Sunday, April 13, 2014

Again: Why An Ideology Is Needed If One Seriously Blogs

Readers who arrive at this blog (Brane Space) know after a few scans of my posts that I come from a definite political and economic view point and ideology which includes:
-Anti -Neoliberal
- Anti-War (unless domestic security is really threatened)
- Anti- Bush Tax Cuts or ANY Tax cuts (and Pro-Higher Taxes for Most Americans to pay for the needs and benefits most of us take for granted. Oliver Wendell Holmes: "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society")
- Pro-environment (No, not a 'tree hugger' but if you don't accept global warming, you're an idiot.)
Anti- American Exceptionalism (I don't buy exceptionalism for any nation!)
Anti-NSA mass surveillance (In favor of getting rid of all the NSA prying programs, PRISM,  MUSCULAR, XKeyscore, etc.)
Pro-Transparent Government and Pro-Whistleblower ("When the government knows more about you than vice versa you have tyranny. When the reverse is true, you have freedom")
Pro-Socialism - to more evenly distribute the wealth of this nation from the hands of the few - like the Kochs.
If people don't like this POV they generally will not stop by this blog but go to one more in line with their own political, economic predilections.
Lastly, my ideology as summarized above isn't based merely on "opinion" but was honed from decades of individual research over broad areas. Thus, my POV represents in many ways the distillation of that accumulated knowledge  with critical thinking applied. I sincerely believe every citizen has the right to offer opinions, but those invested with scientific, historical and economic insight are to be valued more especially if critical thinking is also applied. Thus, not all ideology is created equally and having an ideology just for the sake of such is a fool's errand.
As I noted in a previous post, to do with why Obama failed to become transformative:

It is ideology that gives one’s world and perceptions context and color. If you lack an ideology, as an old logic teacher once put it to me, then you will find yourself cast adrift and swayed by any and every meme, blabber or blowhard that might try to influence you

This is germane now as we’ve recently beheld a spate of mainstream bloggers  (Ezra Klein, Nate Silver and Jonathan Chait) who have lost their vision – indeed assuming they ever had one – bringing back what media critic and New York University professor Jay Rosen has famously called “the view from nowhere,”.  As described in a recent piece on the three hotshots in, Rosen refers to:

a bid for trust that advertises the viewlessness of the news producer.”

In other words,  no central point of view, no singular perspective in evidence. All POVs are equally correct in the world of nebulous, Neoliberal political mumbo –jumbo.   Rosen does grant that this inclination to be “objective” is not always bad. Indeed, journalism is impossible if its practitioners don’t acknowledge the existence of at least some kind of baseline objective reality. However, as the author of the piece observes:

But the view from nowhere is more often a self-flattering and ass-covering gimmick, one that is intended to protect the journalist from receiving criticism for partiality but often leaves the reader less informed as a result.”

 In this case, we behold the Neoliberal stock- in -trade which treats “two sides of an issue” in the same manner as objective reporting – when there’s really no relation. Two sides of an issue is balderdash. There are not “two sides” to whether the Holocaust occurred. It did, full stop. Period. There are not two sides either to whether climate change is real and human-generated. The evidence is overwhelming and only knuckle draggers and flat Earthers disagree. The effort to present two sides of an issue when the issue has already been settled in reality is therefore to run from objective reality not to embrace it.

But because the political pool has become so contaminated by Right wing nonsense and spin, too many mainstreamers (and bloggers – like Nate Silver) are chicken shit to accept the objective findings- say for global warming – which discloses the Left is more totally accurate in tune with the findings  than the flat Earth Right. Thus, they fear PARTIALITY or informed ideology when it is in fact aligned with reality!

Of course, FOX News also has an ideology, but it is largely uninformed and distorted. Recall that I also noted (in my earlier link above) that:

Of course, one always checks his ideology against reality, this is important!

Alas, the FOX-ites seldom if ever do this! This is why they are so wrong on climate change and why they actually had to get Neil deGrasse Tyson to try to explain it to them ("Fox and Friends") – with meager success.

The problem with bloggers like Nate Silver, as I pointed out, is that when they hire climate nebulizers like Roger Pielke Jr. on the new version of FiveThirtyEight they are essentially disclosing how little objective knowledge or insight they themselves have into the existing science.  They need to hire a right wing propaganda meister to help them out.  As the report observes: “ the Pielke Jr. experience brings to mind Mark Twain’s famous quote that there are “lies, damned lies and statistics.” The view from nowhere is no less problematic when it’s festooned with numbers”..

 Indeed, which is why it is so sad that a guy supposedly well versed in numbers and excellent in political statistics, could fail so badly in terms of processing climate science data.  Again, I attribute most of this to not having been exposed adequately to the science but also being too ready to adopt the useless “view from nowhere” -  which is of little use to his blog readers.

