Future Generations Will Condemn Us For: Legalizing Bribery Through Campaign Finance
Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah sparked an internet meme with his op/ed entitled "What Will Future Generations Condemn Us For"? The challenge is to predict which widely accepted practices or institutions will be regarded as barbaric by future generations. Apiah argues future generations will look back in horror on our prisons, factory farms, and nursing homes, as well as our casual abuse of the planet. These are all plausible contenders.
Here's my addition: Future generations will condemn us for legalizing bribery by proxy through our campaign finance system. In retrospect, it will be obvious that billionaires and corporations debased the First Amendment by convincing us that money is speech.
Money distorts our politics at every level. Whether you have a future in politics depends on how good you are at raising money. At every stage, the system rewards people who are comfortable hitting up rich donors for money. This is a troubling bias. Fundraising prowess has nothing to do with being a good leader, but it's a make-or-break attribute for an American politician.
The money addiction skews pollitical priorities. Widows and orphans are never going to be players. Factory farmers have more money to spend on elections than blind veal calves and debeaked chickens. Prisoners don't have money, but private prison companies do.
A well-funded special interest group like America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) can strike fear in the hearts of legislators just by threatening to run a barrage of TV ads.
We're going to look back and realize that we could have done something about global warming if Big Coal hadn't bought the votes. We'll have a lot of regrets like that.
[Photo credit: Kevin Dooley, Creative Commons.]
The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think
The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.
The results come from a 15-year study that used ultrasound scans to track blood vessels in middle-aged adults starting in 2002.
- The study measured the stiffness of blood vessels in middle-aged patients over time.
- Stiff blood vessels can lead to the destruction of delicate blood vessels in the brain, which can contribute to cognitive decline.
- The scans could someday become a widely used tool to identify people at high risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's.
Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?
- "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
- The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
- Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.