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There was a nice piece up recently called The New New Left Is Coming discussing the hopes for a resurgence of progressive values from the maturing of Millennials into political life.  There are definitely reasons to hope, but being on the inside generational boundary of that group, I want to add some notes of caution to those sentiments and describe the other side of the coin.  Unfortunately, the vulnerabilities and disadvantages of the ascending generation are far more significant than the vague promise of somewhat more liberal (but considerably idler and more easily-distracted) political opinions.

Even when we internally account for the "Get off my lawn!" phenomenon in ourselves (that affects everyone past about 29, no matter how open-minded), there are valid concerns that suggest a much more complicated and potentially dangerous set of deficits in Millennial culture than are typically understood.  And it isn't just their culture, but rather the trajectory of culture in general, which is usually reinforced by generational transitions since the new have been raised by it while the older still possess some vestiges of earlier paradigms.  

Consider this: When you hear the term multi-tasking, how often is it spoken of glowingly, as an ideal goal to be sought with near-religious fervor, vs. being spoken of as the inherent compromise it actually is?  Personally, I've never seen it referred to negatively, as something that was hindering the achievement of any desirable goal.  And frankly, that fact makes me think that some amazingly effective cultural brainwashing has occurred.  Everyone is brought to believe that "multi-tasking" means something akin to "two for the price of one" rather than being what it really is - 1.5 for the price of two, 2 for the price of 4, or 3 for the price of 9, etc.  "We're going to force you to do so many things at once that you won't have the necessary attention or energy left to make effective plans, understand what you're doing, or make any sensible moral judgments about it."

It's the new form of making workers too tired to attend labor union meetings: Make them too distracted and intellectually occupied to form coherent subversive thoughts and effectively implement them into action.  This strategy also has the benefit of dissipating passion so that even if subversive thoughts are formed, they won't have the emotional will to translate them into political changes.  What we saw in the Arab Spring was what happens when you suddenly introduce social media to a tightly-wound and long-oppressed society with few outlets - then its potential for positive change can be activated before authorities have time to do anything about it.  But cultures that arise from social media, and are pervaded by it, don't appear to have that potential.  They evolve in an already diffusive, low-energy state.

Hence the oft-commented-upon irony of the country that spawned social media and that was by far its largest adopter, the United States, being relatively incapable of leveraging it for large-scale change while ultra-late-adopters were being in some cases literally lit on fire by it.  And why?  Because the thing foremost on these long-oppressed people's minds was finally being able to express themselves and connect with other people politically.  That was the thing previously denied to them, and now suddenly available in spades.  Whereas we, in our confident expectation of political freedom, rarely use it for anything beyond the silliest and most trivially self-involved expressions of discontent over superficial matters.

This is the paradox of wealth: The greater the possibilities of what you possess, the less likely you are to attempt to realize any of them.  If every billionaire on planet Earth decided tomorrow that half of their money was going to be devoted to solving one particular problem, things would change very, very fast on this planet.  But they don't.  And it's not because all or even most of them are selfish pricks, but because what problem should they attack???  If they do something about climate change, why not cancer?  If cancer, why not malaria?  If malaria, why not hunger?  So instead most of them give a lot less to a large number of charities - less to each issue, and also less to all combined because the division of their conscience also divides their attention and passion, yielding something less than the sum of its parts.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the handful of very rich people who've decided their fortunes will be devoted to one or a very few problems, and they're kicking ass in most cases: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to use one example, is bringing about amazing progress on malaria, and Elon Musk's trifecta of future-building companies (SpaceX, Tesla Motors, and Solar City) are changing the world.  Compare that to the far more modest achievements of institutional advocacy groups, with their piecemeal donations and volunteer work of crowds, and you start to understand why the multi-tasking, crowdsourcing paradigm is so flawed.  Someone with a mind, a will, and the command of resources has to sit down and think about these things and chart a focused course to make anything but shallow, incremental things happen.

And that's true at every level, whether you're a billionaire or a janitor.  Groups are only intelligent when they work in concert with thoughtful, focused, responsible members who take it upon themselves to think about things deeply, patiently, and cultivate their own individual visions while also cultivating passionate motivation.  When they are just passive agglomerations of people all waiting around to be led, or responding to the shallowest of superficial social cues and mechanistic functions, nothing happens.  It's a Rube Goldberg contraption that exists simply to spin its own wheels.

Millennials have grown up in an environment of extreme group interaction, where they interact on some level with hundreds, thousands, even millions of people on an hourly basis, if not minute-to-minute.  Their sense of identity and even personhood is more diffuse, distributed among far more activities and shallower connections, with deeper ones increasingly treated as the distractions rather than being the more important things that are distracted from.  Growing up with the early versions of the internet, I'm personally aware of this phenomenon in myself, but it was incomplete enough in my childhood that I can see it.  They can't.  They have no conception of their vulnerability no matter how frequently it's demonstrated to them, and that worries me.  

They believe everything they hear, unless what they hear is not to believe something else they hear, in which case they believe both simultaneously and make no decision regardless of the preponderance of evidence and reason.  Let me emphasize that: They make no decisions.  The very concept of a decision is foreign to a distributed, distracted mind because it requires the existence of a unified, point-source individual will that is able to act arbitrarily without all the infinitely varied social cues that are possible in large groups.  They passively absorb their environment, and are more confident in something the more prevalently it's told to them on the web.  Internally-originated responses are the exception.  Most of the time it's just blind, entropic meme-flow through the system, of which their brains are only one node and rarely contribute anything.

Millennials are certainly not dumber than previous generations, but they developed in an environment where focus and critical thinking was anathema - a kind of sin or blasphemy.  And that's totally reasonable for that to be the case for most of what the internet is used for: Critical thinking and focused reflection aren't really useful when telling someone where you are, looking at a map on your phone, playing short-play games, watching porn, looking for sex hookups available in your area, binging on Netflix shows, and trying to win accolades for your hipster wit with some meme.  Constructive, serious political activity is one of the smallest of niche functions of this system, and by far the easiest to disrupt.  And yet this is where Millennials live.  

They live here, in this world where politics is the tiniest of islands in an ocean of utter trivia and impulse-gratification, and where well-thought-out politics is a single grain of sand on the beach of that island - the rest of which is shallow political theater endorsed by the elites, random conspiracy theories by idiots who don't know how to deal with the falseness of the former, bigotries by people who can't articulate the reasons for their dissatisfaction in life, and general dumb people repeating shit they heard.  Moon hoaxers, 9/11 Truthers, Holocaust deniers, people who believe History Channel programming, idiots and trolls of all stripes flourish because the people in this environment know they can't trust what they hear, so instead they treat all information as having equally low value.  Which has exactly the same effect as believing it all.

