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Common-Knowledge Attacks on Democracy by Henry Farrell, Bruce Schneier :: SSRN
"Existing approaches to cybersecurity emphasize either international state-to-state logics (such as deterrence theory) or the integrity of individual information systems. Neither provides a good understanding of new “soft cyber” attacks that involve the manipulation of expectations and common understandings. We argue that scaling up computer security arguments to the level of the state, so that the entire polity is treated as an information system with associated attack surfaces and threat models, provides the best immediate way to understand these attacks and how to mitigate them. We demonstrate systematic differences between how autocracies and democracies work as information systems, because they rely on different mixes of common and contested political knowledge. Stable autocracies will have common knowledge over who is in charge and their associated ideological or policy goals, but will generate contested knowledge over who the various political actors in society are, and how they might form coalitions and gain public support, so as to make it more difficult for coalitions to displace the regime. Stable democracies will have contested knowledge over who is in charge, but common knowledge over who the political actors are, and how they may form coalitions and gain public support. These differences are associated with notably different attack surfaces and threat models. Specifically, democracies are vulnerable to measures that “flood” public debate and disrupt shared decentralized understandings of actors and coalitions, in ways that autocracies are not. "
democracy  political-science  technology  information-science  security 
11 weeks ago by tsuomela
Divided We Stand : Democracy Journal
"The Polarizers: Postwar Architects of Our Partisan Era By Sam Rosenfeld • University Of Chicago Press • 336 pages • $30"
book  review  history  political-science  partisanship 
september 2018 by tsuomela
The Recent Unpleasantness: Understanding the Cycles of Constitutional Time by Jack M. Balkin :: SSRN
"This article, originally given as the 2017 Addison C. Harris Lecture at Indiana University, analyzes recent events in terms of three great cycles of change in American constitutional history. The first is the cycle of the rise and fall of political regimes. The second is the cycle of polarization and depolarization. The third is the cycle of the decay and renewal of republican government--the cycle of constitutional rot. Each of these cycles operates on a different time scale. Their interaction generates "constitutional time." Many commentators worry that the United States is in a period of constitutional crisis, or that American democracy is doomed. These fears, although understandable, are overstated. America is not in a constitutional crisis, although it is suffering from a fairly severe case of constitutional rot, connected to rising polarization and economic inequality. Our current difficulties are a temporary condition. They stem from the fact that the Reagan regime that has structured American politics since the 1980s is dying, but a new regime has yet to be born. This is a difficult, agonizing, and humbling transition; and its difficulty is enhanced by the fact that, unlike the last transition, it occurs at the peak of a cycle of polarization and at the low point of a cycle of constitutional rot. For that reason, the transition to a new political regime is likely to be especially difficult. But we will get through it. And when we get through it, about five to ten years from now, American politics will look quite different. Political renewal is hardly foreordained: it will require persistence and political effort. The point of this lecture is to offer a bit of hope in difficult times. If people misunderstand our situation, and conclude that American decline is inevitable, they may unwittingly help to make that fate a reality; but if they understand the cycles of constitutional time, they may come to believe that their democracy can be redeemed, and do their part to realize that worthy goal. "
political-science  law  constitution  history  american-studies 
august 2018 by tsuomela
A Tale of Two States - Los Angeles Review of Books
"The Fall of Wisconsin:The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics By Dan Kaufman Published 07.10.2018 W. W. Norton & Company 336 Pages State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Mean for America’s Future By Manuel Pastor Published 04.03.2018 The New Press 288 Pages"
books  review  political-science  state 
august 2018 by tsuomela
Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, Mason
"Political polarization in America is at an all-time high, and the conflict has moved beyond disagreements about matters of policy. For the first time in more than twenty years, research has shown that members of both parties hold strongly unfavorable views of their opponents. This is polarization rooted in social identity, and it is growing. The campaign and election of Donald Trump laid bare this fact of the American electorate, its successful rhetoric of “us versus them” tapping into a powerful current of anger and resentment. With Uncivil Agreement, Lilliana Mason looks at the growing social gulf across racial, religious, and cultural lines, which have recently come to divide neatly between the two major political parties. She argues that group identifications have changed the way we think and feel about ourselves and our opponents. Even when Democrats and Republicans can agree on policy outcomes, they tend to view one other with distrust and to work for party victory over all else. Although the polarizing effects of social divisions have simplified our electoral choices and increased political engagement, they have not been a force that is, on balance, helpful for American democracy. Bringing together theory from political science and social psychology, Uncivil Agreement clearly describes this increasingly “social” type of polarization in American politics and will add much to our understanding of contemporary politics."
