Thursday, July 24, 2008

McCain does not know the Internet, thus, does not know the economy he would lead

(source) Getting Old Versus Keeping Current

Comment by Leonard Steinhorn, Prof, School of Communication, American University
Getting Old Versus Keeping Current

Concerns about Senator John McCain's age may be less important than how he keeps himself current and young, and on that account we must ask some relevant questions. Senator McCain seems physically vigorous, and his medical reports all point to a generally healthy man who gets regular check-ups. And despite his occasional gaffes and verbal slip-ups, which some suggest may be a sign of a tired mind, he appears to remain sharp and mentally focused. But general health isn't really the issue. When Senator McCain admits that he really doesn't get the Internet and describes on-line searching as "a Google," it suggests that he doesn't have even a rudimentary appreciation of the new economy and the next generation he hopes to lead. Arguably, our economic vitality these last two decades has been built on an information and knowledge society structured around high technology, social networks, and the Internet. It's not that Senator McCain doesn't have the capacity to understand our new economy, but it's his lack of curiosity and interest that should give voters pause. How will he inspire young people who navigate a different communication and information universe than his? He claims to speak for small business, but how will he lead the many start-ups that advance the frontiers of on-line communication or at a minimum depend on it. The United States is the first nation in history to seek its wisdom from youth rather than its elders, and that's largely because we've been the most technologically advanced and dynamic society in history, and youth adapt to that far faster than their seniors. A president needs to be cognizant of these trends and currents, or at least interested in them, because policy that flows from the White House has consequences on our culture, society, and economy. So the real test for Senator McCain has nothing to do with his age. It has everything to do with the youthfulness of his thinking.

-Leonard Steinhorn, Prof, School of Communication, American University

See also: McCain in cyberspace: "Ich bin ein beginner".


The Serpent Lord said...

Being old is no excuse for lacking curiosity or wisdom. It takes years to develop ignorance. I think the common wisdom of the author that we are the first society to seek wisdom from youth is based on a number of false assumptions. However, a lack of general curiosity and knowledge of the world, combined with a maverick know-it-all agenda in specific areas (i.e. the war in Iraq) seems dangerous.

Positive Psychology studies suggest that wisdom is a measurable quantity but that it changes dramatically in one individual from test to test. People at all ages feel equally wise. This suggests that wisdom is a mood or combination of emotions that makes you want to learn things and to do right.

Other research suggests that disgust, fear and hatred create physical responses which increase our ability to survive physical emergencies, but at the cost of throttling other natural functions like the immune system or the ability to learn.

In other words John McCain may only be able to work himself up about a few issues at a time, and may not be physically capable of general learning and deliberation.

BFGalbraith said...

My ultra-green ultra-conservative grandparents have little contact outside their beach community. Here's the contact they do have:
1) about once every 3 months a trip to their closest large USA city (this is when pick up mail)
2) a weekly trip into the closest Mexican town for church and shopping
3) a telephone which can call out but people can not really call in on
4) Magazines (lots of them, high-end things ranging from Forbes to Scientific American type publications.)

No internet, though they knew how to get it. Basically they don't want to be constantly bothered by people. However, they are amazingly well read and up to date within any given month, and most last-minute big-news items don't impact them much on the beach.

The difference between them and McCain is that they intentionally keep up on technology issues (even suggesting before WoW ever came out the possibility of setting up an MMPORG currency farm.) There wasn't much technology wise I could mention that they didn't have their heads solidly around.

We have a vast communication network that involves the internet, snail mail, phone systems, radio, etc, but McCain situated in the Earth's most important center (DC) fails to keep up on even rudimentary aspects of that communication network. This article is spot-on in that he doesn't realize our economy is dependent on our communication network, which is something that in today's world most junior high students would have known for a few years and totally take for granted.