Skills for the 21st Century

From 2011, but good. The four drivers of change:

  1. Longevity, in terms of the age of the workforce and customers – Retiring Later
  2. Smart machines, to augment and extend human abilities – Workplace Automation
  3. A computational world, as computer networks connect – Internet of Everything
  4. New media, that pervade every aspect of life – Online Privacy
  5. Superstructed organizations, that scale below or beyond what was previously possible – AirBNB
  6. A globally connected world, with a multitude of local cultures and competition from all directions- Geek NationFrom http://jarche.com/2014/07/four-basic-skills-for-2020/

Matched by the 10 core skills:

  1. Sense making –  Ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed
  2. Social intelligence –  Ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions
  3. Novel and adaptive thinking –  Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based
  4. Cross cultural competency –  Ability to operate in different cultural settings
  5. Computational thinking–  Ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data based reasoning
  6. New Media Literacy – Ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication
  7. Transdisciplinary –  Literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines
  8. Design Mindset –  Ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes
  9. Cognitive load management –  Ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functions
  10. Virtual collaboration – Ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual teamFrom http://www.top10onlinecolleges.org/work-skills-2020/

All started with the Institute for the Future document.

Riled Up Citizenry

saint-stalin

Saint Stalin, via The Charnel House

The Nation has a very good profile of Karl Polanyi, the mid-20th century left-wing Austro-Hungarian sociologist and economic historian.

“…[Polanyi] had been a violent critic of the gold standard—which, like the euro, restricted a nation’s capacity to inflate or deflate its currency based on the needs of its citizens. In his classic of economic history published in 1945, The Great Transformation, Polanyi showed how the gold standard made it impossible for nations to manage their own economies and how it often encouraged the retraction of welfare. It also empowered a small group of financial elites over the rest of society. Given their access to credit, bankers—rather than politicians and civil-society activists—became the country’s most powerful decision-makers. “Under the gold standard,” Polanyi complained, “the leaders of the financial market” find themselves “in the position to obstruct any domestic move in the economic sphere which [they happen] to dislike.”

…But Polanyi’s Great Transformation was not all dark prophecy; it also offered us some insight into how societies rebelled against this marketization of social life. The free-market economy, Polanyi argued, not only empowered financial elites and commodified social goods; it also created a countermovement in which bodies of people emerged, demanding that the state protect them from the market.”

Polyani’s observation that free-market economies tend to oligarchy but they also generate their own resistance,  came to mind whilst listening to a recent episode of Open Source with Christopher Lydon. Lydon was interviewing Yale historian Timothy Snyder about his new book “On Tyranny, Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century” (here is the originating Facebook post).

Synder’s entire book is an historian’s warning that Trump represents a serious threat to democracy, with 20 idea about how to prevent a Trump presidency devolving into a Caesarian tyranny. Snyder believes Trump’s early actions are a coherent stress test of the democratic institutions. He is feeling the edges of his power, taking stock of the strengths of his opposition. Snyder believes only civic resistance can deflect the Trumpist power grab.

The book is full of gems. I learned that the founding fathers – heeding Plato – never expected democracy to last as long as it did.

It brings to mind a wonderful passage from The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant. Much of this is eerily familiar:

“Plato’s reduction of political evolution to a sequence of monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, and dictatorship found another illustration in the history of Rome. During the third and second centuries before Christ a Roman oligarchy organized a foreign policy and a disciplined army, and conquered and exploited the Mediterranean world. The wealth so won was absorbed by the patricians, and the commerce so developed raised to luxurious opulence the upper middle class. Conquered Greeks, Orientals, and Africans were brought to Italy to serve as slaves on the latifundia; the native farmers, displaced from the soil, joined the restless, breeding proletariat in the cities, to enjoy the monthly dole of grain that Caius Gracchus had secured for the poor in 12 3 B.C. Generals and proconsuls returned from the provinces loaded with spoils for themselves and the ruling class; millionaires multiplied; mobile money replaced land as the source or instrument of political power; rival factions competed in the wholesale purchase of candidates and votes; in 53 B.C. one group of voters received ten million sesterces for its support. When money failed, murder was available: citizens who had voted the wrong way were in some instances beaten close to death and their houses were set on fire. Antiquity had never known so rich, so powerful, and so corrupt a government. The aristocrats engaged Pompey to maintain their ascendancy; the commoners cast in their lot with Caesar; ordeal of battle replaced the auctioning of victory; Caesar won, and established a popular dictatorship. Aristocrats killed him, but ended by accepting the dictatorship of his grandnephew and stepson Augustus (27 B.C.). Democracy ended, monarchy was restored; the Platonic wheel had come full turn.”

