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Poch Peralta

Freelance Writer / Blogger,

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Is Technology stopping or abetting political apathy? Can we beat political apathy with technology?

Beating Politics with Technology
Peter Sunde thinks Bitcoin is "interesting" and has a fascinating story behind it, but one that he feels is symbolic of a depressing widespread lack of trust in politics.

'"You can't beat politics with new technology all the time. Sometimes you have to actually make sure that politics are in line with what people want. A lot of people are giving up on politics and thinking they can solve issues with technology. These kind of arrogant behaviours towards the rest of the society are a bit disgusting," Sunde told Wired.co.uk in a Skype interview...'
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-11/18/peter-sunde-hemlis-political-apathy

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  • Dec 2 2013: I don't think technology per se is the cure. I think our education system is.

    During our path through school/college we teach nothing formally about the responsibilities of citizenship and how to effect change within our goverments. Is it any wonder once people leave the education system that people feel completely disconnected from government and focus only on their careers and families?

    Civilisation is so precious, and secular government is so key to maintaining it, and yet we treat politics as some niche interest/subject, that only the focussed few will study or work in. And we wonder why politics is so uninspiring?

    Make it a part of the fabric of society, not an alternate tv soap for grownups. Teach citizenship and its responsibilities in school, along with political concepts.

    Politics is "us", but if we're not actively involving and educating our children about it then we will carry on going round in circles.

    We ALWAYS end up with the leaders we deserve, and if we are so apathetic in enthusing and empowering our children about politics, then the leaders we deserve will be the fruit of our apathy. And that's a gamble and a half in my opinion.
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      Dec 2 2013: 'I don't think technology per se is the cure. I think our education system is.'

      Someone has suggested this before Nikos. But not as lucid as you did so
      I think you have convinced me. Some activists claim that even education is
      being manipulated by the government (Dumbing of America). If that is so,
      how much chance your excellent idea of educating children about political
      apathy would have?
      • Dec 2 2013: I agree the idea of improving the educating of our youth on participation in politics has merit and also think some now in politics will want to hold it back, benefiting from ignorance and apathy in the electorate. What if someone set up a system for people to suggest online topics for the President to comment on and had him respond to the top three each week? Could we convince lawmakers to mandate the President address our concerns for thirty minutes a week? I'd ask him about the TPP, the top secret Trans Pacific Partnership "free trade" deal he wants to enact without Senate approval via Fast Track and see him squirm around that one with a politician's favorite tool, shall we say misleading words. Anyway, perhaps as middle class suffering increases, more people will be willing to demand something better from those we elect. There are so many huge problems, money in politics and lack of choice with only two parties to name a couple.
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          Dec 2 2013: Right Philip. Most hardcore activists are blasting that
          TPP proposal. It just hit me that there are indeed only
          2 major parties feasting on the elections forever and it
          seems a mystery how that came and continues to be!
      • Dec 3 2013: Education doesn't need to be manipulated to create an apathetic populace. It only needs to be turned over to popular control.
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          Dec 3 2013: If that's the case, then we must fight popular control
          too right? Thanks Bryan.
      • Dec 3 2013: Ah, but that's the rub--central direction might not result in apathy, but it does facilitate totalitarianism, while popular control makes totalitarianism very difficult to implement.
      • Dec 3 2013: Hi Poch, sorry for not replying sooner, but thank you for starting a great conversation. I would like to reply to your question.

        Technology is an "enabler", a tool, nothing more. But it interfaces with all levels of society, and all aspects of it. As such it empowers everyone, not just the Government, if we only possess the will to use it (technology). Technology is a double edged sword, the same power it has to control can be used to liberate.

        So, to your question, I would reply that my answer remains the same. Regardless of who is "controlling" education, in any country, the answer to political apathy is still education. If education is corrupt, then that must be fought, with technology or without it, but fought regardless. Same for any institution that has issues. Technology could make that struggle easier on both sides.

        Technology is a tool though. With or without it, we still have to solve our societies issues. That responsibility remains, as do we. We deny our responsibilities at our peril.

        The universe does not care and will not catch us. Some find that depressing, but I find it gives me a sharper sense of value in our time and place in the universe. We may be alone in many ways, but that just makes what we have and who we are more precious and worth taking seriously.

        If we stop assuming we have many lives, or even an afterlife, and start treating this life, and our society, as the fragile flame that it is, and make our global culture reflect that, I believe a lot of things will become easier to prioritise.

        Education may be a lifelong journey, but it starts in childhood, and some ideas are too important to leave to adulthood and chance to teach. Its irresponsible to assume we have time, and chances, on our side.
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          Dec 3 2013: 'If we stop assuming we have many lives, or even an afterlife, and start treating this life, and our society, as the fragile flame that it is, and make our global culture reflect that, I believe a lot of things will become easier to prioritise.'

          Another major problem of society again: shortsightedness of majority.
          And another question arises: can we blame people being shortsighted?
          Or do they just don't care about impending bigger problems?
    • Dec 2 2013: Education is KEY. What the powers that be want is uneducated drones to "vote" big money candidates into office after knowing nothing more than a name and sound bites. Politics has evolved into a circus NOT by design, but by apathy and chaos. Time to design a better system and it all hinges on education, intelligence and wisdom and undeniable FORCE of numbers. If the current system is imploding it is doing so because we let it get to this point. Now it's time to change direction and Nikos, Poch and Phillip are right on spot.
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        Dec 2 2013: We shouldn't be surprised if the powers that be
        also use hi-tech drones for their sinister purposes lol.

        'Politics has evolved into a circus NOT by design, but by apathy and chaos.'

        Very sharp James. Thanks.
      • Dec 3 2013: The "powers that be" need do nothing to get such a goal. People are notoriously short-sighted and hedonistic, with a few exceptions.

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