Sufficiently large swaths of the internet are concerned with this type of pathology that you can live your entire life surrounded by false information and irrational thinking, and never encounter reality except in the form of dissenters who you are conditioned to view as the ones who are crazy or dishonest.  The inmates have taken over the asylum and put the doctors in straitjackets for not believing that sparrows are spies from Satan planning to fly up your butt and lay the egg that will bear the Antichrist.  But the terrifying thing is that these "closed epistemic bubbles" - which are basically miniature mass-psychoses - are just the horrors that occur organically as a result of the inherent nature of this connected world.  We haven't even begun to plumb the depths of what is possible when institutions become adept at manufacturing such bubbles of lies via these systems.

Phenomena like this can't exist when people take intellectual responsibility - when they step back from the noise, see it for what it is, and use their minds as independent sensory organs rather than frictionless conduits for someone else's claims and values.  But when your mind developed inside an environment where the latter defines the overwhelming majority of social interactions, if not the entirety, where is this independent capacity supposed to come from?  You're rewarded only for being a drop of water in the ocean who passively moves with the currents, not for being the uncouth jerk who insists on charting your own course.  

Here is the danger: The entire foundation of Millennial culture is a technological infrastructure totally surveilled and potentially falsified by political and economic elites.  The capacity for induced mass-psychosis leading to politically convenient astroturf behavior, at the extreme up to acts of genocide, is just mind-boggling.  Nothing I have seen of the passively liberal attitudes of this techno-mediated culture convinces me that it would be capable of even recognizing, let alone resisting the deliberate cultivation of a mass-psychosis by elites.  I've argued with too many young Paulites to believe that young people are anything less than wide open to brainwashing - and only the brainwashed seem passionate.  The reasonable seem too distracted by pragmatic considerations to form coherent movements for change.

The Paulites, though, are just the half-assed head cold compared to the Plague of what is clearly possible when the banks and the nation-states they control decide they need to get more hands-on in proactively shaping beliefs.  You may have noticed the shocking proliferation of market cultist attitudes and beliefs even in liberal forums like Daily Kos - e.g., I once argued that public transit should actually be a public sector service (free to the user), and that somehow inspired incredulity and even a little anger.  

Foundational, common-sense liberal progressive thought is now radical in liberal progressive forums, and treated as kindred to the silliest of fringe politics elsewhere.  Not dismissed, mind you, just given identical respect to someone saying the Moon landings were a hoax - "Well, you're entitled to your strange opinions."  Common sense is not persecuted in this Brave New World, it's just treated as idiosyncratic and vaguely disreputable, and as something that self-respecting members of the web community shouldn't be associated with.

In the classic science fiction novel A Fire Upon the Deep, Vernor Vinge imagined a terrifying form of ultra-evolved computer virus called The Blight that was so physically expansive and so adaptable that it could mimic entire civilizations in order to infect real ones.  Try to imagine such a concept in our world today: Imagine finding out that an entire country you've been reading about for years doesn't really exist, but was actually a massive simulation designed to manipulate world events.  It's the stuff of paranoid nightmares, and it's not physically possible if any significant number of people have to be in on it - hence the utter impossibility of things like Moon Hoaxerism and 9/11 Trutherism.

But now try to realize the entirety of civilization is moving toward being mediated on the second-by-second level to electronic communications.  Very little of what other people say to you is said to you in person now; very little of what is reported is ever verified by third parties, and to the extent anything is, verification usually takes the form of simply seeking other electronic-based sources for the same claims.  Further, try to realize that the generations which are growing up within these environments don't understand that they're not inherently real.  It's real "because the web tells me so," like the religious people who believe things "because the Bible tells me so."  

But even today we've seen instances where stories propagated to practically every corner of the web, being repeated uncritically by worldwide news organizations, turned out to have originated nowhere: Someone misspoke, or misstyped, or it was some jerk who simply posted a false claim on a web forum, or it was a game of Telephone where the story just mutated with the telling into something that was more likely to propagate, and it turned into The Record because it was repeated without reflection or examination.  In other words, rumor-mongering.  "Word on the street."  That's what even the most trustworthy sources on the internet increasingly boil down to: Nothing whatsoever.

And that's just left to its own devices.  There is no reason that astroturf will not continue to evolve way beyond the creation of front groups, the staging of protests, and Fox News making shit up.  Why even invest that level of resources when you could - theoretically, and as time goes on, increasingly practically - fabricate the entire information process?  You don't need to actually found a front group with all the irritating tax paperwork, just create a fake web page and social media accounts for one.  You own the web provider, so if anyone asks it about who runs the page, you can lie and tell them all about this organization.  Or maybe you don't own the web provider - maybe you just own the email services used to contact the web provider, and direct all inquiries regarding this fake group to yourself to answer as you choose.

If we imagine a sufficiently patient malefactor with significant resources, they can create fake people out of thin air in the electronic world, complete with fake lives, fake social media updates, everything about them fabricated in real time.  If they're patient enough, they don't even have to create it all at the same time and put false dates on it - they can just introduce their fake people to the web as kids doing kid things, and then as years pass, show them doing what adults do.  And then when the "crop" comes time to harvest, these fake people can all pile on to praise and support the fake organization, shout down its critics, Freep polls, fill comments to everything with their memes and propaganda, and take over their own opposition with subtle trolling.  

Soon, of course, this attracts real people who think they're joining a massively popular organization and reflecting a wave of "purifying" change or whatever rhetoric right-wing assholes usually use, and the lie has become truth.  Power achieved.  The only time you could verify that it was a lie is in the transition between pure fabrication and social conformity arising from belief in the lie, and the only way you could do that if the orchestrators own the electronic infrastructure is to try to physically verify what the Web is saying.  How often does that happen?  People are reported to already drive into lakes and off roads if their GPS tells them to keep going.  What's right in front of their face doesn't exist to them as much as the information of the network, and the former will be less and less available with time.

We've already seen it happen to some extent.  The Tea Party was largely a fabrication by a health insurance industry trying to stop Obamacare, and it's still fighting it, but now it's real imbeciles with real agendas based on what their masters tell them.  And that was a bunch of inept hacks doing laughably transparent astroturf, who have nonetheless leveraged their lies into putting a bunch of their people into Congress.  What do you think is going to happen when the cipherpunks and cryptoanalysts and other people who read Vernor Vinge and thought The Blight was an awesome idea are motivated to enter the astroturf game - when their employers (like the NSA, the Pentagon, the banks, and foreign governments) are run by people who grew up late enough to recognize the potential?

