human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.
What in the hell does this crap have to do with treating people fairly under the law, and this from a man who left the shores of dignity for some weird island of thought where governments of, by and for the people don’t have to give a damn about 99.9 % of the people, a supposedly well educated man who cannot see the injustice in inhumanity. Who the hell gives a damn about dignity if nobody is looking out for each other. I say to hell with dignity, give me compassion and empathy and justice instead.
How have I never heard of this guy before. His life and his music are one. He has lived his music. That can’t be a bad way to move along with this living thing.
Here is Chris Smither talking about his life as a musician and some great songs he wrote.
Originally posted on The Immortal Jukebox:
‘Somebody said they saw me, swinging the world by the tail,
Bouncing over a white cloud – killing the blues’. (Roly Salley)
‘I been left for dead before – but I still fight on
Don’t wait up – Leave the light on, I’ll be home soon’. (Chris Smither)
In the late 1950s and early 1960s groups of earnest, intense young men in the great academic institutions of America began to develop what can only be called an obsession with Afro-American blues music which had been recorded in the pre war period.
Names like Son House, Mississippi John Hurt and Skip James began to take on a hallowed and mythical status. As they endlessly played the few records they could find of these mystery figures from the 1920s and 1930s (to the despair of their room and dorm mates) they wondered: could it be that some 30 or more years after…
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The crisis before us is the culmination of a 500-year global rampage of conquering, plundering, exploiting, and polluting the earth— as well as killing by Europeans and Euro-Americans of the indigenous communities that stood in their way. The technical and scientific forces that created unparalleled luxury and unrivaled military and economic power for a small, global elite are the forces that now doom us. Ceaseless economic expansion and exploitation has become a death sentence. But even as our economic and environmental systems unravel— thirteen of the fourteen warmest years since weather record-keeping began over a century ago have occurred in the opening years of the twenty-first century— we lack the emotional and intellectual creativity to shut down the engine of global capitalism.
– Chris Hedges, Wages of Rebellion
Michael Sacasas thoughtfully suggests that our reliance on machines to make decisions for us may lead us to outsource our moral judgement, With some Heart of Darkness and Hannah Arendt and a few good examples from recent media sources to illuminate his points.
Joseph Conrad, the Heart of Darkness
“I’ve seen the devil of violence, and the devil of greed, and the devil of hot desire; but, by all the stars! these were strong, lusty, red-eyed devils, that swayed and drove men–men, I tell you. But as I stood on this hillside, I foresaw that in the blinding sunshine of that land I would become acquainted with a flabby, pretending, weak-eyed devil of rapacious and pitiless folly.”
“absence of thought is not stupidity; it can be found in highly intelligent people, and a wicked heart is not its cause; it is probably the other way round, that wickedness may be caused by absence of thought.”
“If […] the ability to tell right from wrong should turn out to have anything to do with the ability to think, then we must be able to ‘demand’ its exercise from every sane person, no matter how erudite or ignorant, intelligent or stupid, he may happen to be.”
“Perhaps the first, modest step in that direction is simply the cultivation of times and spaces for thinking, and perhaps also resisting the urge to check if there is an app for that.”
Originally posted on The Frailest Thing:
Algorithms, we are told, “rule our world.” They are ubiquitous. They lurk in the shadows, shaping our lives without our consent. They may revoke your driver’s license, determine whether you get your next job, or cause the stock market to crash. More worrisome still, they can also be the arbiters of lethal violence. No wonder one scholar has dubbed 2015 “the year we get creeped out by algorithms.” While some worry about the power of algorithms, other think we are in danger of overstating their significance or misunderstanding their nature. Some have even complained that we are treating algorithms like gods whose fickle, inscrutable wills control our destinies.
Clearly, it’s important that we grapple with the power of algorithms, real and imagined, but where do we start? It might help to disambiguate a few related concepts that tend to get lumped together when the word algorithm (or the phrase “Bid Data”)…
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