Culture is the evolving software of human society. History is its essential version control.

Reese Macbeth (Culture Euthanasia, 2015)

“Rhetoric is an egocentric rubric homiletic, a hermetic critic-antithetic arithmetic of generic academic splenetic mimetic delivered by a magnetic energetic cleric as cosmetic epistemic polemic.

@MertonFuton We hear social media is bad for kids. We’re told it’s turning society tribal and pushing the tribes into extremism. Why then, if that’s the case, are young adults – supposedly the most susceptible, the most immersed in a social media world – the ones calling for a society that cares for its citizens and urging all human beings to work together to save the planet?

Compare this to the elderly, with all their historical advantages, the savings they’ve hoarded and a life experience that should’ve laid bare the tricks and dodges of the political classes.

The elderly choose to build walls to building communities. The elderly vote isolation over inclusion, conservative over progressive, and, when given the chance to pick the best leaders for society’s future, vote to empower luddite demagogues preaching messages of 21st-century fascism? What’s more, it’s the elderly whose voting is so cynical and self-serving the prospect of universal rights to healthcare and education are reasons to mistrust and often outright deride.

Seems the less the exposure to social media and the more limited the access to a plurality of media, the more prone to tribal extremism. No surprise this isn’t a truth given airtime by the mainstream media.

There’s a world of difference between tweeting and talking (verbally, in text, whichever). People often think the difference is in the content i.e. tweets are short, sharp soundbites whereas talking is open-ended, detailed and more like natural speech.

But maybe the difference between talking and tweeting in the intention. Talking is a mutual hope, reaching out to other human beings. Talking includes an expectation of interaction. Talking is personal. Tweeting is a word graffiti, reaching out to public spaces, a self-interested isolated form of expression. Tweeting excludes the expectation of interaction. Tweeting is impersonal. Tweets don’t need to respond to anyone’s reply.

@BDSixsmith When people like Sir Philip Pullman call Britain a “foul country” it represents the leafiest, most comfortable kind of parochialism.

@sterileprom In different times, an old respected writer like Philip Pullman might’ve been able to play the role of literary social butterfly without it being distasteful. He probably perceives himself as embodying a benign, comfortable England; a great seafaring nation that’s renowned the world over for being civilized, discerning and quite reasonably top of the tree.

But this is 2020. England is not what it was. The lie of its global image has been exposed. Pullman’s smug paternalism is offensive. Doubly so because his ilk – his educated, entrenched middle class – had the power to do good and chose not to stand up when it mattered. Time and time again, this wealthiest of demographics declined to act against economic and cultural tyranny.

Brexit and the degradation of the British electorate are merely the latest in a long list of consequences for the English middle-class’s smug passivity. Its wealth and influence are nowadays being plundered at such a rate, there may be no avuncular Philip Pullmans left in a few generations. Few will mourn their passing.

Little soundbite terms like “go figure?” get used by so many intelligent people, unable to escape the self-satisfied rhetoric trap (e.g. their tweet) but – without saying it – choose to be unable or unwilling to reach out in a personal sense, to communicate with and possibly persuade the contrarian outgroup individual (e.g. MAGA hats, Brexiteers). Do they ever really try? They know it will be difficult, mostly thankless and often disdained. Intelligent people, anticipating this powerful rebuttal, dig their heels in and choose to deride the opposing demographic, mockery being safer and easier than engagement.

@Anna_Soubry Most striking take away from today’s [February 2020] #reshuffle [British government cabinet] is #Johnson‘s [Boris Johnson, British PM] barefaced hypocrisy. When he was Foreign Sec he did, said & wrote exactly what he wanted. Now he’s finally got his paws on the top job he demands from every Minister the one thing he’s never had – loyalty.

@STERILEPROM Authoritarians like Boris appeal to the worst instincts of the target demographic, whatever is needed to win power, with no respect for continuity or truth if the gain outweighs the risk of future harm. This thinking defeats moderate conventions not because it’s inherently hypocritical but because it’s playing a different game altogether.

@STERILEPROM Until opponents face this new paradigm, wily populists with good public relations teams will continue to win elections. These elections are, after all, simply popularity contests. One man one vote. Judging on merit as a voting criteria is 100% optional.

“Human culture is the complex software that’s transformed us from short-lived hunter-gatherers. But it’s never perfect. History is our software’s essential version control.”

