I wish I could recall the name of the slow talking wild-eyed professor who lectured about Mr. Stalin’s desire to have the history of the Soviet Union modified. The tendency was evident early in his career. Ioseb Besarionis dz? Jughashvili became Stalin, so fiddling with received wisdom verified by Ivory Tower types should come as no surprise.
Now we have Google and the right to be forgotten. As awkward as deleting pointers to content may be, digital information invites “reeducation”.
I learned in “Twitter to Appoint Representative to Turkey” that the extremely positive social media outfit will interact with the country’s government. The idea is to make sure content is just A-Okay. Changing tweets for money is a pretty good idea. Even better is coordinating the filtering of information with a nation state is another. But Apple and China seem to be finding a path forward. Maybe Apple in Russia will be a similar success.
Two years ago I served 12 months in Iraq as a Foreign Service Officer, leading a Provincial Reconstruction Team. I had been with the State Department for some 21 years at that point, serving mostly in Asia, but after what I saw in the desert — the waste, the lack of guidance, the failure to really do anything positive for the country we had invaded in 2003 — I started writing a book. One year ago I followed the required procedures with State for preclearance (no classified documents, that sort of thing), received clearance, and found a publisher. Six months ago the publisher asked me to start a blog to support the book.
And then, toward the end of the summer, the wrath of Mesopotamia fell on me.
Drawing on the Open Society Foundations’ research into the worldwide impact of new and digital media, this forum will discuss the role that these evolving forms of media can play in the development and strengthening of democratic societies.
The discussion will consider questions such as:
Who owns today’s media? Is ownership concentration harmful to diversity—or essential for creativity in a globalized marketplace?
How can digital media help or harm public interest journalism?
Is editorial independence being strengthened or undermined?
Is the freedom of online media undermined by new gatekeepers?
How are citizens responding? Is digital media increasing activism and participation? Or is it overwhelming and numbing people with a cascade of ever-more information?
What is the overall impact of these changes and issues on democracy?
With panelists from Morocco, Spain, and the United States, this event promises international insights into a global issue.
Reasoning by analogy is powerful, but dangerous for of thinking. Einstein, for example, showed how reasoning by analogy can unleash stunning insights , but only when properly tempered by critical observation, testing, and systematic analysis, can analogical insights lead to brilliant syntheses that literally change our view of reality.
But that benefit comes with a heavy price, because this kind of reasoning is also a very dangerous way to think. Analogies can capture the imagination and thereby bias the Orientation of less disciplined thinkers and decision makers to distort and twist their Observations into a vision of reality the Observer/Decision Maker wants to see. In so doing, the distorted Orientation takes decision maker off the cliff by disconnecting his Actions from the real world. And … for every Einstein with a highly disciplined Observation – Orientation – Decision Action loop, there are thousands of crackpots, nutcases, and charlatans trying to sell their visions of “what is” to sell their pre-concieved views of appropriate decisions and actions of action.
In the below essay, Richard Falk offers a good example of reasoning by analogy done properly. He carefully crafts and explains a limited set of parallels between the January 1968 Tet Offensive in Viet Nam to Obama’s dilemma in Afghanistan. CS