Clay Shirky writes on Foreign Affairs this week
Arguing for the right of people to use the Internet freely is an appropriate policy for the United States, both because it aligns with the strategic goal of strengthening civil society worldwide and because it resonates with American beliefs about freedom of expression
By switching from an instrumental to an environmental view of the effects of social media on the public sphere, the United States will be able to take advantage of the long-term benefits these tools promise.
Oooh – I just love this stuff “resonates with American beliefs” and “environmental view of the effects of social media on the public sphere”
“Some ideas are so stupid only intellectuals believe them.”George Orwell
Twitter and Facebook are communication tools. Not values.
It is the height of foolishness to assert that a communications tool like Facebook and Twitter is a substitute for values. Sure it makes it easier for 80,000 people to attend demonstrations someone else is funding, but don’t forget the agendas of the people funding the demonstrations.
The US will not be able to “to take advantage of the long-term benefits these tools promise” unless it takes a moral and value position, clearly delineating the basic dos ( for starters – honor your parents, honor freedom of religion) and don’ts (not killing your citizens, not raping your women, not chopping off hands of thieves, not funding Muslim terrorists, not holding the world at gun-point over the price of oil).
There is no evidence that social media changes government policy
Look at Egypt. Look at Israel. Look at Wall Street.
Social media hype is escapism from dealing with fundamental issues
Let’s assume that the US has an agenda and responsibility to make the world a better place.
Green / clean energy. Healthy people.
I think we can all agree these are good thing for the world. Did social media play any kind of role at all in the blunders of the Obama administration in their energy or healthcare initiatives? Does the administration have a good record or a bad record with these initiatives?
Solyndra is an illustration of how a major Obama contributor took half a billion in loan guarantees and walked away without exposure. The factory employed about 150 people and stimulated the pockets of a small number of wealthy people. And, do not forget, Solyndra is kids stuff compared to the $80 Billion in real money that the US government squandered on Afghan electrification projects with no oversight on the cost-plus contractors that delivered zip to Afghanistan.
Mr. Obama and his yea-sayers like Clay Shirkey need the hifalutin talk about the importance of social media and free speech, to deflect voter attention from rewards to their campaign contributors, financial service institutions, government contractors and Beltway insiders and winning the next Presidential election.
Is the objective improving the health of Americans or is the objective giving gifts of $44,000 to US doctors so that they can go out and buy some software from one of the 705 companies that have certified to HHS requirements for e-prescribing? WTF does e-prescription software have to do with treating chronic patients?
Even giving President Obama credit for having some good ideas – once you have a big, centralized, I’ll run everything, decide everything, make everyone comply kind of government – you get all kinds of nonsense like Solyndra, Afghan electrification projects, health care software subsidies and … Bar Lev lines, multi-billion sheqel security fence projects and the funneling of funds from the PA to Israeli businessmen allied to Israeli ex-generals who sell gasoline to Palestinian terror organizations and security services to Palestinian banks.
In the Middle East – even while vilifying Bush, the Obama administration continues the Bush doctrine of not going after the real bad guys who fund terror (the Saudis), while wasting thousands of American lives (in Iraq and Afghanistan) and blowing over 80 billion dollars in tax payer money on boondoogles like the Iragi and Afghan electrification projects.
Obama praise for the Arab Spring is chilling in its double-talk about democracy (just last month in Tunisia) as Libya, Egypt and their neighbors transition into Islamic fundamentalism rule amidst blatantly undemocratic violence.
In Israel, I would not blame any US President for problems our own doing no more than I would credit Facebook with the 2011 Summer of Love on Rothschild which was no more than an exercise in mass manipulation by professional political lobbyists and people like Dafne Leaf who were too busy with their liberal agendas to serve their country.
Israeli leaders have been on a slippery downhill slope of declining morals since Sabra and Shatila in 1985.
And for that – we cannot blame any single President or Prime Minister no more than we can credit Facebook with remembering friends’ birthdays – but only blame ourselves for putting up with the lack of values and morals of our leaders.