@peoplesvoteUK We will march with up to a million people, to bring our message to the heart of government. We will present this online petition with over 6 million signatories. We will call for a second referendum. We must be allowed to vote on the Brexit deal, with an option to remain. Come one, come all, come join us this weekend. We’ll give the Tory government our ultimatum together, united!

@JohnWest_JAWS The Government will try to pretend there is no real wish for us to be in the EU. We must challenge this lie. Margaret, of the 6.1m petition, has launched this new one. People, we need EVERYONE to sign. This HAS to be the biggest petition in history.

@sterileprom Another petition? Then maybe yet another jolly march through wide cafe-lined streets in central London? It’ll be a lovely day out I’m sure but it’s a vanity project celebrating middle class diversity and not a call to the plurality of voters (working-class included). Look; until the educated, well-meaning middle class get off their arses and personally engage the Brexit-supporting voter base in their segregated communities, there’ll be no change to government policy OR misguided voting demographics along lines of class.

Progressive “Remainer” Engaging Reactionary “Leavers” in the UK over Brexit

@Femi_Sorry We [the liberals and the progressives] weren’t polite ENOUGH. We allowed the narrative that Remainers are calling all Leavers stupid to thrive. Remainers weren’t EU experts any more than Leavers. Our job was to call out stupid arguments WHILE respecting Leave voters, e.g. an argument that a $17.5 trillion economy of 500 million people needs a $2.5 trillion economy of 65 million people more than the reverse is an objectively stupid one. But very few people heard it put that way. Only extreme nationalists would buy that.

@sterileprom Remain (and the Labour Party) lost because they spent all their time communicating en masse, like proclamation to an audience rather than conversation with individuals. This condescension quickly becomes dehumanizing. Why should the liberal opinion presume an authority that deserves the metaphorical podium? The majority, not yet decided about how they felt about Brexit, was alienated and never recovered. Tribalism developed and it was perpetuated rather than countered by disrespectful patrician conceit!

Half the battle against extremism is lost if you allow it to flourish unchecked; and checking it can’t be done without communicating one to one, human to human. @Femi_Sorry had a feel for this – he made a point of getting out and debating Brexit voters direct – but even this was part-performance. Nobody progressive ever tried to engage the moderates, leaving a void the populist right-wing quickly exploited as an opportunity for profit and power.


@MertonFuton What fun it is to be a voyeur on someone else’s fall from grace! Comment. Pray for. Criticize. Joke. Hate. Sympathize. Mock. Gossip. Rubberneck. Preach. Doesn’t matter which you do, it’s all the same. It’s nothing. Anyone cares enough about mental illness (or this drug-addled basketball player) should find the call of conscience simple: go find the guy (or 500,000 like him in the United States). Shake him by the hand, when you’ve found him. Helping him, in a real life way, begins and ends with personal contact. Everything else is either virtue-signaling or sententious trolling, however pretty you think you’re spinning it.

@Andrew_Adonis Cummings & Corbyn are the twin evils of modern British politics. The sooner they are both history the better Let’s get back to sensible social democracy

@sterileprom Twin evils? But Johnson and Cummings are two sides of the same Thatcherite sociopath coin. The REAL other evil, if we genuinely want to course correct, is middle-class disconnection. Maybe it was ever thus. But newly embedded or fanning the embers of past xenophobia, populism always fills the vacuum left by middle-class retrenchment. The biggest failure of sensible social democracy was its failure to stay connected with the whole of society and it looks like nothing has been learned from the past 10 years of Conservative austerity.

If you abandon the lower classes to their ghettos, don’t be surprised when the demagogues hired by big money corporate interests find a way to mobilize them into a source of power and profit.

Trump’s MAGA blue-collar supporter base spells out the consequences of disconnection in letters that should be visible on both sides of the Atlantic.



#2 was selected for the challenge entry. It’s not perfect. Any suggestions for improvement would be welcome!

  1. Reality is an objective aspiration to see the world as it is, subjectivity held to account by science. It is the distillation through the scientific method of the observed, experienced environment – from the proximately tangible all the way to universal conditions – separating the erroneous white noise of bias, habit, ephemera and error from those persistent peer-reviewed conclusions that most accurately codify the diverse crucible of existence.
  2. Reality is the distillation of observed experience using the scientific method to winnow the erroneous white noise of cognitive dissonance, bias, presumption, subjective distortions and imperfect memory – so as to most accurately codify, without objective evidential contradiction, the persistent conditions of macrolimbic existence.

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