OK, that northeast arrow seems to point the wrong way to really make this a "circle". But:
Martin Gurri notes a modern usage: Disinformation Is the Word I Use When I Want You To Shut Up.
While your back was turned, the federal government erected a convoluted apparatus of control for what you can say and see online. They did this, we are told, to protect us. Protect us from what, you ask? Well, mostly from ourselves, but also from a threat that makes nuclear annihilation feel like a pinprick by comparison: disinformation. Also misinformation and malinformation—the latter defined as “bits of actual reality we totally object to.”
But disinformation is the big dog. And by “disinformation,” they mean the web. And by the web, they mean, of course, you—but I already said that.
I have written long, deeply researched tracts about the technical aspects of disinformation. Why did I bother? Nobody cares. Disinformation is just a jargon word with a subliminal meaning, thrown out by the mighty of the earth whenever they worry that they are about to lose an argument—something that happens with painful regularity these days. The word means, “Shut up, peasant.” It’s a bullet aimed at killing the conversation. It’s loaded with hostility to reason, evidence, debate and all the stuff that makes our democracy great.
Our Eye Candy du Jour is from Gurri's article.
Jeff Maurer reposts something he wrote back in April 2022 in response to a different event: The Brooklyn Subway Shooting Does Not Confirm Your Priors.
There’s a perverted symmetry to how we respond to high-profile horrific events. Conservatives use terrorist attacks to justify tighter immigration controls and — if they’re feeling saucy — the occasional all-out war. Liberals use mass shootings to push for gun control and to further the delusion that America has basically been a nonstop Klan rally for the past 400 years. The current suspect in the Brooklyn subway shooting is a Black guy who posted YouTube rants about racism and violence, so: advantage conservatives. Some of them will certainly try to cram this into a “Look what Black Lives Matter hath wrought” narrative. As if the guy drove directly from an activist teach-in to the shooting.
Our habit of tying emotionally charged events to pre-existing hobby horses and pushing for action on that basis is fucked up. It raises the question: Who’s really insane here? Is it the guy shooting random civilians, or the rest of us? And, uh…you know what: It is still the guy shooting random civilians. He is definitely the insane one, hands down. But the rest of us aren’t exactly covering ourselves in glory. Highly visible, tragic events are ripe for political exploitation and are often the catalyst for bad decision-making. We should try to recognize the pattern and break it.
Of course, there's a local angle, as reported by
CommieNew Hampshire Public Radio: UNH Law students protest ‘transphobic’ messages by campus group.
Students at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law walked out of class Wednesday, protesting what they called the administration’s failure to act on complaints about two campus groups they say are spreading anti-trans hate.
The afternoon rally outside the law school drew more than 100 faculty and students, many holding signs and chanting “UNH! Stand against hate!”
The walkout was sparked by an email that a student group, the Christian Legal Society, sent to the student body Tuesday about this week’s deadly shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville.
In the email — ostensibly an invitation to a vigil for the victims planned for Wednesday evening — the group claimed the push for trans rights has fueled anti-Christian hate and suggested trans rights advocates bear some responsibility for the shooting. (Law enforcement authorities have yet to publicly identify the shooter’s motive.)
“Tragically, this incident comes after a barrage of rhetoric demonizing Christians and anyone perceived to oppose the ontological premises of transgenderism,” the email states, adding that activists, journalists and others have “fueled this hate and paranoia” against “anyone who opposes the trans agenda.”
More at the link. I can't find the entire email message NHPR quotes, but it's nice that both sides are claiming to be against "hate". And there are (of course) assertions about how "people feel less safe on campus."
Which refers to that long-lost invisible-ink codicil to the First Amendment: "except if such speech makes people feel less safe."
We previously looked at UNH Law's iffy relationship with the First Amandment back in December 2022 when there was a controversy about the "Free Exercise Coalition" and their battle to be recognized as an official student organization.
Apparently that battle was won, because now the demonstrating students want it to be de-recongized.
All participants might benefit from reading Jeff Maurer.
I got a chuckle from the article's quote of University Near Here's Official Spokesmodel:
In a statement Wednesday night, Erika Mantz, UNH’s executive director for media relations, said the university is “stridently committed to the free and open exchange of ideas.”
Senator Joe Manchin says (essentially) "Sorry I was such a sucker.": Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act Betrayal.
America is fast approaching another needless emergency—the raising of the national debt ceiling. This impending crisis isn’t an accident but a result of the inaction of various actors who refuse to confront fiscal reality, sit down, negotiate and make hard decisions for the sake of our nation’s future. While all parties have a responsibility to negotiate in good faith, recent actions make clear to me that the Biden administration is determined to pursue an ideological agenda rather than confront the clear and present danger that debts and deficits pose to our nation.
Our national debt stands at nearly $31.5 trillion, or close to $95,000 for every man, woman and child, and represents 120% of our gross domestic product. Annual budgetary deficits have averaged $2.71 trillion since October 2019. Since Covid-19 began, we have added more than $8 trillion to the national debt. Despite explicit direction from Congress to pay down our debt in the Inflation Reduction Act, the administration seems more determined than ever to pervert that law and abuse existing authorities to increase spending.
Of course, Joe's feeling a little rueful. The "Inflation Reduction Act" would not have passed if he'd voted against it. Charles C. W. Cooke speaks for us all when he says: Spare Me, Joe Manchin.
Oh spare me, Joe. Is President Biden doing all of these things? Yes, of course he is. Biden has been an absolute disaster for separation of powers from the moment he took office, and, despite repeatedly losing in court, he has showed no signs of slowing down. But Manchin knew all that before he inexplicably reversed himself and signed on to this bill. That the architects of this law had no interest in reducing inflation, paying down the debt, or protecting American energy security was extremely obvious to everyone involved from the start. Both before and after it was passed, it was described by its advocates as a “climate bill.” Who does Manchin think he’s kidding?
He should probably realize he was kidding himself.
Noah Rothman suspects hidden motives in the open-letter demand for an AI "pause" that we discussed yesterday: AI Apocalypticism Is a Thinly Veiled Fund-Raising Pitch.
The letter proposes a six-month moratorium on “the training of AI systems,” and it describes some alarming scenarios that could be in store for us if their warnings are ignored.
Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth? Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones? Should we develop nonhuman minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us? Should we risk loss of control of our civilization? Such decisions must not be delegated to unelected tech leaders.
Given the quasi-governmental powers arrogated and jealously stewarded by the tech industry over the years, the long-overdue deference that the last sentence offers to elected lawmakers is welcome. That impulse becomes somewhat less laudable when the reader realizes that it serves only to grease the skids for a variety of fund-raising solicitations.
Well, I for one welcome information channels flooded with propaganda and untruth. Humans are underproducing in that area.