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countering populism

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countering populism

I might say that populism is the first refuge of a scoundrel and a literate, engaged, and networked citizenry provides no such refuge. But schooling alone shouldn’t be the reply to the constant outrage we’re witnessing as many societies polarize on political strains. Even extremely educated folks will be bigots, racists, and misogynists. Society’s answer to populism shouldn’t be a return to the previous methods, nor an ironic post-modern shrug, however moderately a brand new meta-modernity — multi-layered, relational, and world.

Slovakia’s president, Zuzana Caputova elected in March 2019, suggests a approach out of the populist quagmire. The reply is to be calm, rational, and to embrace others, very similar to a universal mother.

“People are afraid of the unknown, of changes,” she mentioned. “This fear is used by populists to come with very simple, very clear solutions.” But Caputova additionally seen opinion polls displaying that the politics of worry had one other impact: “People are tired of conflict.” She resolved to “avoid heating up the discussions,” to supply not simply her views but additionally the ethical reasoning behind them. In televised debates, whereas the opposite candidates bickered, she got here off as calm and measured … In the controversy between those that argue “fight back and mobilize your supporters” and those that argue “use slogans that unite,” Caputova’s expertise argues for the latter. —WaPo 2019-10-15

Marshall & Eric McLuhan’s laws of media may also help us perceive the potential results of a brand new know-how. Every medium — equivalent to digital networks — 1. extends a human property (because the automobile extends the foot), 2. obsolesces the earlier medium by turning it right into a luxurious (as the auto horses and carriages unaffordable for many ), 3. retrieves a a lot older medium that was obsolesced earlier than (as the auto brings again the shining armour of the chevalier), and 4. flips or reverses its properties into the other impact when pushed to its limits (as does the auto, which in massive numbers creates gridlock).

The third quadrant — retrieval — is most attention-grabbing as a result of we are able to see what’s getting back from our historical past, however in a brand new kind. The tribal affiliations being retrieved significantly by way of social media are what Caputova needed to counter in an effort to get elected. She addressed these tribes not by creating a brand new tribe, however by discounting the tribal perspective and specializing in the inhabitants’s frequent humanity as an alternative. In this case, it labored. Understanding retrieval provides us a instrument to counter the adverse results — or potential reversal — of recent applied sciences.

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