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Wisdom of Crowds

Nov 2, 2022

The Crowd is back to two members this week, as we sat down to talk about Elon Musk's recent takeover of Twitter and what, if anything, it means. One of Musk's first posts as the owner of Twitter was retweeting a conspiracy theory about the recent attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband— is this a sign that Twitter will become more like Parler, or significantly less-censored corners of the internet?

Liberals are furious about the Musk takeover of Twitter. We discussed what a mass exit from Twitter, or some other series of events that leads to its decline, might mean for broader politics. Will the "dreampolitik" that otherwise quite banal liberals act out on Twitter spill out into real life, if its digital cage erodes? And why are mainstream liberals obsessed with labeling the spaces they create as "nonpartisan?"

In Part 2 (available here for subscribers) we branched out to discuss the ways in which political balkanization has reshaped the boundaries of religious identity and tolerance. Dr. Oz is angling to become America's first Muslim senator, and his religion is almost a nonissue in the campaign— have Muslims quietly become part of the American mainstream?

Shadi also shares his insights into why ethnic minorities are shifting to the right— "personal stories of radicalization," as he puts it. As the twin issues of crime and gender identity become more personal, whether experienced in major cities or in schools, will previously staunchly Democratic ethnic groups become ever more alienated from the left? And as these voters, from the privacy of the ballot box, threaten to punish Democrats in the midterms, will liberals react by questioning the legitimacy of elections?

Required Reading:

  • Shadi tweeting about Houellebecq.
  • Shadi and Mehdi Hasan arguing about American democracy.
  • Youssef Chouhoud’s tweeting about how Shadi and Hasan's argument was a sign of progress.
  • “Dearborn divisions over LGBTQ books spur national debate as candidates compete for votes,” by Niraj Warikoo (Detroit Free Press).