we've all seen how effective the algorithms are at distinguishing genuine, authentic content from bullshit. And we've already talked about how those algorithms are shaped by your ultimate goal: do you want engagement, or do you want veracity? Do you want to be clicky, or do you want to be authentic? Can't always have both.
It just requires commitment. To what? To the values I've been advocating all along: open-mindedness, skepticism and critical thinking. When so much is invested in robbing us of our ability or desire to do so, resolving to think critically is the most effective means of resistance there is. Hell, it's practically revolutionary.
Let's get set for a steady diet of false equivalencies like "trading barbs" and wishful thinking. We'll have to pretend, in the face of the evidence, that all sorts of horrible people haven't been empowered by this.
Austerity, privatization, deregulation, outsourcing -- yada, yada, yada -- all served up with noxious sides of deficit hysteria and tax cuts, not to mention the attendant knee-capping of government's ability to act. Brian Mulroney. Jean Chretien. Paul Martin. Nods to the knuckle-draggers aside, Harper's just peddling more of the same. Seriously, can anyone point to a substantive change in the country's direction over the past few decades?
I can't remember feeling this disheartened about a federal election since 1997. Ever since then, there's been a growing malignancy in our body politic -- a malignancy that goes beyond partisanship. Regardless of who's been in power in Ottawa (and provincial capitals, for that matter), we've been watching the gradual but unmistakable enfeeblement of government, to the point where it may well be irreversible.
It's been a while, but I've been thinking about the importance of civility as we ramp up for a fall election. I know, I know -- it's a bourgeois notion, shot through with elements of class and privilege and advantages not everyone has, but at its heart, isn't it really about treating each other with simple decency?
Thrilling as the #Fordcourt ride was, we're back to where we started. Ford Nation -- such as it is -- can enjoy its little victory lap. All I ask is that the Ford brothers set aside the slogans, the catchphrases, the childish vindictiveness, and the belligerent, tribal ignorance that's characterized public discourse in Toronto for the last two years.
One of the hallmarks of contemporary political discourse, or more accurately, the sewer into which the modern right has dragged it, is the characterization of undesirable things as "political," and the corollary implication that anything tainted by the stench of "politics" is undesirable.
I've been watching the discussion of millennial citizenship on the HuffPost. It's a spirited exchange. Perhaps it's worth taking a step back and re-examining what we mean when we talk about political engagement; at the core, I'd submit, are principles that apply regardless of age or demographic.
It's the ability to engage in critical thought that makes us "citizens," rather than mere "consumers" or "taxpayers." It's the ability to follow a line of reasoning, to view an argument analytically, to evaluate the evidence on which it's based and determine whether it makes sense.