At one point Lydon asks,

“Are we sleepwalking still, is there something to be said for a riled up citizenry?”

Snyder replies in the affirmative, and observes that in the anti-Trump reactions he saw unprecedented speed (airport protests) but also numbers and intelligence (large scale, multi-partisan alliances in the Women’s March). He also talked about the role of lawyers, pointing out that in 1930’s Germany the legal profession acquiesced then enthusiastically collaborated with the Nazis, whereas the Trump era has the legal profession leading the fight in the form of lawyers helping travel ban victims or judges blocking executive orders.

This lends some evidence to my feeling that Trump, far from being the ultimate defeat for the American left, could herald their ultimate triumph.

Hear me out here.

The US right have put their bets on Trump, a classic bullshitter (I mean in the strict academic sense, Plank’s chauffer)

Now the corruption – Russian interference, Oligarch money – and his lack of intellectual substance, disorganization and personality flaws will all be exposed.

The Trump effect is already damaging Populists in Europe. Trump may have helped in Wilder’s defeat in The Netherlands and he may well help sink Le Pen in France too. Merkel, despite domestic terror, is booming again in the polls.

I think the mood driving populism is still there. If Populism is a reaction to elites, globalism, industrial automation, immigration, cultural and political alienation, then we can expect it to intensify as the agonists are strengthening.

But the current right-wing populists are fairly or unfairly associate with the Populist Khan of Khans  Donald Trump. As he flounders, he could take down the entire right-wing populist surge with him.

This leaves an opportunity for the the populist left, and within that opportunity there are also dangers.

Jordan B Peterson, Dave Rubin, Sam Harris and others argue very persuasively that contemporary leftists also have a decidedly authoritarian bent.

The grim mirror image of Trumpian tyranny we have the left’s Neo-Stalinist assault on free speech, SJWism, essentialist identity politics, obsession with race/gender/privilege, racism and anti-Western obscurantism.

Can the center reassert itself? Can a principled, moderate left emerge? Are we like 1930’s German’s, facing a choice between two violent revolutionary anti-democratic ideologies: Nazism and Communism.

dare we hope for something good to come out of all this, or is it going to be the perpetual power of nightmares?

If the left can evolve out of identity politics and rediscovers its principles, embrace true pluralism and welcome true diversity, then it could be facing a golden age. If the US Democratic party can transform itself from being the party of white urban elites and minorities into a party that also genuinely represents the interests of rural people, the white flyover citizenry, and the poor – regardless of provenance – then it could be a generational political force.

Today’s left are Orwellian Nationalists. They assume that “human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled “good” or “bad.””

If it doubles down on PC, intersectionality and identity politics, it is doomed. Either it slips into leftist tyranny or dies with a whimper, on the scrap heap of ideas. The former entails bloodshed and civil war. The latter a triumph for Trump.

I hope a reformed New Left can emerge, recognizes the importance of individualism and embraces a principled politics of the 21st century based on science, reason and genuine democracy based on strong institutions.

Which will it be?

“All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.”

WB Yeats, “Easter, 1916”

Or

“What rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

WB Yeats, “The Second Coming”

Links

http://radioopensource.org/survivors-guide-tyranny/

https://www.thenation.com/article/karl-polanyi-in-our-times/

https://withoutbullshit.com/blog/4-kinds-bullshitters-trump-fits

https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/were-all-cucks-now

Checking the the idea of “Privilege”

I noticed three articles this week on the theme of privilege and leftist ideology as religion.

One of my favorite public intellectuals, Jonathan Haidt, has a video in the Wall Street Journal (paywall)

Jonathan Haidt on the Cultural Roots of Campus Rage – “ An unorthodox professor explains the ‘new religion’ that drives the intolerance and violence at places like Middlebury and Berkeley.”