We've all been assailed at some point or another by sufficiently stupid, stereotypical comments that it must have occurred to one at some point whether there was actually anyone on the other end of the argument, or if someone had written an especially good troll bot script.  Well, rest assured, with the power of Google Analytics, that's inevitable.  As premature as such predictions were when they first appeared in science fiction, it is inevitable that fake people will be created and real people erased by control of the electronic infrastructure, in ways that would put MiniTrue to shame.  There will be places where the maps lie, not because they suck, but because the people who own them have an interest in falsifying them.  

You will converse with nonexistent people who seem bound and determined to use every troll trick in the book to distract, demonize, and otherwise silence you, and the number and sophistication of those AI trolls will increase with time.  They will exhaust your emotional resources because your will as a human being to argue the truth and support ideas in the face of fabricated social disapproval is a lot scarcer than the available electricity of a server farm.  And you will watch as your children, growing up in the environment of such phenomena, are shaped by them into believing whatever the Web tells them is appropriate to believe.  Eventually, the nightmare is that you will live in a fake country that exists only in the information you are fed, and that the consequences of seeing reality would be severe.  We've seen that theme in dystopian science fiction, and it's not for nothing - it's a real possibility.

Now, it's true that similar fears were voiced in earlier generations about the effect of television on society, but let me just blow your mind: Those fears were legitimate, and they came true.  That's right, you and I are products of the fact that those prophecies of doom totally came to fruition.  We grew up in television, and our minds are warped because of it in exactly the ways predicted by satires like Network.  The Reagan era would not have been possible without that cultural process having reached maturity, and the Bush era would not have possible without it becoming universal as the people who were adults before TV started to leave the scene.  And I don't just mean their supporters: I mean their opponents were weakened by it, and continue to be increasingly weakened by it.  

We are weaker than the people who made the New Deal and Civil Rights happen, not because we don't have the inherent capacity for what they did, but because we exist in an environment where we can't even comprehend it.  It does not compute.  Of course people will be less tolerant of racism in the future, when the visceral reaction of fear to the Other is removed and interactions are purely aesthetic and cynical.  But that's not what MLK was talking about.  He was talking about human communities that exist on an organic and moral level, and about a deepening of the human spirit.  The irony is that we're achieving the superficial aspects of his Dream by utterly eviscerating the substance of them.  

Racial profiling isn't motivated by racism - it's motivated by depraved pragmatism that looks at a stats sheet on the background of perpetrators and decides that it's better to give the majority safer streets by making even free life into a prison for minorities.  It's decision-making removed from morality and human connection to the consequences.  A personality diffused into numbers and abstractions has a decreasing ability to connect to the moral consequences of their actions and understand them.  

So think about that fact in deciding the relative advantages and disadvantages the "New New Left" is going to bring to the table: Extremely vulnerable to electronic-mediated social conditioning and irrational memes that are aesthetically pleasing and self-vindicating to egos, less capable of compassionate restraint because of the abstraction of relationships, and permitted an ever-diminishing share of time and attention to devote to figuring out what is right and doing it rather than letting some tiny fraction of themselves make political decisions on pure impulse and social cues.

The failure of the Occupy movement was the first indication that something is wrong with where we're going in this century, and it was basically a perfect representation of what I'm talking about: As long as the ego-trip and the aesthetic pretenses were in line with being an effective movement with broad appeal, that's how it proceeded.  But when it was faced with actual choices, when it needed someone to know what the hell was going on and make intelligent decisions on that basis, instead it collapsed into a black hole of self-involved fringe politics and issues that only the people right there were affected by rather than staying focused on the 99%.  Any significant contingent could have carried that torch forward if they had stayed focused on that central, unifying issue, regardless of how distracted anyone else became, but it didn't happen.

"The Moment" had passed.  The attention span had run out.  Fickle minds found other games to play, and self-righteous narcissists kept obsessing on their petty little agendas while manufacturing a self-vindicating narrative about how it was the police that destroyed Occupy simply by rousting the camps.  No, it was the Occupiers that ended Occupy - that didn't want to do hard things, didn't want to try to set up practical, effective direct democracy institutions with solid, broad-based community roots.  That wanted it all to be about them rather than everyone else.  

The people at the center of it (whether they admitted it or not, they were the ones who the impetus, without which it fell apart) just didn't see themselves as performing that function - a lot of them seemed to see themselves in terms of that Che Guevara t-shirt photograph (i.e., a pure fantasy unsullied by real world context) rather than as founders of an institution (since so many of them were anarchists, that would be anathema) - so no one took responsibility to make it happen, and surprise, it didn't happen.  Instead we got some pretty pictures, some inspiring sentiments expressed abstractly, some assholes beating drums for no reason, then some self-righteous outrage at being smacked by The Man, then back to total indifference and distraction.  It was an instance of the internet intruding into physical space.  And despite being spontaneous, sincere, and supported by a huge number of people, it was far less effective at changing things than the Tea Party fabrication.

If the "New New Left" is going to be of any use to our future, Millennials will have to learn something that this electronic culture is failing to teach them: Self-awareness.  I don't mean selfishness, or self-involvement, or solipsism, or idiocy, or any of the other numerous counterfeits for self-awareness that proliferate on the internet.  I mean taking responsibility for setting the boundaries of your own relationships and actions, and learning how to focus on a single thing in depth for an extended period of time.  In other words, learning how to exist as a human being with independent sensory organs, the ability to reflect on what they tell you, and the ability to draw independent moral and intellectual conclusions based on that that are not dictated by social consensus.  In other words, critical thinking and independent will.

Every human being has had to learn these things in every generation, but the power of countervailing influences is increasing and accelerating via the media through which we communicate.  How do you not become Borg if a million voices are chattering their disapproval in your head every time you have an independent thought?  How do you not turn into a mindless factotum of manufactured consent if your entire conception of yourself is as a set of networked functions rather than as a point-source being who can arbitrarily choose to change something?  If the bonds of a paper bureaucracy created the suffocating environments of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, what the hell kind of nightmares are going to be dreamed up in the crushing, sub-oceanic depths of an electronic hivemind puppeteered by a handful of corporate Morlocks?  (Don't complain to me about mixed metaphors - I have never and will never concede that there is anything wrong with them)

And if we have to rely on the courage, focus, and commitment of a bunch of Tom Haverford-like app-head flibbertigibbets who don't have the balls to be without constant, 24/7 social approval, we're pretty well fucked.  So I don't see much inherent in the upcoming generation to inspire wild optimism, but that doesn't mean it isn't there to be found.  Sometimes the reaction to a trend is more useful than the trend itself, and maybe there are people among the Millennials who are becoming immune to electronic mind-fucking and don't allow themselves to be dictated to by their own tools.  Who use technology as ways to make something happen rather than allowing themselves to be brainwashed into perpetual consumer froth for some new gadget that does 0.0000000001% more than the last one.  But one should never count on exceptions.

