Friday, May 4, 2018

The Internet and North America, Summarized in One Tweet

If a picture is worth a thousand words, allow me fewer to explain the following photo. The problem with modern society is not the internet or technology, but the lack of humility omnipresent in North American culture. Such a culture will provide fantastic entertainment but not much in the way of substance. Are you ready for the most North American comment ever? 
"I'm not a lawyer but this seems quite illegal." It's a Canadian speaking, so one might chalk it up to a desire to politely agree with the principle of equality, except for one thing: the ProPublica article referenced is fantastic. Even if you glean nothing else from it, a high schooler would, after three paragraphs, understand the ADEA is complex. Really, really complex. 

Unfortunately, most North American voters haven't realized they've outsourced justice to hordes of lawyers who continue to add complexity to protect their jobs and fees. Even if conservatives manage to cut laws, civil procedure and evidentiary rules will maintain a bulwark against common sense and the common citizen. It's not surprising democracy is reeling when the model isn't justice for all but deterrence through selective prosecution. 
In 2002, when I studied law in Singapore, also a common law country, I was struck by the humility of the educated class. None of my questions were deemed odd, and the one or two borderline insulting ones (about population control) were answered substantively. Working class citizens were social and content, and the worst a person could say about them was that their warmth exceeded their ambition. Despite lacking urgent reasons to worry about social harmony, Singapore's mostly Chinese elites, not to be accused of a lack of effort, were busy trying different programs to reduce income inequality. I'm not Singaporean, but this seems quite lovely. 

Would the last intellectual out of North America please remember to turn off the lights? 

Conversation May 3, 2018

Me: "Do you know you have no privacy in America?" 

Very Nice 18 Years Old Cashier: "Yes." 

Me: "Does it bother you?" 

Her: [frowns, then shrugs] 

Me: "Do you trust your gov?" 

Her: [shakes head] 

Me: "I guess the problem is there's nothing we can do about it." 

Her: "Yes."

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