On Twitter, Peter Boghossian points out that he called this first, back in 2016:

Privilege: The Left’s Original Sin:

The concepts of Original Sin and privilege are identical except that they operate in different moral universes. In familiar religions, Original Sin is something you’re born with. It’s something you can’t escape. It’s something you can’t really do anything about – except be ashamed. It’s something you should confess and try to cleanse yourself of. It’s something that requires forgiveness, atonement, penitence, and work. It’s something, if you take it to heart, for which you will browbeat others.

For many contemporary left-situated activists, privilege occupies the same role in a religion of contemporary identity politics. There is no greater sin than having been born an able-bodied, straight, white male who identifies as a man but isn’t deeply sorry for this utterly unintentional state of affairs.

Finally, “The last thing on ‘privilege’ you’ll ever need to read” is a book review of Phoebe Maltz Bovy’s “The Perils of "Privilege": Why Injustice Can’t Be Solved by Accusing Others of Advantage”.

What kind of monster am I?

The pool of acceptable hate groups has shrunk down to the dregs now: old white men. Not even hillbillies and Chavs are acceptably odious anymore. As a white middle-aged middle-class heterosexual cis-gendered able-bodied capitalist property-owning politically slightly-right-of-center male atheistic Westerner, I am a member of the most universally despised minority in history.

Get your insults in while we last. The mantle of victimhood cannot be withheld forever….

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitzpatrick%27s_War

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/12/white-men-dehumanising-insult-times/

Japan’s koseki system

“The koseki is Japan’s family registration system. All legally significant transitions in a person’s life — births, deaths, marriages, divorces, adoptions, even changes of gender — are supposed to be registered in a koseki; in fact, registration is what gives them legal effect. An extract of a person’s koseki serves as the Official Document that confirms to the Rest of the World basic details about their identity and status.

Need to prove when you were born? Koseki extract. Need to show you have parental authority to apply for a child’s passport? Koseki extract. Want to commit bigamy? Good luck; the authorities will refuse to register a second marriage if your registry shows you are still encumbered with a first.

Compared to “event-based” Official Documents (birth certificates, divorce decrees and so forth) that prevail in places like America, the koseki is more accurate. An American can use a marriage certificate to show he got married on a particular date in the past but would struggle to prove he is still married today. A koseki extract, on the other hand, can do just that.”

Source: Japan’s koseki system: dull, uncaring but terribly efficient | The Japan Times

A look under the soft rock of lunacy

Due to a bug in the WordPress.com mac app I found I was “following” some Punjabi writer collective blog. This could have been a moment of serendipitous largesse, instead it was a glimpse under one of the rocks of lunacy littering the internet.

The top post on the day I accessed it was a repost of a Black Lives Matter (BLM) sub-group called Dream Defenders, defending their policy position supporting Palestine and branding Israel as “genocidal”.  Another recent post on the blog declares that Khizr Khan, the father of a dead US solider who had a run in with Trump, is “the Uncle Tom of America’s Muslims.” No really. Not even Trump got that crazy.

The Dream Defender’s statement is meant to protest that their militant anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. I was not convinced. The tone, is, well…judge for yourself:

Their [“Zionist” Jewish organizations] response has made it all the more clear why we stand in solidarity with Palestine and with Black and Brown people around the world fighting for justice.

Those who have previously claimed to be allies of the Black lives matter movement have shown us that they are comfortable with our resistance so long as it fits within particular confines and restrictions. It is convenient to endorse black lives matter when it benefits you. And as long as we stay silent about Israeli apartheid, they will “stand” with Black liberation in the US. Now that our movement has taken a stand against all forms of white supremacy and oppression, Black lives no longer matter. We want no part in this quid pro quo form of politics. True solidarity does not come with strings attached.

We’ve been dealing with this type of hypocrisy with our supposed “allies” for generations. On the American left, there are many wolves in sheeps clothing. You have revealed yourselves. And now that we know who you are, we will not forget.

As I read it they are saying that Jewish American’s, despite being at the forefront of civil rights in the USA for “generations”, have “revealed themselves” as, “wolves in sheeps clothing” (sic).  50 years of social activism by the Jewish community brushed away as nothing but Zionist entryism.

