"Though Mao's cult of personality has passed into history, its traces persist within systems of Orwellian control. To downplay the importance of 1989's Tiananmen Square protests, the state apparatus weaponizes forgetting in order to once again pit younger, more socially engineered generations against once militant Baby Boomers."
"The impact of surveillance technologies on culture, politics, and even our values has been my jam for a long time. Of particular interest are the accelerating transitions from science-fictiony possibilities that horrify us to everyday realities that tame us. For instituting such breathless control, China provides the blueprint for what it's leaders cynically call “managed democracy.” As I’ve written before, whatever Orwellian tactic emerges in China does not stay in China. It propagates to other totalitarian regimes across the globe. We’ll even see a slow totalitarian creep in “open” societies like Great Britain (which doesn’t have strong free speech and personal privacy protections) before we see it here. Thanks to a virtually unregulated tech sector, the American version will be brought to us by major corporations that fatten 401Ks, and small, shrouded research firms that spin themselves as techno-utopians. The difference between China’s brute force authoritarian control and its American cousin is that the latter will be more subtle and opaque—a soft (or “inverted”) totalitarianism, as Sheldon Wolin called it—that produces capital as well as control by harvesting then leveraging even more of our data than it does now."
A lot more people think they’re middle-class than actually are. This is because “middle-class” is as much an ideology as it is a salary range. By “ideology” I mean a “way of thinking” that justifies how one thinks and acts. It’s interesting that neither “lower-class” nor “upper-class” are ideologies. Neither has need for it. Both understand the true nature of class warfare. It's crucial that the middle class remains oblivious.
Today: Low productivity, trade war, no money control, Hume this!, YubiKey, Neoliberalism is dying, benefits torch wages, Mises!, curse you Western philosophy!, and a child abuse contrarian. Come get some.
Today: Ever Wonder What Happened To Deficit Hawks?, The End Of Chimerica, How Not To Think About Atheists, and Here’s Looking At You...Kid?
"Fighting crime and enforcing the law require someone breaking the law. But “keeping us safe” is ultimately about perceived (and now predicted) threats that may never materialize but nevertheless require a vigilance that justifies itself once we accept it. Necessarily, more perceived or potential threats than real account significantly for the increased level of surveillance we’ve seen since 2001."
History tells us that no nuclear power with missiles it can fire has ever totally denuclearized of its own free will. So expect Kim Jong-un to ask the world in Singapore. If he doesn’t get it, he’ll play for time. Trump has another two to four years. Kim Jong-un has the rest of his life.
A more “open-ended” narrative that political operatives and the media have a more difficult time managing is that the “Russia, WikiLeaks, and the Election of 2016” story is itself a small part of a larger narrative about America’s particular historical moment.
The (De)X Files is my (sorta) daily aggregate of a few stories, essays, articles, an academic paper here and there, and (ugh) "think pieces" (only the awesome ones) from as wide a net as I can cast across the web.