A very interesting analysis by Michael Smerconish of CNN talking about American radio show host and far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones; and here is one of his rants to get some context going. While I agree with Michael on his views about Alex Jones, he seems to be missing a cardinal point in this conversation which is this; Self-Regulation whether it relates to politics, media platforms or even industry as is the case with the Boeing/FAA fiasco – clip below – is undermining our governance model, our security and social cohesion as a society. In the past world wars began by assassinations or occupations, now there is yet another tool that has the capacity of triggering major internal/external conflicts throughout the world which is “disinformation”; a concept that has been largely due to the failure of self-regulation on both ends of the media pipeline.
This all points to a small but compelling fact which is this; Our current Democratic model has been stale for far too long and now needs to evolve to be able to face up to new challenges including the urgent update of our penal system to include new forms of crime – and perhaps also to take stock of new opportunities – otherwise it will likely be transformed into something quite different from traditional governance models and one that will probably be beyond our control. You need look no further than the United States itself with its so-called system of checks/balances and yet you have a president with very little if anything in the way of skills/values, a family run White Houses where achievements that are counted by the number of executive orders & foreign policy decision you sign on rather than by the long term solutions you bring, gerrymandering, a Supreme Court that demonstrates political allegiances, and a political/economic eco system driven in the main by Lobbyists/Special Interests groups and I could go on. So the suggestion from this end – which applies equally to us here in the UK with the exhausting/humiliating BREXIT saga – is that we need to stop bragging about our Democratic credentials and instead focus on ensuring our Democracy is allowed to evolve in a systematic way independent of the politics of the day. We also need to STOP bragging about how unique/special we are because taken to extremes this plays well into the nationalist ideology – remember there is a thin line between patriotism and chauvinism, xenophobia and isolationism.
The main take away is that we cannot entirely blame extremist ideologues nor people who are more into – NOT “abusing” but rather “using” an already broken system – for personal gain than having any genuine ideology. By being complacent in allowing this situation to occur in the first place over decades of neglect makes us equally responsible for this major vulnerability from within.