“As Congress returns from summer recess to a plate heaped with work — President Trump added a gooey serving of immigration reform Tuesday on top of the debt ceiling, the budget, hurricane relief and tax reform — another of America’s key institutions is marking 10 years that shook the world,” David Von Drehle writes for The Washington Post. “When Apple unveiled its first smartphone in 2007, the company sparked a communications revolution likely to be as transformative as Gutenberg’s. It’s the nature of such seismic change to shake the institutions of culture and society to the ground.”
“The explosive essence of the printing press was its ability to transmit information widely across space and time. Laypeople could own and read their own Bibles, and the result was the Reformation. Scientists could record their observations to share with other scientists, and inventors their innovations with other inventors, and the results were the Scientific and Industrial revolutions,” Von Drehle writes. “If all of those changes could flow from oily ink on slugs of alloy, what earthquakes will follow from a technology that gives to nearly every human being the tools of worldwide mass communication? I find the question frankly mind-boggling.”
“We saw last year that the power of the smartphone is vaporizing these functions. Donald Trump captured the Republican ballot line even though he had no appreciable connection to the Republican Party. Nothing like it had ever happened to an American political party,” Von Drehle writes. “Moreover, it’s highly uncertain how much compromise is possible in this new age of direct connectivity. Any Democrat who votes for legislation that frees McConnell from a jam and gives the president an occasion to brag is likely to face a storm of Internet opposition.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Certainly, with the Mac, iPhone, and iPad and the myriad shiteous clones they spawned (Windows PCs, Android phones and tablets), Steve Jobs did more than anybody to deliver the power of personal computing to the masses and therefore enable the free exchange of information by taking the near-total control out of the hands of the traditional gatekeepers – who, by the way, have long been biased and partisan, if not downright corrupt – and into the hands of individuals. So, yes, Steve Jobs helped give rise to modern tools that allow some political candidates to go over the top of the usual controllers (newspapers, television, etc.) and directly to the people.
Today, as Americans assemble to protest our economic plight and the politicians’ fealty to powerful corporate interests, they access unfiltered information and communicate freely with each other through the internet and social networks that could not exist but for the democratization of computer technology pioneered by Steve Jobs. — Harvey Rosenfield, October 5, 2011
We agree that, in the absence of a supermajority in Congress, U.S. politicians will need to stiffen their backbones – or resign themselves to being short-term citizen representatives instead of career politicians – in order to get anything accomplished in a bipartisan manner in today’s climate with Twitter, instant snap polls, astroturfing firms, etc. immediately jumping to congratulate or castigate them for their votes.