[ExI] calling for our exi computer security hipsters, was: RE: Donald Trump
anders at aleph.se
Sat May 7 07:38:02 UTC 2016
On 2016-05-06 23:27, spike wrote:
> After pondering my own question, I fear we did this us.
> Why doesn’t this sort of catastrophe ever happen to the saner nations,
> such as, like, Britain or Germany?
> Oh wait, back up one. It did happen once in Germany.
> OK then, Britain. Why don’t the Brits ever find themselves in a spot
> where their two major parties nominate odious characters, then somehow
> convince themselves only those two parties can ever matter forever and
> ever amen? And why did this happen to us? And can we do anything?
Well, the Brits actually had a long-running Tory/Labour balance, with
the concept of having the governing party supported by one or two small
parties a weird hypothetical. Same in Sweden, where for much of the
postwar era it was a constellation of the social democrats + leftists
vs. the conservatives + two smaller parties. But in both cases shifts in
voting patterns made these balances unstable. Shift happens.
The real issue you are pointing at is the rise of populism. Right now a
lot of people in countries from Poland to Honduras are really upset at
(1) things changing in ways they do not like, and (2) the political
establishment being corrupt, inept or just behind it. People flail about
for somebody who will do things differently, and that is why they elect
naive leftists (Greece), comedians (Italy, Guatemala), nasty
conservatives (Poland) or vote for various xenophobic parties (Sweden,
However, vanilla populists are not the main threat. They are
know-nothings that will do damage of a particular style. It is the
authoritarians that I fear. The difference is that authoritarians are
populists that claim (1) they have the solution, the only solution, (2)
outside epistemic standards are irrelevant, and (3) the solution
involves following their dictates. Once they get into power dissent
becomes threats to the government and all the good things it intends, so
it must be suppressed by all right-thinking people. They are the ones
that close societies.
My suggestion is that the key part is safeguarding the open society.
Help build solid legal and technical protections for journalists, ensure
that the judciary is independent, make sure name-and-shame mechanisms
and whistleblowing makes corruption and misuse of power risky, spread a
wider understanding of what the enlightenment achieved, and so on.
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
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