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I'm delighted to be able to bring you an excerpt of Michael Shellenberger's new book: San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities this week. The excerpt chosen discusses the history of the anti-psychiatry movement in the United States, and how it has contributed to the homelessness crisis that California experiences today.
In this newsletter, we also have a confronting piece from Aaron Sarin about historical and contemporary oppression in Tibet.
And for a change of gears, Quillette senior editor Jamie Palmer wrote about one of his favourite horror films for Halloween.
Below you will find that a comment from the Quillette Circle has been selected as "comment of the week." If you aren't already a subscriber, subscriptions to the Quillette Circle cost $US5 per month, and are separate from subscriptions to the Quillette newsletter. This allows us to maintain the software that the forum runs on, and respond to queries and requests when they come through. Members of the Quillette Circle are also able to post their own threads and ideas for group discussion. If you would like to join, you can do so here.
I trust you will enjoy this week's roundup.
Politics and World Affairs
Media and Journalism
Quillette Circle Comment of the Week
I think the issue here is one of values, and whether social media should have “global” values (whatever those are), or the dominant values of the host country.
Ideas which are in considered relatively innocuous in one country would be considered radical and inciting violence in another. And vice versa. Let us imagine for example a young woman posting that she could not decide between a humanities and science degree; in Australia this would not occasion any indignation whatsoever, but if she were posting from some northern part of Pakistan, this would be considered provocative. Likewise Falun Gong, and so on.
And so, if social media is to censor what is inoffensive in one country, but provocative in another, it will be considered to impinge on free speech by one country, and keeping things peaceful in the other. And if it decides not to censor, it will be promoting free speech in one, and inciting insurrection in another.
Thus, a global social media can only really work if there are global values. And of course we do not have global values. If each country or region is to retain its own values, it must have its own social media. If social media is global, then there will inevitably be censorship and clashes online, which can only end in one region’s values becoming global, or in violent insurrections in various regions.
Facebook and other Western social media in the 2000-2015 period promoted global values, thus their leading place in the Arab Spring and so on. Which is to say, people like Mark Zuckerberg had a role in causing conflicts which have killed and displaced millions of people. But when from 2016 onwards social media started to have a role in creating conflicts in the home countries of the controllers of the social media, all of a sudden they became concerned, and not so fond of globalising values of free speech etc.
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