The international admiration of Jacinda Ardern is understandable. Yet some commentary reads the PM thru the great leader theory of history. In which the hope is that great leaders can make nations great, but most often good leaders emerge from already healthy political systems
PM Arden’s admirable leadership traits are enabled by and emerge from a NZ with strong democratic institutions, a culture of relative social stability and equality and less political polarisation in comparison to other more powerful nations around the world.
It’s symbiotic. Healthy systems and institutions facilitate healthy leadership. Whereas unhealthy systems and broken institutions both undermine good leadership and enable toxic leadership behaviours.
This is akin to the kinds of heresy that the church has always faced. But what is new and different is that it is turbocharged through online radicalisation, and thus can bypass traditional ecclesiological stop guards against false teaching.
Also difficult is the style of this phenomenon which has a feverish and paranoid anti-institutional and anti-authority culture which casts suspicion on pastors and leaders who are trying to biblically address this, framing them as part of the evil cabal.
We have been so shaped to view the world through an ‘events’ lens. In which the new cycle speeds through ‘events’ before moving onto the next thing. This is a way of perceiving & interpreting the world that is driven by instant gratification and novelty. However, this is not how
the world works. ‘Events’ are really ‘processes’ that jump into our consciousness because they have been elevated by our news cycle. ‘Events’ are just the most visible and attention-grabbing part of the ‘process’. Greta Thunberg’s “How dare you!?” speech is the event but the
environment is the process. The George Floyd video and resultant protests were the event, but the process is reality of the racism faced by African-Americans. The event is like when a dolphin leaps from the water capturing out attention, but the process is the life it lives under
We are just starting to see the beginnings of the new social and cultural movements that the melding of fringe politics with the repressed spiritual yearnings of post-Christian culture will birth. Accelerated, amalgamated and amplified by internet culture.
Bleeding out through the porous curtain that now barely separates online and offline life.
Our profit-driven news cycles are designed to follow an entertaining Hollywood style thread. crisis -> intervention -> struggle -> resolution. However, our networked age reveals a world in which multiple events happen at once, which bounce off each other, fuse, and change form.
In the face of such expanding complexity, over-simplistic solutions are tempting, but the wisest path is found through discernment, nuance, patience, and a humble acceptance that there are few easy answers in a globalized networked world.
An off-ramp from this wise path can be found online. Which seems to offer us an insight into what others are thinking about this complex and confusing world. We swap out the failing narrative of the news cycle for the more dynamic 'network consensus' we find on social media which
A remarkable thing is happening in the world at the moment. The rise of two movements that are the complete inverse of each other. The 1st movement is occurring in the great Western powers. It is a push deeper into the tradition of human rights, to address the issue of racism &
prejudice particularly in its systemic forms. There is a desire to elevate to voices of those who have been marginalized & silenced. We are also seeing a movement to wrestle with the history of colonialism, & to deconstruct policing structures that unfairly target minorities...
The second movement is occurring in the other major powers. We are seeing the refashioning of states to further enshrine in power the racial and/or culturally dominant group. A movement to obscure or even rewrite difficult histories of oppression out of the history books. We are
The move from a broadcast and print-based subscription model of news to one in which endless blogs and online news sources need a constant river of new content signals a switch from a reflective editorial model rooted in discovering and reporting the truth to a reactive content
hunting model which seeks an emotional response. The financial incentives are no longer found in delivering accurate reporting but in gaining clicks. Thus a highly emotive, reactive media landscape is created in which the money is to be made in creating emotive content which
bypasses our faculties of reason and activates our limbic system. This creates a never-ending stream of content which centers around concepts of pleasure, shame, controversy, tribalism, hate, disgust, sex, curiosity, & identity-affirmation. The subscription-based/broadcast model
1) Much of Lessie Newbigin’s work was to convince the Church in the West that they no longer lived in the context of Christendom, but rather in a pluralist society. In which no particular belief was held up above others, and in which all ideologies were subject to critique.
2) Yet a cursory glance across our news & social media, show us a reality which no longer seems like a society where all views, ideologies & beliefs are treated the same. A singular route to justice, and reading of the worlds ills is advocated in a way that assumes its supremacy.
3) ‘Diversity’ & ‘inclusion’ are invoked, but increasingly inclusion into ‘polite society’ is only achieved by those who acquiesce to the one preferred stream of Western thought which is beyond critique. Thus it seems that we have moved away from pluralism to a single ideology.
This is hugely important and will deeply shape the coming decades. buff.ly/2GRwfvk
Yet so many in the West are missing what is happening. The right, for a time, was enthralled by the neoconservative belief that globalization and the spread of free markets would eventually lead to free & democratic countries. Yet this has not happened in the way it was imagined.
Numerous large & economically significant countries have slid away from democratic freedoms. And the neoconservative push into globalization has seen an insurgent anti-globalization/nationalist right take over much of the conservative movement. A hiding of one's head in the sand
1. A thread of imperfect thoughts about how public moral orders help us understand our current cultural moment. The engine that drove much of modernism was a desire to dismantle and undermine traditional public moralities.
2. Much of Freud's work was to show the way that the public moral order of the Austro -Hungarian Empire was really a facade that both submerged a more dangerous, sexual and primal human reality, making us neurotic.
3. As the empires of Europe fell, the devastation was felt not just in the cost of blood and treasure, but in loss of the authority and legitimacy of the traditional moral order which undergirded Western culture.