Naming capitalism as the source of all trouble minimizes our complicity in the democracy that maintains its injustice. Every day I’m struck by the fact that different political leadership and different public participation in systems could yield very different results than what we have today. By pushing fault into a system outside of that our complicity in today’s political landscape gets minimized, and so does all of the power we had yesterday and have today and tomorrow, to do differently, to force a different set of rules to govern capital.
Contact-tracing/exposure notification apps are modern propaganda. I’m too light on knowledge of McLuhan but his work feels relevant here. There is something incredibly destructive and confusing about the political introduction of technologies that are hundreds of miles away from the core responses needed and known for a pandemic. They are messing with public education about public health, they are messing with our collective understanding of response, and they are messing with our capacity to hold politicians accountable for deep and widespread failure. This is because they have been introduced without all the requisite policy supports. Yes, there are small upsides to their creation, some of which are internal to how governments build technology, but these upsides come nowhere near to close to the harm they are doing to our broad political understanding of pandemic response, particularly within a particular class of people. And note, propaganda is not a pejorative term — its use must must be considered in terms of your opinion of the state and its policy agenda.
Talking about different worldviews is one of the hardest things I’ve encountered in my work in democracy to date. I can’t even put more words to it than that right now but it’s a site of work for next year.