Monday, June 03, 2019

"The Revolution that Wasn't" argues that Internet technology really has benefited conservatives



Sean Illing of Vox interviews Jen Schradie discussing her book “The Revolution that Wasn’t: How Digital Activism Favors Conservatives”, from Harvard University Press, 416 pages.  This title contradicts the recent complaints about big Tech deplatforming conservatives, but in previous years algorithms tended to favor them. 

While tracing the effect of the Internet, through the Arab Spring in 2011 through the recent abuse of Facebook echo chambers by dictators overseas and election meddling, she notes that conservatives tend to have simpler, more principled ideas that they want to promote, and social media – blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc – does that better than advancing group cohesion and solidarity needed by the Left.


As an individual speaker, I tend to agree.  I resist being asked to give my time to groups with identarian priorities (and I am often quizzed about this).   Group goals seem to derive from tribalism, loyalty and combativeness and resist abstract intellectual principles for conduct.  Yet you could say that the Equality Act sounds principled – except that the people being protected are so diverse psychologically that you can’t really group them as a protected class easily anymore.  You could say that both sides of the abortion debate have a principled core concept.

She says that conservatives are more likely to have hierarchal structures in place.  No so true of libertarian conservatives.  And social conservatives may sound principles (like in the Reagan area) or identarian (the split-off of the ethno-alt-right and populism).

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