Instead, we have to actively promote beneficial exceptions.  We have to reward people for continuous critical thinking, and not be dissuaded from it ourselves because a bunch of idiots can't read anything longer than a Tweet without getting antsy and resentful.  "Tl;dr" is basically the anthem of the inconsequential - people wearing a great big name tag saying "Tool."  I'm sorry, you don't have time to read this?  Well then, you don't have time to think about it either, and if that's the case, you don't have anything meaningful to say about it.  I.e., I don't give a fuck what you think if you're not thinking at all.  If you don't have time to think, that's not my problem.  That's your problem.  And contrary to what you believe (because the web tells you so), the world is not going to protect you from the consequences of that - it's just going to exploit it until there's nothing left of you.  

It will do more and more for you until, eventually, it won't even give you the option of doing it yourself.  And then it'll stop doing it for you at all, and just do it for the people who own it.  The people who actually matter: The great-grandchildren of the people who dared to think and try.  Which is unfair, since they bear none of the merits of their ancestors, but what are you going to do about it?  Challenge them to a rap battle?  Play Angry Birds until your skill at it is so advanced that it magically affects political change somehow?  

Sure, you might start a politics-based Facebook group, but you're not about to neglect all your other oh-so-important obligations, like the Instagram/vlog where you show everyone the delightful shenanigans of your cat, and your several thousand pop culture fan-based Facebook groups, are you?  What kind of antisocial, single-minded jerk would keep talking about one thing consistently and in depth?  Are you going for some kind of doctorate with that level of thinking?  No?  Just trying to actually make something happen?  "Happen"?  What's "happen"?  I need to look this word up.

Wait, what was I saying?  I dnt rmber.  2 mny txts 2 lisn.  tl;dr.

wes-thegame

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Comment Preferences

  •  That was an intellectual tour de force. I share (9+ / 0-)

    many of your views; my conclusions about what's going on are very similar... I quibble a bit with the issue of philanthropy from billionaires, which I see as a farce, but that's a minor issue, as it relates to your overall analysis.

    There's a lot to be said about what you wrote, but one particular thing I think goes to the heart of the problems we are facing:  

    Foundational, common-sense liberal progressive thought is now radical in liberal progressive forums, and treated as kindred to the silliest of fringe politics elsewhere.  Not dismissed, mind you, just given identical respect to someone saying the Moon landings were a hoax - "Well, you're entitled to your strange opinions."  Common sense is not persecuted in this Brave New World, it's just treated as idiosyncratic and vaguely disreputable, and as something that self-respecting members of the web community shouldn't be associated with.
    I argue that the reason for this is because people are being conditioned to view that type of progressive thought as something strange...

    There is a lot to say about this great piece your wrote... Thank you for taking the time.

    •  Sorry, Ray, but I disagree; first half was great.. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador, DeadHead, Cofcos, blueoasis, Chi

      ...then it devolved, rolling quickly downhill with the following statements which I've read from this diarist in some of their other posts; and, it's devoid of many very important facts that the diarist completely/deliberately ignores, providing us with a beautiful, winding road of sensible thoughts until it hit this totally illogical...for lack of a better phrase..."political turd"...

      ...So think about that fact in deciding the relative advantages and disadvantages the "New New Left" is going to bring to the table: Extremely vulnerable to electronic-mediated social conditioning and irrational memes that are aesthetically pleasing and self-vindicating to egos, less capable of compassionate restraint because of the abstraction of relationships, and permitted an ever-diminishing share of time and attention to devote to figuring out what is right and doing it rather than letting some tiny fraction of themselves make political decisions on pure impulse and social cues.

      The failure of the Occupy movement was the first indication that something is wrong with where we're going in this century, and it was basically a perfect representation of what I'm talking about: As long as the ego-trip and the aesthetic pretenses were in line with being an effective movement with broad appeal, that's how it proceeded.  But when it was faced with actual choices, when it needed someone to know what the hell was going on and make intelligent decisions on that basis, instead it collapsed into a black hole of self-involved fringe politics and issues that only the people right there were affected by rather than staying focused on the 99%.  Any significant contingent could have carried that torch forward if they had stayed focused on that central, unifying issue, regardless of how distracted anyone else became, but it didn't happen.

      "The Moment" had passed.  The attention span had run out.  Fickle minds found other games to play, and self-righteous narcissists kept obsessing on their petty little agendas while manufacturing a self-vindicating narrative about how it was the police that destroyed Occupy simply by rousting the camps.  No, it was the Occupiers that ended Occupy - that didn't want to do hard things, didn't want to try to set up practical, effective direct democracy institutions with solid, broad-based community roots.  That wanted it all to be about them rather than everyone else...

      Fail! No, the diarist's "arguments" here remind me of those that primarily blame homeowners for the mortgage crisis as opposed to Wall Street. Diarist ignores that it was the status quo and the federal government that "ended Occupy," using tools unlike the Federal government has ever had in their arsenal, until recently.

      I made a comment about this in another post, today, (and if you're not going to click on the link and read it, then please don't respond to my comment) about this incredibly devious oppression of social dissent by our government and the status quo that's occurring nowadays, and why it's so much more effectively oppressive than it was back in the 50's, 60's and 70's, in the time of J. Edgar Hoover, whose actions relating to his leadership of the FBI would appear quite in-line--indeed, almost middle-of-the-road--with the status quo, nowadays, as opposed to the uproar they caused at the time.

      J. Edgar Hoover didn't have the budgets and the vast technology that the status quo has to deliver up state-sponsored oppression nowadays. And, he sure as hell didn't have the mass hysteria of terrorism supporting his insanity that the state has used to manipulate communications--and thus the traditional media, which is more consolidated than ever--in this day and age, too!

      But, the diarist DOES acknowledge that, due to their age, they don't have firsthand knowledge of whereof I speak.

      Reiterating, the diarist's post--which I really thought was excellent, but more like Neal Stephenson-meets-The Wachowski Brothers and/or "SnowCrash"-meets-"The-Matrix"--really degenerated to the same-old, same-old the moment it hit the content blockquoted, above.

      Again, the Wall-Street-blaming-homeowners-for-the-foreclosure-crisis (and resultant crashing of the economy) meme applies here, as well, bigtime!

      Diarist is, OBVIOUSLY, a brilliant and truly talented writer; but, as even their closest blogging friends have admonished them--even in my posts--in recent months, they have to get beyond their stereotypical left-bashing if they want to present a cogent argument. Otherwise, they're just writing brilliant-but-grandiose excuses that eventually fail once their repeated memes are presented (when in fact it's just more of the same, but in a very buried "lead").

