30 October 2008

Mother of violence

During voting, we were repeatedly told to turn off our cell phones because they interfere with the voting machines. I'll ignore the conspiracies that could be spun from such a fabrication and charitably blame it on bureaucratically inspired misinformation. Yesterday at work, someone spammed the entire dev department with a notice about Bad Candy from China. The information was true, as far as it went, but the person failed to read further than the warning to see that the candy was only distributed in Canada. No offense intended to Canadians, but we have no offices in Canada. In a recent Science Friday, Judy Estrin spoke about how the current environment suppresses innovation because the main message sent out from our government in response to external threats is fear. In contrast to the archetypal space-race, our generation hasn't responded to the Sputnik-like threats with a moon landing. Instead, we remove rights and suppress information. She ties this, without mincing words, to the Bush administration's disregard and suppression of science. From Ms. Estrin: You turn off the leadership function in each individual [when you scare them instead of inspire them].

All of this--responding with ignorance and fear--seems endemic from the top down. As the PATRIOT Act takes away rights to protect you, it punishes individuality and leadership. Science is mocked as a methodology to vet knowlege of the physical world and replaced instead by political statements. People defer to a false authority and so are susceptible to believing whatever information is placed before them without even a cursory examination. Fear allows lies to spread more quickly when inquiry is abandoned.

[ posted by sstrader on 30 October 2008 at 1:18:54 PM in Culture & Society ]