Because nobody could have possibly predicted any of this, except for all those untouchable alt-right bigots well versed in human biodiversity and astute students of human nature.
Everyone else thought that wiring up L’Booshondria’s and Nu’dandrifftavious’s house with a big fat broadband pipe would mean they’d spend their days looking up and reading astrophysics doctoral theses from Caltech’s servers rather than whoring and thugging.
Remember the MIT project One Laptop Per Child? (OLPC). Well, inexpensive smartphones have made the OLPC project moot, pretty much. But it was able to ship OLPC laptops to black Africa before that happened. And what was the first thing that many of the kiddies did when they got them? Look at porn.
But it’s not just time spent on screen that separates rich and poor. It’s also the content. A 2013 survey by Common Sense Media found that the percentage of kids whose parents had downloaded any educational app for them varied greatly by income. Only 35 percent of children in families making less than $30,000 a year had such apps, compared with 49 percent of kids in the $35,000 to $75,000 category and 75 percent of families making over $75,000 a year.
Polite society instructs us to think of to think of the educational app download rate as the x axis and household income as the y axis. Untouchable alt-right bigots well-versed in human biodiversity think of both factors as y axis dependent variables of IQ and other factors.
Or take some recent findings from the MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Political Participation. Surveying young people from ages 15 to 29, researchers found that “young people from socioeconomically disadvantaged households are more likely to get their political information from new online media sources [like Facebook and other social-media platforms] than young people from households with more abundant resources.” And “young people with more socioeconomic resources are more likely to turn to traditional news sources” like print and online newspapers.
While the researchers breathlessly report that the use of new media sources are “mobilizing young people” and that they are “bypassing traditional gatekeepers and mobilizing informal connected networks to make social change,” the truth is that their over-reliance on social media for news may be making them less informed. Whatever young people’s attitudes toward traditional newspapers, these institutions full of paid reporters and editors tend to be a little more responsible about fact-checking than your friend on Instagram.
Wait what? Are you telling me that low information undertow is as low information undertow does? A better way of putting that is that the low information undertow does because the low information undertow is.
The problem with that is that even the supposedly credible news feeds on social media are nothing more than overglorified NYT feed readers. Rush Limbaugh has said, or rather lamented, that Facebook gave the mainstream media its monopoly back, and I have a very hard time making a case otherwise.
I’ll leave you with Reynolds’s Law, applicable in this matter:
The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.