“we have moved to an era of post-ideology”

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

@JohnRobb“Significant philanthropic activity is a good indicator that you live in a dysfunctional society.”

@White_Owly“It’s easy to criticise the system after you’ve made enough money from it to last a lifetime.”

@FearDept“In tomorrow’s digital society you will have no rights but the opportunity to earn many privileges.”

@CognitivePolicy “For everyone watching the political satire that has captured so much attention in recent years, ponder what happens when population pressure is too great — and inequality too severe — for any kind of prosocial behaviors to express at scale. You will see hints of worse to come.”

Now Any Government Can Buy China’s Tools for Censoring the Internet, via @GideonRo

U.S. officials focus on China’s ability to use its infrastructure investments in other countries to extend its spying capabilities. But the bigger problem is that China is successfully exporting to weak states the ability to build and sustain autocracy. That makes those countries unsafe for their own people, and the world less safe for all of us. The U.S. response is so deeply based in a hawkish, “new Cold War” stance that it can’t see that this isn’t a zero-sum game between China and the U.S., but a battle for hearts and minds literally everywhere else. While the U.S. is furiously locking China out of infrastructure and contemplating export bans on cutting edge technology like quantum computing, China is selling not just its kit, not just its services, but its whole model of “how to internet” to the rest of the world. And the rest of the world is buying it.

Thread by @AlexStubb former Prime Minister of Finland

“Thank you for your kind remarks regarding my earlier tweet about Finland’s new government composition. What strikes me is that many are ‘surprised’ that someone from an ‘opposition party’ expresses positive views about an ‘ideologically’ different government.

Perhaps it is all about expectations. Somehow we think that politics should be all about slamming those who are not in our party or have a different opinion about a specific issue. This is naturally fed by politicians and the media. Spurred on by social media.

I find this kind of thinking somewhat old fashioned. Perhaps it is because I came into politics rather late. I joined my party at the age of 36 and left executive national politics at the age of 49. While in office I often felt uncomfortable with party politics.

Yes, you can call me naive. But for me the calling was always beyond the party. It was essentially about values and getting things done. The order was simple: values, country, continent, world and party. I also feel strongly that we have moved to an era of post-ideology.

To simplify: fascism died in 1945; communism died in 1989; capitalism was rebooted in 2008; and democracy seems to be in transition since 2016. One way to put it: Ideology is dead, long live identity! I am not sure this is a good thing, but it seems to be the trend.

Technological innovations have made the world, at least virtually, smaller. And what has been our reaction? A paradox. Instead of going global, many have gone local and native. Public discourse has become harsher. Tolerance of other opinions abysmal.

If this is the case, then we should rethink the way in which parties and democratic institutions are run. The world is more complex. We do not anymore vote on the basis of ideology. The focus is rather on issues and identity, sometimes one, often many.

I think that party-based bashing is counterproductive to constructive democratic discourse. It is only the hard core party faithful who seem to get kicks out of putting down other political parties. Voters often find this type of behaviour unpleasant, and rightly so.

The problem is that democracy is by definition slow, messy and cumbersome. Today demands on democracy, driven by modern means of communication, are different. The pace is fast. Decisions have to be made quickly. Time for reflection and compromise is limited.

Yes, we have different opinions, but this does not mean that democracy should be about bashing opponents. A good starting point is to go back to basics: cordial and civil behaviour, respect for each other. So, with these words I want to wish the new government good luck.”

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