      Long story short: First of diarist's two acts of this show was AWESOME. But, the Second Act was little more than a veiled rerun.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 10:30:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For the record, I was going to Rec this post... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador, Chi

        ...but, I can't...and that's a shame.

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 10:31:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Bob, let me put it this way... The diary is very (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bobswern, Troubadour, Hammerhand, Chi

        long.  There are aspects of it which I found truly brilliant.

        There are some areas with which I disagree, including his analysis of OWS, among others.

        I don't quibble with your objection... Either way, I do commend the diarist for having taken the time to write such an extensive analysis, much of it which I agree with.

      •  Well, Bob, we know one thing for certain. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hammerhand, Chi, Kickemout

        Occupy did not achieve its potential.  You say it was because external forces crushed it.  I say external forces were able to crush it because it was internally weak and distracted.  My point concedes yours while interpreting the consequent conclusions differently, ergo your point does not invalidate mine.  My argument opens the possibility of better results by revisiting the Occupy movement at a later date, whereas your attitude suggests they should just do the same things over again and expect different results.  I think we know which is more reasonable.

      •  "For the moment had passed. The attention span (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, Hammerhand

        had run out.  Fickle minds found other games to play, and self-righteous narcissists kept obsessing on their petty little agendas while manufacturing a self-vindicating narrative about how it was the police that destroyed Occupy simply by rousting the camps.  No, it was the Occupiers that ended Occupy - that didn't want to do hard things... "

        "Fail! No, the diarist's "arguments" here remind me of those that primarily blame homeowners for the mortgage crisis as opposed to Wall Street. Diarist ignores that it was the status quo and the federal government that "ended Occupy," using tools unlike the Federal government has ever had in their arsenal, until recently... "

        I'm with Troubador here.  Occupy failed when we stood idly by letting the Storm Troopers kick our ass.  We also chose the wrong time of year.  There may have been more fight in the dog if we weren't freezing our asses off, if we had chosen to fight these futhermuckers in June rather than friggin' November.  There were a lot of reasons for the Fail, but the biggest one was, "it was the Occupiers that ended Occupy - that didn't want to do hard things... "

        And, what was up with that damn "Mic Check??"
        Felt like we were in Cub Scouts for christaskes.

        •  Mic check, drum circles, etc. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hammerhand, winkk

          There was a lot of extremely irrelevant shit going on.

        •  You both need to read my last comment in thread... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, winkk

          ...and the four pieces associated with them...three from the Center for Media and Democracy, and one from Charles Blow in today's NYT. Then there's this, even more comprehensive piece...

          And, then there's this, massively fact-based piece: 2011 Gov’t Report Confirmation: DHS, Banks Gathered Key Intel On OWS From Daily Kos, Other Sites Bob Swern, Daily Kos (4/4/13)

          The above link is absolutely loaded with links to reports, both from our government and other entities, regarding vast state surveillance and intimidation of OWS.

          Period, as in you’re attempting to create a bogus narrative out of thin air, feebly attempting to maintain that intensive oppression by the state had nothing to do with these greater OWN realities.

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 12:33:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I would argue that Occupy knew that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hammerhand, Troubadour

            the $h!t was going to hit the fan, that #Occupy was Not going to be a walk in the park.  Sadly, many occupiers treated it as just that.  When you're going up against The Empire you better bring more than a pair of sneakers.  We didn't.
            They toasted us with champagne and caviar.  We answered back with Mic Check.
            Our bad.
            All that said, there still might be hope for an #Occupy revival.  This time with more of the Middle Class that has recently slid back to the working poor joining us in arms.  Maybe.  I'm still way-less-than-convinced that most Americans give a flying flip, still comfy cozy in their diminishing lifestyle.  What, me worry??  The SUV is paid for!

  •  That was really well written (4+ / 0-)

    And a lot of rather scary thoughts about what society is offering us. But I wish to offer a counterpoint:

    Reality. And Authenticity.

    I'm taking several marketing MBA classes right now, and every single one of them is harping on the same point: Consumers now more than ever want something real. They've become disillusioned with the aspirations and lies of marketing. They no longer trust anything, and aren't interested in buying into mirages. In many ways, our market is becoming more mercenary, less loyal.

    What does that mean for politics? You're right. Most of my generation (I'm 28) are apathetic to what is going on. But that's because the message isn't getting all the way there. But it's getting stronger: Kony 2012 proved that people are receptive to the message. The problem is in taking that concrete next step.

    The fight for 15, and the challenge against Wal-Mart proves that organic movements that link several different groups together are possible. I believe that if we can tie authenticity into politics, the New New Left can really happen. After all, Warren couldn't raise 42 million without corporate dollars unless people are desperate for that message.

    •  But take a step back from that perspective-wise. (3+ / 0-)

      "Authenticity" is being described in the context of a marketing curriculum - an inherently inauthentic attempt at objectifying communication.  They're simply talking about what it is you should be focusing on fabricating.  I.e., focus on fabricating authenticity.  

      Actual authenticity is inherently impossible as part of the marketing profession.  You're being paid to convince someone of something regardless of what that something is, who those someones are, whether you believe anything you're saying, and to what extent it's true or good.  That's not to say that every or even most marketing people are soulless, nihilistic liars, but their profession is inherently about commodifying and controlling perception.

      So when a marketing course talks about authenticity, they're saying that you need to focus on manipulating people into believing you're authentic, not that you should BE authentic.  Because, in truth, being authentic has nothing to do with being perceived as authentic.  They're just talking about the controllable, manufacturable traits in a message that trigger the button in people's brains that say "Authenticity."  Even if it's tied to the most monstrous and diabolical lies in history, which all marketing tactics inevitably are at some point in time.

      I'm in your same generation, BTW - just two years older.  Although culturally I'm a throwback to the Xers for some reason.

  •  Billionaires Race for the America's Cup and Build (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, Meteor Blades, blueoasis, Chi

    commercial manned space vehicles and countless other things. And take over global finance and superpowers.

    There doesn't seem to be a shortage of focus per se caused by world class wealth.

    What we do have is a shortage of billionaire fighting for enlightenment civilization. There are scores fighting --not just supporting, seriously fighting-- to make the US an authoritarian oligarchy. We have exactly one billionaire on earth willing to seriously fight climate change denialism. There is no billionaire willing to fight to make the US a progressive society, or achieve other overarching national or global progressive goals.

