AMERICAN MANIFESTO

I just finished reading “American Manifesto: Saving Democracy from Villains, Vandals, and Ourselves” by Bob Garfield. Garfield is a lifetime journalist. As such, the story is from the perspective of a journalist, largely chronicling how the evolution of journalism and the internet have affected our lives. One of the points or theories he makes is a large portion of the problems we face is the result of increasing identity of various groups and belonging to them. It doesn’t matter what the group is: LGBTQ+, Jewish, BLM, Feminist, or any other. This has grown because of the growth of the internet. What this does is make it easier for people not a member of the group to blame the group for any perceived problem. This increases the polarization of the country. This tendency is exacerbated by the business practices of companies like Facebook (META) and Google.

Various legislation might help with this, but it is a problem that will be with us for a long time. This works both ways. The left and right are each more likely to see the other as the root of their problem. I can see some of this in my own thinking. None of us are immune.

At the end, he tries to give some solutions to the problems. I see his solutions as weak. We need strong, well thought solutions. Unfortunately, we are asking the problem to self-correct. I don’t see that happening soon. There is too much money involved in the internet and the solutions would call for restructuring some of that. Other things need to happen first. We have a classic cart and horse problem.

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