Blog, Commentary

Massively Open Online Glass Ceilings

I got into an argument with someone on Twitter today about the future of education.

You thought I would be productive and focused and not randomly angry at random people just because I’m not blogging regularly anymore? Ha ha, PSYCHE.

The conversation was with someone who’s a major enough voice in the tech community to have a 6-digit follower-count on Twitter. The tweets that I saw were in response to the news about Harvard and MIT putting massive amounts of resources into making their curriculum available online, for free, and how surely this would be the solution to all of our education problems! After all, Udacity and EdX and Khan Academy exist! So if you still don’t have education, well, I mean, really that’s just your own fault.

This is endemic of a certain type of pseudo-libertarian techno-utopianism that I’ve been seeing cropping up more and more, especially in discussions of why it doesn’t matter that postal service and library funding are being slashed across the board because email and Wikipedia. And it’s really tiresome.

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Blog, Commentary

The death of the liberal class

Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges:

The presidential election exposed the liberal class as a corpse. It fights for nothing. It stands for nothing. It is a useless appendage to the corporate state. It exists not to make possible incremental or piecemeal reform, as it originally did in a functional capitalist democracy; instead it has devolved into an instrument of personal vanity, burnishing the hollow morality of its adherents. Liberals, by voting for Barack Obama, betrayed the core values they use to define themselves—the rule of law, the safeguarding of civil liberties, the protection of unions, the preservation of social welfare programs, environmental accords, financial regulation, a defiance of unjust war and torture, and the abolition of drone wars. The liberal class clung desperately during the long nightmare of this political campaign to one or two issues, such as protecting a woman’s right to choose and gender equality, to justify its complicity in a monstrous evil. This moral fragmentation—using an isolated act of justice to define one’s self while ignoring the vast corporate assault on the nation and the ecosystem along with the pre-emptive violence of the imperial state—is moral and political capitulation. It fails to confront the evil we have become.

Hey Chris, big fan of your easy moral outrage. Sure am glad you told me what my core values are, because I totally don’t remember where I’d put that post-it note. I was wondering if you could also explain to me how not voting for Obama would have made the country believe in climate change and support the impoverished class and care about drone warfare? I mean, I assume you had a progression of logic here somewhere beyond RADICALISM LOL and YOU ARE BAD PEOPLE FOR CARING ABOUT THINGS I DON’T CARE ABOUT LIKE GENDER EQUALITY.

But, gosh, how petty of me to worry about personal autonomy and access to health care when there’s, like, so much pain in the world, dude. Queer people and visible minorities, I’m looking at you, too. The right to visit a dying spouse in the hospital or not be systematically profiled and disenfranchised by your government? Pfft. We should have thrown our support at a marginal idealist who won’t make it into office and sleep easy knowing that even though our rights are being curtailed on a daily basis, at least we had PRINCIPLES. How silly of us to care about our status as second-class citizens when we could have given up what little political capital we have in favour of a magical promise of a better future for our kids’ kids, one day, maybe, if they’re white and male and straight.

I know you’re really concerned about how Palestine is treated by the rest of the world, and I think it’s really admirable that you’re willing to leave its fate to a warmongering theocrat who thinks that Palestinians are to blame for their own poverty, all for the sake of TAKING A STAND. Hey, it’s gotta worse before it gets better, and whatever gets the American Liberal Sheeple to WAKE  UP, amirite?

But it’s okay, I get it, you’ve got a book to sell. I hope the profits arising from your crocodile tears about being the Last True Progressive In The Global North are going to those poor people living on $2 a day that you grew to cherish so much when you severed yourself from the American Myth, lol. I’m real sorry all of us hollow-moralled posers have let you down.

Good talk.[hr]

This rant was brought to you by the number 23rd hour at work and the letter ughhhhhhhhhh.

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