Friday, June 12, 2009

Twitter, The New Socialism?

Thom Mount told a great story about his parents recently. His Mom required he and his two sisters to each have a new word to discuss when they came down to breakfast each morning. Meaning, use in a sentence, etc. His Dad required them to each discuss over dinner an article they had read that day in the newspaper. Thom of course is a very successful Hollywood producer and Durham native.

My Dad taught me to view and debate both sides of an issue. Not traits common in the ranch-farm-forestry culture of Eastern Idaho, but ones his family (four older sisters) practiced around the Sunday dinner table. I never got away with an opinion without having to back it up with some critical thinking. Those skills have served me probably as well as anything I learned in school.

But I think I scared him when it came to political ideology. If he ran out of argument he’d begin labeling me a socialist or communist or tell me I might just as well jump off a bridge or move to Russia. Never understood the bridge thing, but my sisters and I kidded him mercilessly about that.

That’s why I smile when rabid talk show hosts run out of ways to label President Obama, so they call him a socialist.

I know my Dad was relieved to see as I moved into adulthood that my embracement of the values of this incredible country were as firm as his.

At the same time, I came to respect that his viewpoints were informed by the horror he witnessed at liberated Nazi concentration camps and the terror he recalled in the eyes of liberated Russian POW’s as they were forced to return to Russia. These experiences gave him a visceral reaction to the totalitarian perversions and extremes of socialism.

But on the lighter side, I saw the term in a new light recently in a Wired magazine article by Kevin Kelly about the Internet and The New Socialism created by Blogger, Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Kelly helped found Wired and is author of several books on technology.

This comparison chart of old and new socialism gives you an idea of what he means.

In the interests of full disclosure, Kelly also helped found Mother Earth which my Dad I’m sure viewed as socialist. But then again apparently Rush Limbaugh is now a socialist, a new socialist anyway.

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