Social media, Voter Complexity, Anger & Democracy 4 January 6, 2020 cliffski I went to see a production of snow white recently (long story). Anyway, it was good, innovative, at times very funny & very cleverly done. It was also THE MOST WOKE PERFORMANCE ever. I could write an entire book about how woke it was, but suffice to say one of the dwarfs had to be sedated at one point because they temporarily ‘lost their mind’ and talked about building a wall, and keeping out immigrants. There was a lot of talk about recycling, carbon-neutrality, organic tea, the patriarchy, gender-roles, body image and so on. Did I mention this was snow white? Naturally the dwarves didn’t do any mining, which I guess was against their eco-agenda. Now I AM a massive environmentalist, and should have found it very funny, and loved all that, and I’m a remain voter so should have loved the jibes at Boris Johnson and leave voters and brexiteers etc…but it was a little bit painful in places to watch it happen. Don’t worry, I will relate this to democracy 4! (Some environmentally irresponsible dwarfs) The problem is, the writers had obviously 100% decided that the audience would TOTALLY agree with them on every issue they mentioned. If you were a brexit-supporter, or a conservative, or against gay marriage, or a conservative, or not 100% into identity politics, you would have hated it, but its fine because they KNEW that people can be basically stuck into two camps now: The liberal, bearded eco-warrior socialist europhile pansexual feminist…and everyone else (who are *bad* people). Their view of the world is a venn diagram where two circles do not even touch. This is nonsense. The real world is more complex. You do NOT have to *pick a side* and stick to it. You can absolutely pick and choose. Here are some of my own very mixed-bag beliefs and causes: I support a 100% inheritance tax (in theory), I support a slightly higher top rate tax. I support limits on immigration, I support staying in the EU. I’m 100% an environmentalist. I’m a feminist but have mixed views on positive discrimination. I am against the death penalty, but have no strong view on fox hunting. I’m for electoral reform, proportional representation, Higher salaries for MPs, against a higher-minimum wage, against rent-controls, pro-choice, pro-legalizing marijuana, pro-sugar tax, anti-gun ownership and so on… I’m all over the place. I’m 100% environmentalist, 75% liberal (less identity politics please), 25% motorist, 90% capitalist, 65% retired, 5% Young, 1% ethnic minority (ancestors were gypsies apparently), and so on… We represent the way people are all-over-the-place in Democracy 4 in the focus groups like this: (BTW that is another shot of ‘dark mode’ which some people prefer, still a work in progress…) My point is, that people are complex. There are not just two camps…or at least there never USED to be just two camps, but we are moving that way. In the US, people seem to increasingly be Woke/Liberal/Democrats OR Trump-supporters. You basically have to pick a side. In the UK we are either remainers or brexiteers…pick a side! And this is silly. NOTHING about environmentalism makes it a socialist position. NOTHING about animal cruelty is left or right wing. NOTHING about brexit or patriotism, or feminism is left or right wing. Its only a recent phenomena that has taken every issue and tried to polarize it and stuff it into these two violently opposed camps. I honestly do blame social media. People have become so used to picking and choosing ‘the news thats right for you’, that they are increasingly only fed what they want to hear. If you are a fiscal conservative, you are on the ‘anti-environment’ side, so you get fed FUD and nonsense on the topic, even though in many ways conserving natural resources, increasing energy efficiency, and investing in fuel sources that are free is a very fiscal-conservative point of view. (Famous right wing prime minister Margaret Thatcher in her pro-EU sweater) Similarly if you are left wing in the UK, you get fed an exclusively pro-EU agenda, even though there is no real link there. Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn was passionately opposed to the EU his whole life, and it was seen as a tool of neoliberalism by the hard left, until everyone was told to pick a side, and the capitalists had already claimed anti-EU… Anyone who thinks you can not be a patriotic socialist or a fiscally conservative environmentalist or a right wing feminist has bought into this stuff. Social media is making it WAY WAY worse. The whole design of social media is to make us all ARGUE and FIGHT and oppose the ‘other side’. Its corrosive. FFS stop encouraging it. In the last 28 days I did 90 Tweets. That number used be around 300. I’m going to aim for it to be maybe 4 or 5, which will be just links to this blog. Social media is tearing communities apart and forcing everybody to be argumentative and abusive. And like I said before, this is all to make a handful of straight white male American billionaires richer.