    As I said earlier, for a sailboat or yacht sailor the environment, the atmosphere, they're not the background or setting for the sport, they're every sailor's engine. It's an engine you learn to drive you in every direction on the compass, even upwind, through learning how to read it and how to employ it.

    In last week's America's Cup coverage, some PSA's were run by a yachting environmental organization called "Sailors for the Sea." Earlier tonight I mentioned that their web site is oriented toward minimal environmental impact of yachting, and toward numerous other marine environmental challenges, yet there is no mention of "climate" I could find on the pages I visited. Hardly any group of people is more richly involved with the behavior of the atmosphere than sailors, and they include the richest level of corporatists such as Larry Ellison and Ted Turner, but they haven't generated a movement among the rich to save the climate, their own engines.

    So the data's in on the rich. It's their nature not some kind of paralysis of wealth.

    I share the doubts about millennials but this diary is such an extensive encyclopedia of ideas, it's too much.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 07:40:45 PM PDT

    •  Most of the problem comes not from (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      individual conservative billionaires, but from the corrupt people they're able to leverage in business and politics.  If it was just about the Kochs and people like them, we could easily overpower them.  But their effects reinforce and accelerate those of corporate institutions that leverage the incremental corruption of basically every single person with any level of financial interest in them.  Fighting ideologues is easy; it's fighting the cynical bastards who support ideologues for mercenary reasons that's hard.

  •  Can you get this down to 140 characters? (8+ / 0-)

    If you can, you're a true Millennial.

    •  18th century: Can you get this down to 140 pgs? (8+ / 0-)

      19th century: Can you get this down to 14 pages?
      20th century: Can you get this down to 1.4 pages?
      21st century: Can you get this down to 140 characters?
      22nd century: (silence)

      •  And guess how many more people read the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, brooklynbadboy

        140 characters than the 14 pages?

        What you are making fun of is simply a means of disseminating information more effectively. Do you think the people of the world are better informed and educated now or in the 19th century?

        •  More people are informed in some way (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chi, Cedwyn

          than in the 19th century, but the informed (albeit in smaller numbers) were more comprehensively and productively educated then than now, and continued to build upward on that until the middle of the 20th century.  Now it's very difficult to be a truly intelligent person rather than simply a very efficient function/tool for some interest.  Before I left college, I got to see the reality of the current scientific community, and the way it's being turned into just an adjunct of the economy even at the most elite levels.  It was pretty disturbing.

          •  Given the choice (0+ / 0-)

            Which would you choose?

            1. A society of mediocre education, but broadly held.

            2. A society of superior education, but only to a limited few.

            Seems to me like you are arguing for the 19th Century. Which is...err...strange?!

            •  I disagree with the premise of the choice. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Chi

              First, I disagree that what multi-tasking culture broadly produces is "mediocre" education - what it produces is something even less than ignorance, it's the illusion of an education in its complete absence.  It's the ruling out of subsequent education through indoctrination of false beliefs and denial of opportunities to reflect and examine those beliefs.

              Secondly, I disagree that education can't be both broad and deep.  It can and should be, and people could then explore to depths and breadths that suit them.  That's not possible in the internet.  It's not a vast sea of enriching information, it's almost all crap, and someone capable of finding real information that is obscure enough to be useful has to put in a substantial amount of work to find it.  In some ways, more work than if they just went to a library.  I myself have often enough had to go to a library in recent years because the internet just didn't have what I was looking for, and it never will.  There is no impetus to put most of the useful information in the world on the internet because very few people want useful information.

              •  Well, the libraries are empty and closing, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ukit

                while the internet is full and growing.

                In fact, you go to any public library these days, the books gather dust while people wait on line to use the internet.

                You obviously don't like it. But it obviously isn't paying much attention to what you think, now is it?

                •  I do like it. That has no bearing on my judgment. (0+ / 0-)

                  I would love it if the internet could provide everything.  But it can't and never will, not because of any inherent technological limitations, but because at some point you become the slave of other people who control the services being rendered.

    •  Heh (4+ / 0-)

      I'm a millennial, and I didn't even finish half of it. Why? Not because it can't be put into a twitter message, but because it was a rambling, mildly incoherent treatise that needed about forty cc's of Brevity, stat.

      Every generation whines about the next generation. It's just a sign you're getting old. I'm sure I'll be doing it as well in forty years.

    •  Millenials have been weened on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, Cedwyn

      instant gratification and that is not how the world works, even with an iProduct.

      (no idea how many characters that is)

      Listening to the NRA on school safety is like listening to the tobacco companies on cigarette safety. (h/t nightsweat)

      by PsychoSavannah on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 08:57:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The world works exactly like that. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        serendipityisabitch

        I don't know how you can conclude the world doesn't work on the fastest possible gratification when it clearly and obviously does. Maybe you wish it didn't, but it does.

        I'm sure somewhere someone is saying 'why are you spending so much money on bullet trains! you want to be there in an instant, don't you?! Well, if you knew how the world worked, you'd just pack up a ruck sack and spend the next few days patiently walking there.'

        •  If it did, then why are they unsatisfied? (0+ / 0-)

          You can't have it both ways.  You can't say "The world is exactly as I believe it to be, and what I'm doing is exactly what should be done, but I am outraged at the failure of others to achieve what I want!"

    •   My thoughts exactly. No Millennial is going (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour

      to make it to the last word of this piece.

      In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

      by Sixty Something on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 05:44:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Too long, read it anyway. Still thinking about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, CenPhx

    it, and will have to go through it again before I'm ready to try a substantive comment. T&R just to see what happens.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 07:54:52 PM PDT

  •  Harumph. (6+ / 0-)

    Underestimate the Millenials at your own peril.  

    They dipped their toe into the political pool and found it wanting.  

    They are educated and open to change.

    I hang around them a lot, they are listening and learning all the time.  They are aware.

    They use media that allows them to escape much of the barrage of propaganda.  

    Millennials are the least likely to have watched an hour of television in the previous 24 hours. Even so, a majority (57%) of Millennials did that.

    Politically, Millennials were among Barack Obama's strongest supporters in 2008, backing him for president by more than a two-to-one ratio (66% to 32%) while older adults were giving just 50% of their votes to the Democratic nominee. This was the largest disparity between younger and older voters recorded in four decades of modern election day exit polling. Moreover, after decades of low voter participation by the young, the turnout gap in 2008 between voters under and over the age of 30 was the smallest it had been since 18- to 20-year-olds were given the right to vote in 1972. (Chapter 8).

