Like Alexis de Tocqueville described early 19th century US, this article lays out well the current cancer of the country.
Ubu is a grotesque and shameless character, megalomaniac and authoritarian, an who ‘says stupid things with loutish authority’. Indifferent to the rules he sets and violates, if not contemptuous of them, he is sometimes transparent in trumpeting his designs and methods.
The 20th century had no shortage of putschist generals, bloodthirsty buffoons and other Ubu-like figures who caused havoc in the countries they ruled.
The president-elect flew into a rage when he learned that a fundraiser was being organised to pay staff for his accession into office and screamed at the head of the transition team, ‘You’re stealing my fucking money.’
Kakistocracy in action is personified by the outsized role of presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner
Beyond ‘misgovernment for profit’, kakistocracy serves a political agenda. Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said the aim of free-market zealots is to reduce the size of the state ‘in order to be able to drown it in a bathtub’, implying it needs incompetence to discredit the idea of public service.
This story reads as the one about Matthias Corvinus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthias_Corvinus and Vlad Tepes, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_the_Impaler or Vlad the Impaler., or Vlad Dracula.
After the Ottoman Empire attacked Vlad Tepes from the South, Matthias Corvinus, one of the recognized most educated sovereign in his times, start spreading rumors that Vlad sucks blood from his peasants, to spread demoralization, so he can expand to the East on account of Vlad Tepes’ lands.
#twitterstorians, in the fall, I’m teaching a course called “Fake History,” which will explore commonly held myths and lies about the past. What myth/lie/misconception about the past troubles, irks, annoys, or bothers you the most? (I’m trying to figuring out what I’m missing)
Algorithmic test proctoring’s settings have discriminatory consequences across multiple identities and serious privacy implications.
While racist technology calibrated for white skin isn’t new (everything from photography to soap dispensers do this), we see it deployed through face detection and facial recognition used by algorithmic proctoring systems.
As Os Keyes has demonstrated, facial recognition has a terrible history with gender. This means that a software asking students to verify their identity is compromising for students who identify as trans, non-binary, or express their gender in ways counter to cis/heteronormativity.
These features and settings create a system of asymmetric surveillance and lack of accountability, things which have always created a risk for abuse and sexual harassment. Technologies like these have a long history of being abused, largely by heterosexual men at the expense of women’s bodies, privacy, and dignity.
my note: I am repeating this for years
Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel’s ongoing critique of Turnitin, a plagiarism detection software, outlines exactly how this logic operates in ed-tech and higher education: 1) don’t trust students, 2) surveil them, 3) ignore the complexity of writing and citation, and 4) monetize the data.
Cheating is not a technological problem, but a social and pedagogical problem.
Our habit of believing that technology will solve pedagogical problems is endemic to narratives produced by the ed-tech community and, as Audrey Watters writes, is tied to the Silicon Valley culture that often funds it. Scholars have been dismantling the narrative of technological solutionism and neutrality for some time now. In her book “Algorithms of Oppression,” Safiya Umoja Noble demonstrates how the algorithms that are responsible for Google Search amplify and “reinforce oppressive social relationships and enact new modes of racial profiling.”
Anna Lauren Hoffmann, who coined the term “data violence” to describe the impact harmful technological systems have on people and how these systems retain the appearance of objectivity despite the disproportionate harm they inflict on marginalized communities.
Higher education is deeply complicit in the eugenics movement. Nazism borrowed many of its ideas about racial purity from the American school of eugenics, and universities were instrumental in supporting eugenics research by publishing copious literature on it, establishing endowed professorships, institutes, and scholarly societies that spearheaded eugenic research and propaganda.
since 1989 or 1991, we had been living in a growing liberal international order.
The number of democracies in this period went from about 35 in 1970, and peaked at something like a 115 to a 120, depending on how you measure a democracy. By the early 2000s, the global output of the world economy quadrupled.
the rise of a couple of very self-confident and newly assertive authoritarian powers: Russia and China. But from my standpoint, the most disturbing thing was this emergence of populism within established democracies and in fact, within the two most established democracies: Britain and the US.
The first definition is an economic one: a populist is a leader, who promotes economic policies or social policies that are popular on the short run but disastrous on the long run.
The second definition is more of a political style than anything else: a populist leader tries to be charismatic and says: I have a direct connection with you, the people. And that is actually quite important because it makes a populist, I think, ipso facto anti-institutional. A democracy is not just popular elections, it is also the protection of minority rights, it is also having a moderate government that really reflects the true will of the people. And populists tend to authoritarian politics because they do not like institutions getting in the way
The third definition is that a populist, when they say “I support the people”, often times do not mean the whole people. They mean a certain kind of person, usually defined by race or ethnicity. Often times in terms of traditional cultural values or as a traditional sense of national identity. And that does not correspond to the actual population that might live in that country.
Now we have a populist coalition in Italy, and Latin America elected its first Northern European style populist in Jair Bolsonaro. Most Latin American populists are like Southern European populists: they are left wing, they are not ethnically exclusive, they are more economic populists. But Latin America has decided to join the crowd, and so they elected a leader that is, you know, racially prejudiced, that has a fundamentalist Christian understanding of what Brasil should be about.
if you are a lower-skilled, less educated worker in a rich country, you are liable to lose out to a similarly skilled worker in a poor country.
Right from the beginning, the rap against democracy is that it produces weak government. Democracies cannot make decisions. there is a big desire on the part of a lot of ordinary people to have a strong man, a leader who can just cut through all this blather, make decisions and get things done.
The third reason is cultural, and that is the one that has to do with identity.
the word identity and Identity Politics was really not used commonly until the 1950s. A psychologist, Erik Erikson
the inner self is the one that is valuable, and the whole outside society has to change, and that is what is happening right now. Men are going through a cultural retraining, they are learning that actually their rules are not the right ones, and we need a different set of rules in relations between men and women that respect the dignity of the whole person in those kinds of relationships.
European Muslims, did not feel comfortable with their parents’ form of religiosity, they thought that it was too old fashioned and traditional, but they also did not feel well-integrated into the society, in which they were living.
“Strangers in Their Own Land” by sociologist Arlie Hochschild