Thursday, March 31, 2016

Zuckerberg Laments

I don’t know what is in the water at the Facebook offices, but, now that COO Sheryl Sandberg has stepped forth as an expert on military affairs, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has offered his opinions on how to fight back against terrorism. Zuckerberg posted his remarks in the wake of the terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan that murdered 70 people and injured over 300… most of which were women and children celebrating Easter.

Apparently, all of that time on maternity leave has softened up Zuckerberg. He posted this:

I believe the only sustainable way to fight back against those who seek to divide us is to create a world where understanding and empathy can spread faster than hate, and where every single person in every country feels connected and cared for and loved. That's the world we can and must build together.

When asked about Zuckerberg’s analysis, Jed Babbin mocked it on Fox Business. The Daily Caller reports the exchange:

[Jed] Babbin, former deputy undersecretary of defense for former President George H. W. Bush, pilloried Zuckerberg’s analysis as patently ridiculous.

“I can’t do anything but laugh,” Babbin said on Fox Business.

“This is a very common position among 12-year-old girls,” Babbin added.


Nick Carter M. said...

Then everybody should follow Jesus' example, right? What are the odds Zberg does that?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Zuckerberg and his Silicon Valley buddies have also remarked that China has a really cool form of government.

Ares Olympus said...

Sure, it's a platitude, and convenient for someone who can buy anything he wants.

Myself, I don't like to mock good intentions, while hypocrisy is always fair game when you can find it. Otherwise I just try to imagine why it's wrong, and then try to test that too.

So many possible explanations... Is it because of our free will? Envy or jealousy or resentment? Fear of other? Selfishness? Tribalism that redirects hostility outward? Or a need for status? Ideology? Fundamentalism?

Actually hearing John Lennon's song "Imagine" was perhaps the first time I wondered this question. Apparently the problem is while you're imagining, someone else has a failure of imagination and kills you. Are you okay with that? Jesus said it was okay to be a martyr. John Lennon - Imagine
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Maybe there are two types of individual predicaments - things you hate and feel a need to destroy, and things you think you want and which other people have. The second contains more hope, if you can work hard and gain what you think you want, and then see what it looks like when you have it.

But hatred is always trouble. How do you "wake someone up?" who is possessed by irrational fear and hatred of other?

The Dalai Lama is quoted about Meditation being the cure for violence, again easy to doubt...

I might look more towards Carl Jung, and see projection as the problem - anything we don't like about ourselves and is supressed will be seen in others. How do we see our projections?

You know, like homophobic men who are insecure about their heterosexuality are more likely to feel hatred towards overt homosexuality in other men, and somehow imagine their uncomfortable feelings will go away if the people representing those feelings are condemned?

And Feminist have projections, naming their nemesis of Patriarchy, and condemning individual men as holder of power and oppression, and imagining a Partnership model where power is shared, and doesn't have to be wielded through fear and domination.

There's some sense in such projection, but unless you can see your own participation in it, you're less likely to see the world as it really is.

And maybe that's most of it - we don't see things as they are, we see things as we are. At least if you know you may not know, you're more likely to pay attention just in case you can see past your blindspots every once and a while.

David Foster said...

There is a phrase sometimes used in companies: a "boil the ocean" project. It means a project that may *sound* very good, but anyone possessed of normal common sense knows that it just ain't ever going to happen.

I think: "I believe the only sustainable way to fight back against those who seek to divide us is to create a world where understanding and empathy can spread faster than hate, and where every single person in every country feels connected and cared for and loved" a pretty good example of a Boil the Ocean project. I wonder if Zberg has ever heard the phrase...

David Foster said...

Ares..."Myself, I don't like to mock good intentions"

If somebody had the 'good intention' of getting a flight to its destination on time by volunteering to serve as pilot (the regular pilot being indisposed)...and if he was somehow allowed to do that...despite having no knowledge of aviation other than the children's book on the subject that he had read when he was 12...would that count as 'good intentions.'

Zberg is using his wealth and position to make statements about a critical world issue, apparently with the intent of influencing policy. How knowledgeable is he about world history, current affairs, comparative religions, etc? I suspect his knowledge of these matters is on a part with someone volunteering to fly an airplane on the basis of a children's book.

Ares Olympus said...

David Foster, I think you're overreacting to one individual's opinions.

To your example "technical skills" like being a pilot are categorically different than open-ended questions of the human predicament. Problems of existence more often than not don't contain exclusive either/or solutions, but divergent responses that individually are insufficient to the problem, but collectively may do more than any of them together. And we're all "over our heads", even if there are experts for different possible responses.

I admit when Zuckerberg says "the only sustainable way..." he's sounding like he's saying we can't do anything else, we can't defend ourselves, or fight wars against terrorists, but I think it is true that you have to look at "full cycle violence" and "more bombs" alone isn't "sustainable" until you have enough bombs to kill every single person who threatens you.

Just like we can ask which is a better use of our resources - spending $50k/year/person keeping people in prison for years for nonviolent drug offenses, or investing $10k/year/person in educational and occupational programs that will help reduce the number of people who fall into despair and self-destructiveness.