    But the political enthusiasms of Millennials have since cooled —for Obama and his message of change, for the
    Democratic Party and, quite possibly, for politics itself. About half of Millennials say the president has failed to
    change the way Washington works, which had been the central promise of his candidacy. Of those who say this,
    three-in-ten blame Obama himself, while more than half blame his political opponents and special interests. To be sure, Millennials remain the most likely of any generation to self-identify as liberals; they are less supportive than their elders of an assertive national security policy and more supportive of a progressive domestic social agenda. They are still more likely than any other age group to identify as Democrats. Yet by early 2010, their support for Obama and the Democrats had receded, as evidenced both by survey
    data and by their low level of participation in recent
    off-year and special elections.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/...

    •  The stats you cite kind of argue against (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi

      the "ignore them at your peril" argument, and also against the argument that they're especially aware.  It's pretty silly to claim that someone tunes out of politics because they're aware of it - they tune out because they expect to be pandered to and are disappointed when something other than pure fantasy happens.  I.e., they tune out because they're totally unaware and unappreciative of what politics is, what it does, and what their actions cause.  No one who has to be persuaded to vote is liberal and intelligent.

      •  Ahhh... They voted for change. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CenPhx, chuckvw

        What they got was a typical politician.  Some generations take longer than other to come of age politically.

        It's interesting to see you speak for and disrespect a whole generation at the same time though.

        •  Ah, "voted for change." A nice, short slogan. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justanothernyer, Kickemout

          Very Twitter friendly.  The reality didn't quite fit on Twitter, did it?  It has to be explained and analyzed, like most things that bear any resemblance to reality, and there's just no time for that.

          It's interesting to see you speak for and disrespect a whole generation at the same time though.

          Disrespect?  What the fuck am I supposed to respect them/us for?  Remind me of the towering cultural and political achievements in which this generation didn't merely play some role, but actually spearheaded against any kind of opposition?  You're illustrating stereotypes even as you bitch about being subjected to them, acting like Millennials are owed something.  

          We/You aren't owed anything.  We had everything handed to us.  Now we live in a world that won't hand it to us anymore.  What are we going to do about it?  Obviously something pointless and entirely self-gratifying for five minutes, then something else pointless and self-gratifying for the next five minutes, then we have to update our social media to talk about our experiences in doing those pointless things, and then maybe at the end of the day, if we have time, we might make some clever tweet expressing our disappointment in the world to magically do our bidding just because we want it to.  J.K. Rowling lied to us, yo!  That bitch!

          •  Meh. (0+ / 0-)
            Very Twitter friendly.  The reality didn't quite fit on Twitter, did it?  It has to be explained and analyzed, like most things that bear any resemblance to reality, and there's just no time for that.
            Because what I say should be related to twitter and attributed to millenials.

            It's what Obama campaigned on.  Attribute their disappointment in the lack of change to him and the Democratic Party's unwillingness to fight for anyone but the rich.  

            Have a good night and enjoy your generational superiority.

            •  He campaigned on it because it was an effective (0+ / 0-)

              way to campaign, and also boiled down the reality of what he wanted to do as much as real political plans can be boiled down that far.  The madness of demanding a few-word slogan to express complex ideas and then claiming you were lied to when reality isn't as simple is just awesome.

              And what generational superiority are you talking about?  I'm neck-deep in the same phenomena I'm criticizing.  My music may be Xer, and my attention span may be something out of the 19th century, but I am utterly distractable.  I just have the good fortunate of being picky about my distractions.

          •  We can play this game too. (0+ / 0-)

            What the fuck are we millennials supposed to respect older generations for?  The fact that the Boomers, for example, brought about much of the destruction that has gone on in this country by voting for Reagan twice?

            I get that to older people we all suck (granted, I'm probably what would barely be considered a millennial, but I still count).  That we're all a bunch of airheads who can't take the time to actually inform ourselves about anything, and therefore are ruining society.

            Or maybe, just maybe, this is projection.  Maybe part of the problem is that older generations helped cause many of these problems because of who they voted for.  But it's easier to blame us than to admit that they're part of the problem.

  •  I think we are learning that our (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buddabelly, Troubadour, Cedwyn

    technology on the social level is more damaging than not, for some societies, namely the first world.

    Your point about people knowing they are being fed a load of shit so they believe nothing is a very, very dangerous trend that is already having horrible effects on our society.

    Listening to the NRA on school safety is like listening to the tobacco companies on cigarette safety. (h/t nightsweat)

    by PsychoSavannah on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 08:26:48 PM PDT

  •  Also: (3+ / 0-)

    "I once argued that public transit should actually be a public sector service (free to the user), and that somehow inspired incredulity and even a little anger."

    How about this? Austin tried it once. It led to significantly poorer experiences by all passengers, as the crazy homeless folks took to riding them all day for the air conditioning. It's a solid idea, one I had a while back when I first started taking public transportation, but there are a lot of unintended consequences when you start changing things like this.

    •  Only small towns can get away with it. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PsychoSavannah, FG, bobswern

      It works pretty well in college towns and in small towns. But you can't support a serious public transportation with no fee for the service in even medium sized city. Completely impossible in  a large city.

        •  You'll never have enough tax revenue to (0+ / 0-)

          sustain it. In a major system, wear and tear alone eats up a massive part of the budget. And you'll likely have a lot more of it with free fare. This would necessitate a massive tax burden, which wouldn't be subject to the changes in demand for the system. You'll have to set taxes for peak levels of use, even when it isn't being used at peak level, and it still wouldn't be enough to cover the wear and tear. Its unsustainable for a major system to rely solely on taxes, which is one none of the do.

          Makes much more sense to have the fare pay for the use, so that the revenue and usage climb and fall accordingly.

          •  "Tax burden"? Since when do we use (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Chi, Cedwyn

            Cato Institute terminology?  I would think forcing working people to pay to be transported to work for someone else's wealth is a burden.  And as long as it's progressive enough, who gives a shit how high the taxes are?  Let rich people pay to transport the people who work for them.  They already get tax breaks on their own luxuries, why shouldn't workers get their expenses paid too?

    •  Then give the crazy homeless somewhere else (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CenPhx, Chi

      to have air conditioning than the buses.  This is not rocket science, and another thing I'm noticing about Millennials is their whiny defeatism when it comes to changing anything.  Maybe what they need is a sports movie training montage to figure out that doing anything worthwhile results in unanticipated problems, and that the solution to those problems is not to just quit.

      •  What have you got against millenials? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ukit
        another thing I'm noticing about Millennials is their whiny defeatism when it comes to changing anything.
        Research shows they are actually open to change.  Your opinion about the generation is just that: opinion.

        Their generation is open to liberal ideas.  They voted for Obama looking for Change.

        Give them results instead of opinions and they'll come back to the Democratic Party.  

        Why blame them for a political environment polluted by big money.  They didn't create it.

