Sean Cubitt on Fri, 23 Aug 2019 12:29:42 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> from Meatloaf to penalty Shoot Outs

John writes:

Date: Tue, 20 Aug 2019 08:48:41 -0700
From: John Preston <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> From Meat Loaf to Penalty Shoot Outs
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Technological development puts pressure on social institutions. We need
a system of governance which encourages rapid iteration and mass
participation, two features lacking in our current democracies.

the problem is that referendums are not a viable alternative - partly for the reasons David gives: abandonment of evidence, argument or - I'd add - a commitment to the good life for all.

Judiciously timed, a referendum on restoring the death penalty would succeed in any European country. So would bans on abortion, gay marriage, modest dress for Muslim women, immigration, and very probably heavy metal 

There is surely an arrogance in expertise, and a we-know-best among professional politicos. But to exchange that for constant (and compulsory?) opinion polling wouldn't change the new problem which is exactly that: ubiquitous real-time comment IS government by opinion poll, and it is frighteningly fascistic. The new national-populisms rely on just such technological by-passes because they know they do not construct the public but a plurality of publics, each of which can be triggered by the right (usually negative) stimulus - this is the whole strategy of social media marketing in the US, UK and across Europe. 

Sadly - since it requires far more work - the political solutions are the only response to political problems. Yes, any politics in the 21st century must be mediated, and media techniques and technologies impact politics just as politics impact on technologies and techniques. 

The challenge is to build political media that are in service of the good of all - including non-humans -- a medium that allows the Amazon a voice, that could be interesting . . . .

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