Who are Dream Defenders anyway? Reading their website one can easily sympathise with and support their cause. Social justice, non-violence, democracy…and they look like friendly, positive people:

Dream Defenders

From the front page of Dream Defender website – http://www.dreamdefenders.org/

Then you browse to the About page of their site, and you see this….

dreamdefenders.png

From the About page of http://www.dreamdefenders.org/

Same people, very different photo. It turns out this is some sort of Black Power group. Disappointing.

One of the oddities of the USA is the flagrant double standard in when it comes to ethnic pride, symbolism and self-interest. Black Power, recently feted by Beyonce at the Super Bowl, is according to Wikipedia, about…

“…emphasizing racial pride and the creation of black political and cultural institutions to nurture and promote black collective interests and advance black values“.

This definition leaves out all the anti-White racism and separatism that is very much a “wing” of the movement. It also ignores the origin of this term in the black supremacist Black Panther Party (established 50 years ago in 1966), whose legacy of anti-White racism and murder was recently revived by Micah X Johnson, the Dallas cop killer.

In 2016, in the USA, “Black and Brown people” (the “us” or “we” of BLM), can and do express both racial pride and openly campaign for their collective interests in explicitly racial terms. This includes the creation of racially exclusive political and cultural institutions. Whites doing this would be denounced as “racist” and forcefully resisted as a social evil. If members of white “civil rights” groups went so far as to be photographed doing Nazi (White Power) salutes, that would be unequivocal evidence that the group was racist. Not so for Black Power groups, even though the only difference between these ideologies is the skin colour of the members.

I am saddened when I see groups like this embracing Black Power. I want to support their quest for fairness and justice, but I cannot but oppose a group that embraces an ideology defined by it’s opposition and hostility to me, my family and children, based on our skin colour. This is racism on stilts.

As with radical feminists, I will not let this sort of bigotry, chauvinism and hostility dim my personal commitment and support for an entire movement,  in this case for the continued struggle for civil rights,  genuine racial equality and justice for African-Americans.

BLM and other groups in the collective ought to heed Bayard Rusti’s warning to groups that were embracing Back Power  in the 1960’s (as opposed to an inclusive civil rights platform):

“It diverts the movement from a meaningful debate over strategy and tactics, it isolates the [Black] community, and it encourages the growth of anti-[Black] forcesthey [will] emerge isolated and demoralized, shouting a slogan that may afford a momentary satisfaction but that is calculated to destroy them and their movement.”

He is right. Part of the Trump phenomenon driven by whites adopting grievance based identity politics. I am still haunted by David Frumm’s brilliant amalgamation of the voices of Trumpland. Heed this passage, because it should sound a very loud warning:

“You tell us we’re a minority now? OK. We’re going to start acting like a minority. We’re going to vote like a bloc, and we’re going to vote for our bloc’s champion. So long as he keeps faith with us against you, we’ll keep faith with him against you.”

This is the nightmare situation. A restive, militant and confrontational white underclass defining themselves in explicitly racial terms, block voting for populists (anti-establishment) politicians who campaigning on a white grievance platform. It is the predictable outcome of years of identity politics and victimhood culture but it could also spell the end for US consensus democracy.

One of the saddest realities of America in the 21st century is that these racial divisions really do serve to divide the poorest of Americans against each other. They should have such strong solidarity. Instead they are pitted against each other by identity politics, ongoing racism and forces of polarization unleashed by our disintermediated technocracy.

Imagine if BLM, instead of alienating poor whites with their “Black and Brown people vs Whites” narrative embraced the white working-class and invited them to support social justice for African-American’s as part of a broader and truly inclusive alliance of the disadvantaged? That is a movement I could enthusiastically support.

See more:

https://policy.m4bl.org/  – Black Lived Matter policy platform

http://www.inquisitr.com/2785751/black-pride-vs-white-pride-war-rages-define-black-power-positive-racial-prides-racist-hate-groups/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Power

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Power_movement

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-problem-with-black-lives-matter/18643 

Vive la Intolerance

Ella Whelan had a nice article on Spiked about the de facto sacking of Kevin Roberts for expressing an admittedly naïve, but contrarian,  opinion on gender equality in the workplace:

It seems that illiberal liberals have discovered a new type of microaggression: gender-equality denial. Kevin Roberts, former chairman of the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, has been forced to take a leave of absence following his comments on gender equality in the workplace.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Roberts had gone on a rant about women having smaller brains and making sandwiches. But, if you forgive his cursing, Roberts’ comments were actually quite boring. In an interview with Business Insider, he said shocking things like, ‘I don’t think [the lack of women in leadership roles] is a problem’ and ‘the fucking debate is all over’. He defended his own company, (Saatchi & Saatchi has a 50/50 gender quota scheme) and asserted that the reason more women aren’t in top jobs is that they want to be happy rather than rich – hardly scandalous.