        •  Your arguments are entirely passive-aggressive. (0+ / 0-)
          Their generation is open to liberal ideas.  They voted for Obama looking for Change.
          And they/we got exactly the change we built, nothing more and nothing less.  
          Give them results instead of opinions and they'll come back to the Democratic Party.
          Everything anyone ever does has results.  Do you even know what you're saying when you spout these simplistic slogans?
          Why blame them for a political environment polluted by big money.  They didn't create it.
          And I'm sure if your dog takes a shit on your rug, you'll shrug in self-satisfied resignation that you weren't the one who invented dog shit rather than cleaning it up.
      •  ns (0+ / 0-)

        Absolutely agree. It's a disgrace what we do with our homeless population. They need to be in care centers with medical supervision if they have mental health issues, or at least be given warm beds, meals, a shower, and some clean clothes. We live in the richest country on earth. We can afford it.

        But putting them on buses is a really expensive way of giving someone air conditioning.

      •  Defeatism? (0+ / 0-)

        I'm sorry, but fuck you.

        I majored in political science.  I did so because I wanted to try and use the knowledge I gained from it to try and make things better.  Defeatist my ass.

        What's defeatist is that the same generation that gave us hippies and the anti-Vietnam movement went on to give us Reaganomics and the religious right.  

        Many of my generation are still in high school.  How about you give us some time to be able to make changes before you accuse us of being defeatist and doing nothing?

    •  It's Free on Whidbey Island WA (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour

      or was when we lived there. My wife bussed 90 minutes a day to and from work for nothing.

      Of course they didn't have a significant thosssse people population.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 09:32:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They should address their homeless problem then. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour

      That unintended consequence highlighted the societal problem of homelessness. Why does Austin, a fairly affluent city, have such a huge homeless problem? Should more shelters/treatment centers be built to accommodate them? Should more economic opportunity be created to reduce the number of homeless over time?

      "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." -- JC, Matthew 6:24

      by Chi on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 06:53:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  as for decision making, that isn't a millenial (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    thing, I'm an old Xer and the ability to make a damn decision is why I did well in life, as well as can be expected with half my earning life cut off.....

    All my life I have had to be the one to step in and make the damn decision so the MCF would slowly start to untangle and that was in crowds and groups of all ages from the time I was about 17....

    For some it's almost like they are genetically incapable of making a decision, any decision.......Whether it's fear of screwing up or what I don't know but indecisiveness causes way more problems than it should in life.

    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
    Emiliano Zapata

    by buddabelly on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 08:45:00 PM PDT

  •  Every generation has always looked at the next (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, Troubadour

    with distrust and suspicion. But regarding the "internet culture" it's hard for me to be as negative about it as you seem to be.

    Yes, there is the potential for people to be "misled" and propagandized, but the benefit from having free access to the world's information far outweighs that.

    Sometimes you'll hear people talk about a mythical "golden age" of journalism, usually epitomized by the memory of a straight-laced, hard-nosed truth teller like Edward R. Murrow. But in reality if you go back 30 or 40 years you'd find media was far more conformist and propagandistic than it is today. That trusted voice on the evening news that people look back on nostalgically is really just another form of propaganda, a particularly effective one since there were far fewer outlets for alternative thinking back then.

    The fact that people are rejecting the prevailing ideology and gravitating to alternative viewpoints is something that should be celebrated. Even better will be the point when society rejects any single viewpoint and is able to look at the world in a more multi-faceted way.

    As for whether the "New New Left" or whatever will change everything, I'd argue that the change is going to happen regardless of what kind of people Millenials are (as if you can ever generalize about an arbitrarily chosen group of people). We are watching the slow motion collapse of the current system, and Millenials and other future generations will be forced to adapt to that reality.

    •  I think we all err in contemplating some (0+ / 0-)

      "rejection of prevailing ideology" as being what's going on here.  It's just the adoption of an ideology that pretends all claims are equivalent and all people morally on the same level regardless of what they do.  It's basically nihilism or Last Man mentality.  It's a point of total moral and intellectual exhaustion and bankruptcy.  Nothing can come out of that, only out of rejecting it by proving to be an exception.

      •  I disagree, ideology is alive and well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour

        We're talking about competing ideologies. Neoliberalism is currently the dominant force in the world, but cracks are beginning to appear. The kind of nihilist view you're talking about, the idea that ideology is dead, is something you're actually more likely to hear from the neoliberal establishment as part of an argument for its own inevitability. But this is a delusional view since nothing ever really ends. People say communism is dead but then how to explain that there's currently a Maoist insurgency going on in India where revolutionaries control large parts of the country? Over the past several years you've seen renewed interest in long standing alternatives like socialism, anarchism and libertarianism. Maybe all of this is naive, maybe it's in its early stages, but to the extent that people are rejecting the prevailing ideology, they are rejecting a view that says there is no alternative to neoliberalism.

        •  There is neoliberalism, and then there are the (0+ / 0-)

          vast number of "moot" ideologies that are equivalent to it by creating pseudo-moral universes where no sustained, relevant action against neoliberalism is likely to occur.  And BTW, I despise the term "neoliberalism" because it really has nothing to do with liberalism in the first place.  It's just market cultism.

  •  Excellent piece - and the proof of your argument (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    is the fact that the Rec List Algorithm has not deemed this diary to be on the Recommended page.
    I love the counter-argument that OWS was crushed and banished by the Establishment (pardon my archaic term). Yes, just as the unions were crushed and banished by the goons and murderers, both corporate and governmental, who killed and maimed strikers from the 1880's to the 1940's.
    The hard truth is that human beings are not really intelligent. Oh, maybe a very very few out of millions, but most humans "think" by relying on group conformity, myths, mimicking (monkey see, monkey do), religion, superstition, emotions, upbringing, cultural norms, and other mechanistic or environmental factors -- not thought-out, well-researched decision-making.
    I think it's hilarious that mankind ranks itself unique among earth creatures because of its "intelligence" -- Oh, I agree that man is unique, but only because of all the creatures  on earth he's the only one who can go psychologically  insane. I think civilization's past, present and projected future pretty much proves that.

    Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizam!

    by fourthcornerman on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 05:09:04 AM PDT

  •  Amazing writing (0+ / 0-)

    I read the link to the "New Left". I thought it was well written and my takeaway was that millenials grew up in a world of recession and economic decline, so they are apt to be more liberal/progressive than we were/are.

    I don't really agree with you on the failure of Occupy. Occupy may not have achieved its lofty goals, but it did do one very important thing - it created the 1% meme, which ended up being a powerful mantra. It may have even defeated Romney (the 47%) thing. It brought a keen focus on growing income inequality in the country. Just for that, I would say it was successful.

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