-Up Capitalism is an original and striking analysis of a weird apparent disjuncture. Libertarians and classical liberals famously claim to be opposed to state power. So why do some of them resort to it so readily?
Farrell, June 8th 
Cognitive dissonance. Years of libertarianism sympathy and always a Weberian.
The Intercept article is still up. It shouldn’t be. It isn’t just that the article is demonstrably and terribly wrong. It is that it is demonstrably causing genuine and continued harm and distress to people whose lives have been turned upside down. I’ve seen Twitter fights where Fang in particular tried to defend the piece (mostly through tu quoque rather than actually engaging with criticisms). I haven’t seen any sign that the editors of the Intercept have addressed the pushback to the piece (perhaps I’ve missed it). If I were to guess, I’d suspect that people at the Intercept know that the piece stinks, but feel that it’s awkward to confront it. The Intercept has been a notoriously fractious organization, with people leaving in angry huffs, being forced to leave, newsroom leaks and the like. I can understand why they don’t want more drama. But that doesn’t make it right. It’s an article whose fundamental flaws have caused specific hurt and had wide repercussions for American media and politics. Fixing fuck-ups like this is Journalism Ethics 101.
And there’s a deeper story here about something that has gone badly wrong with one part of the American left, which I used to be reasonably friendly with, and have found increasingly weird and alienating over the last few years (some things I used to think, I don’t think any more; some people I respected, I’ve given up on). One of the key consequences of the Intercept article has been to undermine efforts to understand, let alone push back against, democratic disinformation. I suspect that is an intended consequence. The article’s authors make it clear that they don’t think that government should have any role in making the information environment better. 

Commenter TM: "I have one question: what is 'democratic disinformation'?"

But really what it means to not discriminate on the basis of viewpoint, while this is somewhat debated on the details, but if you are leaving up anti teen anorexia videos then you have to also leave up the pro teen anorexia videos.... If you're leaving up the claims that the Holocaust is real you also leave up the claims that the Holocaust is not real, so there's just this very grim array of consequences from that rule requiring viewpoint neutrality.

"The Department of Homeland Security is quietly broadening its efforts to curb speech it considers dangerous, an investigation by The Intercept has found. Years of internal DHS memos, emails, and documents — obtained via leaks and an ongoing lawsuit, as well as public documents — illustrate an expansive effort by the agency to influence tech platforms."

The Atlantic: "Social-media companies deny quietly suppressing content, but many users still believe it happens. The result is a lack of trust in the internet."

Zuckerberg on policy: "This process for adjusting this curve is similar to what I described above for proactively identifying harmful content, but is now focused on identifying borderline content instead. We train AI systems to detect borderline content so we can distribute that content less."  

The law banning US government propaganda within the US was repealed in 2013. 

Twitter said 100 accounts with Russian ties were removed for amplifying narratives that undermined faith in NATO and targeted the United States and the European Union.

(Vincent Bevins replies: "I'm sorry but,What?")

In my experience, everyone supports the right to freedom of speech, as long as it’s their own speech or the speech of people they agree with. But most speech falls outside that category. Most people would ask: why support the right of people to say things you hate, or fear or that you regard as dangerous?...

In 1968, when the racist George Wallace, a Democratic governor of Alabama, was running as a third-party candidate for president of the United States, I defended his right to speak at a stadium owned by New York City, after the then mayor had banned him from using that platform. There was, at that time, no one whose speech I despised more than Wallace’s. I considered him, and his candidacy, a credible danger to the fundamental rights I was spending my life trying to protect. Nor was that a unique case. Many speakers whose right to speak I defended during my 34 years at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) expressed views I disagreed with, some of which I thought were bigoted and dangerous.

For me, the answer is strategic. I can never be certain who will have political power. I can never be certain that the only people who get elected will agree with me. I know – because it has happened many times – that people will gain political power who will, if they can, act to punish me or people I agree with, because of our views. So what I need is an insurance policy. I want insurance against the probability that people in power will suppress or punish me for my views. 

 And the obvious, linked in the above but first here.

Most arguments against mass surveillance don't respond fully substantively to claims that you shouldn't worry if you "have nothing to hide".  Defense of personal freedom isn't enough.  What's needed is an argument in defense of the need for citizens in a democratic state to be able to be all kinds of wrong, all kinds of confused, creepy, conflicted, desirous, weepy or hate-filled, so that they may be able to learn to understand and outgrow their childishness. The choice is between a community of adults with a minority of the inveterately childish and criminal or a community of children ruled by moralists and crime lords. 

Slobodian recently and earlier. Variations on authoritarianism and fascist kitsch. 

But if I'm disgusted by these assholes I should repeat what I wrote in the previous post about Trudeau.

Trudeau made no pretense to philosophy; he did what he thought was necessary, arguing from the specifics in a crisis, not generalizations from the library. Theory simplifies the messiness and slop of politics, and more than anything it's used as an excuse, as if it could grant permission: "I was only following orders." Trudeau's quote is famous because it was so blunt it still makes people laugh. He takes full credit, or blame, and shrugs. Schmitt was a fascist, defending violence as a general truth about the world, and taking responsibility for nothing. He was a weakling defending weakness. The passivity is the root of the sleaze. Passivity reinforces itself, and political passivity is a biggest threat to democracy. MacIntyre is a putz.  

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