Then there is Ezra Klein, one of the many journalists who built a successful career by coming out of the blogosphere and tweaking old media for its faux-objective habits. But, incredibly,  who then began telling people that his much-anticipated new website’s goal would be to “explain the news” to readers. Are you kidding me? Explain the news? What? You have that little regard for your readers?  I don’t presume to “explain the news” to readers here on Brane Space. I see my blog more as the final, ultimate “bull shit filter” – after readers have already been inundated with tons of faux news and Neoliberal PR, whether about the economy, the Ukraine, health news, science or some facet of our bought out political system. Thus, given the POV and ideology noted at the top of this post, I can more easily discern the bullshit being endlessly fed to the public by the Neoliberal media and share it with others.

Klein’s blog Vox, actually had an inaugural post  that pronounced that its “end goal” wasn’t “telling you what just happened, or how we feel about what just happened,” but rather to “make sure you understand what just happened.” Suddenly Klein, the guy who cut his teeth at the liberal American Prospect, was telling readers he could make them “understand what just happened” without “telling you … how we feel about what just happened.”

In other words, Klein,  like his "viewless" compatriot Silver, had descended to the level of a useless Neoliberal parrot and nabob.  Jeezus Peace! Don’t we have enough of these characters? We don’t need more parrots but we do need many more serious Blogger BS filters since there’s so much bullshit manufactured in this country per second (as comic George Carlin once noted) that I’d have to write 45 blogs a day to cover it all. And I don’t have that much time. (Carlin also observed, in one of his skits, that bullshit is this country’s largest product and most consumed around the world.)

But why be surprised  at Klein, who dropped his liberal ideology as soon as his  mainstream star began to rise and the Neoliberal Beltway Bozos began taking him seriously as the “Voice”. The twerp actually disavowed liberalism, telling the New Republic’s Alec MacGillis:

 I don’t really think of myself as a liberal. That’s not the project I’m part of, which is to let the facts take me where they do.”

So, okay, if any ensemble of facts points to a conclusion that a liberal would accept than you’d dismiss them?  In fact, Klein here reveals himself as just another Neoliberal gasbag like so many others, at politico, or wherever the Neolib hacks reside on the blogosphere.

But I gathered as much about Klein when the guy appeared on Rachel Maddow’s show some time ago, in a segment to do with Obama's proposed Chained CPI.  After Maddow’s usual long –winded intro, Klein appeared with his toothless smile, explaining the Repukes were merely "hyping" it and Obama "wouldn't really do it". This despite that anyone who could read and had a newspaper subscription knew better. And this is the cat that wants to “make sure” we understand what’s going on? He’s joking for sure!

Incredibly, Klein’s lead-off big piece for Vox was a story about “how politics makes us stupid” that focused on yet more research showing that smart, highly informed people were in fact often more rather than less likely to let their fundamental values and beliefs change the way they interpreted new information. By choosing to get things started with a piece about the inescapable nature of subjectivity, Klein seemed to be making a subtle recognition that no one can “explain the news” without having their own biases color their explanation.  In other words, the twerp ended up reinforcing my point that ideology operates as one’s fundamental compass to make sense of the world  (again, so long as it jibes with reality!). The problem is that little Ezra wants you to believe that HIS bias trumps yours in explaining the news.

On the other hand, here on Brane Space, I merely present a kernel of discrete (political, or economic or scientific) material  per day, with most of the BS removed, and you can decide for yourself if that is acceptable, or you want to filter out even more.  I don’t presume to tell the reader that this and only this is what I expect you to leave with.

Lastly, Jonathan Chait’s “view from nowhere” shtick has been exposed in the piece by Elias Isquith which noted:

Chait’s argument is a bit complicated and, going by defenses he’s mounted both on his blog and on Twitter, not intended to be read as an analysis of race in modern America but rather the way political partisans talk about race in modern America. This strikes me as an extremely played-out and uninteresting topic to write a long essay in one of America’s most-respected magazines about — which may explain why the headline and the subhead of the piece imply it’s about America and race, not Fox News and MSNBC — but maybe people who are less immersed in the daily political squabbling of the Obama presidency than I will find it to be of interest. (Slate’s Jamelle Bouie has written a definitive takedown of the piece here, and the response from Salon’s Joan Walsh is well worth reading, too.)
Again, as Isquith points out, “nearly everything wrong with the article can be explained by Chait’s curious and unfortunate habit of presenting himself as the only reasonable man in the room. Or, to put it differently, his implication that he’s best able to judge competing claims of racial demagoguery because he holds the view from nowhere.”

In this his shtick is curiously like Klein’s and Silver’s.   If a person then is terrified of partiality or ideology,  and if it makes his or her skin crawl, then he is obviously best served by frequenting  Silver’s 538blog, Klein’s Vox and Chait’s. They can sleep easy and doubtless the toneless language (almost imaged from a cyborg) will help assuage all cares. 

If, on the other hand, people can handle a definite ideology and viewpoint (again, predicated on research, information that is often hidden by the mainstream media)  in viewing national or world events, as well as some harsh lingo from time to time (no mincing of words in the never-ending goal to expose Neoliberal bullshit) you’ve come to the right place here – on Brane Space.

One thing you may be certain of: Brane Space will not mutate into another 'VOX'!

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