The last thought that I had after listening to many of the talks at PDF 2012 is that people are tired of things staying the same and have lost their trust of status quo. Unfortunately, unlike how Alex Torpey believes, we do have a significant status quo to convert into enthusiastic participants. The status quo is tired of life, work, social mobility, and so much more being stagnant from generation to generation. We hear all of the time that people can make it if they work hard enough. To this I and many other say, yeah right. There are millions are people working themselves to exhaustion with little improvement. That has to change.
People will engage when money and efforts go to worthwhile causes, just as Dave Karpf states. Throwing money away in political campaigns is definitely not a worthwhile cause in most people’s view (unless you’re guaranteed a return as the elite get). But the Internet shows on a daily basis that creative output that makes the world just a little better is being bankrolled by ordinary people everywhere through sites like Kickstarter and Etsy (to name a few). Citizens aren’t engaging politicians because there is no two-way dialogue. Society is interactive. So is the Internet. It’s high time that the rest of the world that status quo supports get this fundamental fact. A 40-60% turnout in voting is nothing to be proud of. And this is what our politics has led us to: a disenchanted public who has lost interest in stagnation. But things are getting interesting once again. Since 2011, people are re-engaging because they’re being forced to by attacks on their civil liberties and human rights from their own governments. People still aren’t excited about elections. But they are very excited about the future’s potential that can be glimpsed via the Internet, the biggest democracy our world has ever created.
Here are a couple of talks that speak about the wish of the citizenry. They’re much more honest than what we’re hearing in political campaigns:
Dave Karpf – No Field Of Dreams: How Online Organizing Really Works
David Weinberger – In Defense of Echo Chambers
Jan Hemme – Liquefying Democracy – German Pirate Party
John Perry Barlow – Infowar: A View From The Battlefield
We are in the midst of a learning revolution on how to modernize democracy in the image that all citizens want. It will be a messy effort, but for the first time in a long time, people are finally engaged because they know that their voices will really be heard (and not just counted superficially). Government will hopefully change a lot because they need to…desperately. Our entire future counts on it. And these people (and more) will be helping to guide the way for our personal democracy.