It's all expensive, and I understand any "institutional" solution can as easily fail in its stated mission, but unless we're ready to start executing more petty criminals who can't get their lives together, we're stuck trying something.

Anyway "sustainable" is a tricky word whatever it means, given a world of 7 billion people, and its not clear we'll ever have a future where the average person has access to the resources Americans have now. The system that has temporarily placed us on top itself isn't sustainable, so the solutions the future will find may be different than we can attempt now.

But given more people have more needs, and the future may have less cheap energy than we have now, we at minimum help with "family planning", helping poor people to not have 6+ kids, which simply divides projected future resources more where there's already not enough.

The current refugee problem shows perhaps what the future will look like, and we have predictions that Africa's population will increase from 1.2 billion in 2015 to 4.4 billion in 2100.

Should we just spent our last cheap energy and material resources building more border walls, so when the 15 million refugees of 2015 increase to 300 million per year in 2100, we'll be ready to turn away the poor?

So like Trump's walls are not a useless solution, but if we don't care about the people on the other side of the walls, eventually their problems will expand into they become our problems. So we can build walls, but we also have to do more than build walls if we want a world worth inheriting.

It is amazing that humans have cooperated as much as we have, and I tend to think we've been lucky, exploiting once time resources makes it easy to feel generous, but doesn't help future generations who have to do everything we're doing and more, just to avoid falling into the chaos we think we've escaped.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

David Foster @March 31, 2016 at 3:18 PM:

Just "Like" Ares. The intentions are all that matter. You'd never mock good intentions, would you? Ah, ah, ah... don't overreact! Tsk-tsk.

You should "Like" the communist Chinese. Like I do. So much wisdom! Make people work, have abortions, live in smog, be corrupt, make lots of money, repeat.

After all, it's just "individual opinion." On a blog. Right?

"Like" my comment!

Ares Olympus said...

IAC, I'll assume that you're mocking me, and that's okay. Does it make you feel better? I'd never disagree that "Good intentions do not guarantee good results".

On the question of whether "good intentions" are good enough, I wasn't impressed by the nonexperienced pilot question from David Foster. So for good luck here's a more meaningful one today, not just about skills, but gender roles of unknown biological flexibility:
A federal judge ruled Thursday that Mississippi’s ban on same-sex couples adopting children is unconstitutional, making gay adoption legal in all 50 states.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan issued a preliminary injunction against the ban, citing the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide last summer.

So let's consider Zuckerman's quote in that context:
Zuckerman: "I believe the only sustainable way to fight back against those who seek to divide us is to create a world where understanding and empathy can spread faster than hate, and where every single person in every country feels connected and cared for and loved. That's the world we can and must build together."

So on same-sex adoption, Zuckerman likely will fully agree with the courts "banning same-sex marriage is wrong", and "banning same-sex adoption" is wrong, and this sort of "inclusion" is a part of his progressive agenda.

OTOH, many people for religious reasons and personal reasons would not like these changes, and object to "activist judges" making laws from the bench. And worse, the Supreme Court ruling on marriage is being used to justify the adoption ruling.

Myself, mostly I'm content to neither sanction nor condemn same-sex marriage or same-sex adoption. But I can consider biology isn't immutable, and a mother and a father are both needed for the best families, so if I were to make any opinion, it might be an adoption priority queue, all other things being equal, I might lean towards:
1) A married opposite-sex couple.
2) A married same-sex couple.
3) An unmarried opposite sex couple.
4) An unmarried same sex couple.
5) A single parent of either gender.

So those priorities would be based towards two-parents, and stability of a legal institution, and interestingly that puts same-sex married couples higher than unmarried opposite sex couples.

Of course with a world of children to adopt, probably there's no shortage of kids if you want to adopt.

But it would be a lot of responsibility if I had to replace my personal opinion with legal authority, for whomever makes such decisions.

And I also don't know how much of a loss it would be for a child to have "2 mothers" or "2 fathers", but it would still seem a single parent is worst off.

Anyway, at least its a better question than the pilot one. We can't stop opposite-sex couples from having children, but we COULD prevent adoptions, if we really believed nature is smarter than us, and gender-confused people can't be trusted to raise children into gender-capable adults.

The experiment of a new "universal right" has been granted, and the blogopshere can discuss and unlike terrorism, no ones dies.

Dennis said...

IAC/David Foster

There is an old saying that is apropos here: Explaining something to certain people is like explaining fire to fish.

David Foster said...

The pilot question is just one of many possible examples. The overall point is that it is irresponsible to use one's wealth, position, public visibility, etc to attempt to shape public opinion on critical issues that one knows nothing about.

Ares Olympus said...

What's clear to me is the Zuckerman's moral crime isn't having opinions while not being an expert on antiterrorism, but having an opinion different than the right-wing thought police.

Spending $100 million dollars for a propaganda campaign would be "irresponsible to use one's wealth", talking and having someone listen because you happen to have money is just risking being judged naive.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Oh, Ares... how you do go on. It'd be adorable if you were a teenager, but you're not.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares, What would you say if one of the Koch brothers had said something schadenfraudedly mischievous? I suspect you'd have showered us with many hyperlinks.