Ken and Corey continue their comprehensive 8-hour discussion of America’s ongoing struggle with gun violence, using the four quadrants to track many of the most critical and commonly-blamed factors, conditions, and causes that seem to be contributing to this terribly wicked problem.
In these segments Ken and Corey turn to some of the most important technological and economic factors driving gun violence:
The Internet as a Platform for Radicalization
Ken and Corey discuss the inherent disembodiment and dehumanization of social media and its effect upon culture, as well as the internet’s power to convene and radicalize people around dangerous and socially malignant ideas. With the Information Age comes an overabundance of bad information, the delegitimization of journalistic institutions, and the spread of anti-intellectualism that Isaac Asimov characterized as “the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” Information no longer flows through experts, it flows around them, giving rise to things like “fake news” and the balkanization of media into multiple echo-chambers that only confirm and reinforce our own pre-existing biases. Our sense of shared reality gets increasingly splintered by this aperspectival madness, and our shared cultural symbols and reference points become fewer and fewer.
Are Video Games to Blame?
Our culture is permeated by violent video games, which goes a step beyond other forms of violent media such as film or music, in that gamers have an interactive and participatory role in that violence. This has caused many to be concerned that our video games are desensitizing us to violence, creating more opportunities for violent wish fulfillment, and other sociopathic tendencies. Ever since Columbine there has been study after study trying to link violent video games to real-world gun violence. And time and time again, the studies tell us that there is no link. While many studies have demonstrated that violent video games do temporarily raise interior arousal and aggression levels in individual gamers, and that there may be a correlation between aggressive behaviors and actions in players of video games, there is no evidence of a causal link between these games and actual violent behavior in the exterior world. If it did, we would expect to see similar trends of gun violence in other nations who spend more money on video games per capita than we do — and that is not what we see at all.
Automation, Wealth Inequality, and Economic Anxiety
Most day-to-day gun violence is committed by poor people, while most high profile mass-shootings are committed by middle class people, predominantly young white men. Much of our gun violence (including suicide) is animated by economic anxiety, including loss of employment. Add to this the additional pressures that workplace automation is creating, which is the primary reason people are losing their jobs throughout the country. However, the blame is typically shifted to things like illegal immigration, which only fuels things like racism, xenophobia, and the culture wars as a whole. But in reality, immigrants are not taking our jobs — robots are. This problem will likely continue to escalate as more jobs are automated, and as things like climate change drive more and more migrant displacement. But automation also provides some exciting opportunities for men and women to continue transforming their roles and identities, as Ken and Corey discuss in this segment.
Because this is such a complex and Integal problem, and because people tend to only identify one or two of these as the “root cause” of violence — typically the political left looks at exterior right-hand causes and solutions to gun violence, while the political right emphasizes interior left-hand causes and solutions — this conversation is one of the most comprehensive takes on the issue that you will hear.
And be sure to stay tuned for the next and final installments of this sweeping 8-hour discussion, where Ken and Corey will begin to explore some possible solutions that can help alleviate the four-quadrant pressures that these factors are contributing to the gun violence problem.
Other factors discussed in this episode:
Part 1: Facts and Factors
Part 2: Mental Health and the Loss of Empathy
Part 3: Pharmaceuticals and SSRIs
Part 4: The Gun as American Archetype
Part 5: Polarization and the Culture Wars
Part 6: Neoliberalism, the Loss of Community, and the Death of Meaning
Part 7: Public Support for Gun Reform
Part 8: The Resurgence of White Supremacist Counterculture
Part 9: Family Values and the Increase of Fatherless Families
In this exclusive 8-hour series, Ken and Corey take an in-depth look at America’s ongoing struggle with gun violence, using the four quadrants to track many of the most critical and commonly-blamed factors, conditions, and causes that seem to be contributing to this terribly wicked problem.
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