But even Roberts’ nonchalant lack of interest in gender equality is unacceptable, it seems. Feminists barely had time to hit the keyboards before Roberts had been put on leave with the promise that his position at Saatchi & Saatchi would be reviewed – in other words, he was sacked. Not only that, but Publicis Groupe, the parent company of Saatchi & Saatchi, released a statement damning Roberts’ comments and warning its employees that ‘diversity and inclusion are business imperatives on which Publicis Groupe will not negotiate’. Yes, that’s right, Publicis values diversity and inclusion so much that it will not tolerate diversity or inclusion of political opinion in the workplace.

…Roberts doesn’t want a debate about gender equality, but neither do his critics. Gender equality, it seems, is not up for discussion. Anyone who has criticised the political inadequacies of contemporary feminism knows this. If we want to have a real debate about women’s freedom (a discussion on reproductive rights would be a good start), we should have one. But let’s stop this pretence of a debate about gender and get serious about defending women’s agency and capabilities. That means allowing men like Roberts to have an opinion and to voice it freely without being silenced or sacked.

The thing that amused me was the Orwellian press release from Publicis. Talk about self-contradiction!

vive-la-differance

 

Finally, as “white male”, I am really feeling the hate from radical feminists. One wrong word and you are fired. I am sure many many men are choosing to stay silent on a whole host of issues for fear of repercussions. Mission accomplished I suppose?  Whilst men are being sacked and having their livelihoods destroyed for expressing heterodoxy, radical feminists in particular can express the most sordid anti-(white)male sentiments with absolute impunity. It does not dim my commitment to gender equality at all all, but I am actively rooting for the real feminists like Camille Paglia who are taking the fight to these vicious people and standing up for free speech, gender equality and human rights.

See also:

Joanna Williams in The Spectator – http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/08/saatchis-sexism-row-suggests-feminists-cant-handle-debate/

Forsaken: The Global Persecution of Christians

An email popped into my newsletters folder the other day from OR Books. They were promoting a new book by Daniel Williams called Forsaken, about the persecution of Christian’s in the middle east. Here is the blurb:

Across the Middle East, Christian communities today find themselves the victims of widening repression: massacres, expulsions, and brutally enforced restrictions on the right to worship have all become commonplace. Such persecution has now reached the point where, in the region that was once its birthplace, Christianity’s very existence is under threat.

Radical armed groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) justify their offensive against the “infidels” with reference to new interpretations of jihad, the Islamic tradition of holy war, that have burgeoned in the region since the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq at the beginning of the century.

The impact on Christian communities is visible for all to see. In Iraq, the Christian population has withered from well over one million to just 300,000. In Syria, where the word “Christian” was first coined more than two millennia ago, at least half a million Christians, one third of the total, have fled their homes. In Egypt, where the Coptic Church, with its seven million adherents, is as old as the Church of Rome, Christians are emigrating in waves after being squeezed between those who blame them for the 2013 ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood government and a new military dictatorship that is heedless of their civil rights.

The book was published on the 10th March 2016. A few weeks later, on Easter Sunday, a bomber target Christian women and children at a park in Lahore, Pakistan murdering at least 70 innocents and maiming hundreds more.

It is not just the middle east. Pakistan, India, Iraq, Burma, North Korea, Eritrea, Nigeria..there is a long list of places where Christians are viciously oppressed. Even the Pope has started speaking out about it.

The Western media has been pretty muted on this topics, but I notice it is getting more attention now. Here are some articles prompted by the Lahore bombings.
Where are Christians most persecuted around the world? – The Independent

The Lahore attacks are just the latest atrocity in a war on Christians – The Spectator

The Persecution of Christians – Wikipedia

Open Doors – a charity devoted to helping persecuted Christians