political-science  polarization  partisanship  politics 
may 2018 by tsuomela
Quinn Slobodian – Globalists — Crooked Timber
"Quinn Slobodian’s fantastic intellectual history of neo-liberalism in the international arena, Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism. "
book  review  neoliberalism  history  20c  political-science  international  institutions 
may 2018 by tsuomela
Normcore | Dissent Magazine
"How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt Penguin Random House, 2018, 320 pp. The People Versus Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It by Yascha Mounk Harvard University Press, 2018, 400 pp. Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic by David Frum Harper Collins, 2018, 320 pp. Antipluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy by William A. Galston Yale University Press, 2018, 176 pp. One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet-Deported by E.J. Dionne Jr., Norman J. Ornstein, and Thomas E. Mann St. Martin’s Press, 2017, 354 pp."
books  review  democracy  political-science  america  norms 
may 2018 by tsuomela
The Polarizers: Postwar Architects of Our Partisan Era, Rosenfeld
"Even in this most partisan and dysfunctional of eras, we can all agree on one thing: Washington is broken. Politicians take increasingly inflexible and extreme positions, leading to gridlock, partisan warfare, and the sense that our seats of government are nothing but cesspools of hypocrisy, childishness, and waste. The shocking reality, though, is that modern polarization was a deliberate project carried out by Democratic and Republican activists. In The Polarizers, Sam Rosenfeld details why bipartisanship was seen as a problem in the postwar period and how polarization was then cast as the solution. Republicans and Democrats feared that they were becoming too similar, and that a mushy consensus imperiled their agendas and even American democracy itself. Thus began a deliberate move to match ideology with party label—with the toxic results we now endure. Rosenfeld reveals the specific politicians, intellectuals, and operatives who worked together to heighten partisan discord, showing that our system today is not (solely) a product of gradual structural shifts but of deliberate actions motivated by specific agendas. Rosenfeld reveals that the story of Washington’s transformation is both significantly institutional and driven by grassroots influences on both the left and the right. The Polarizers brilliantly challenges and overturns our conventional narrative about partisanship, but perhaps most importantly, it points us toward a new consensus: if we deliberately created today’s dysfunctional environment, we can deliberately change it."
book  publisher  political-science  polarization  partisanship  politics 
april 2018 by tsuomela
Constituency-Level Elections Archive (CLEA)
"The Constituency-Level Elections Archive (CLEA) is a repository of detailed election results at the constituency level for lower house legislative elections from around the world. Our motivation is to preserve and consolidate these valuable data in one comprehensive and reliable resource that is ready for analysis and publicly available at no cost. This public good is expected to be of use to a range of audiences for research, education, and policy-making. "
elections  data-sources  social-science  political-science 
february 2018 by tsuomela
The Unholy Family
"Melinda Cooper, Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism (Zone Books/MIT Press, 2017)"
book  review  political-science  history  conservatism  neoliberalism  neoconservatism  family  values  capitalism 
february 2018 by tsuomela
Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life | RAND
"Over the past two decades, national political and civil discourse in the United States has been characterized by "Truth Decay," defined as a set of four interrelated trends: an increasing disagreement about facts and analytical interpretations of facts and data; a blurring of the line between opinion and fact; an increase in the relative volume, and resulting influence, of opinion and personal experience over fact; and lowered trust in formerly respected sources of factual information. These trends have many causes, but this report focuses on four: characteristics of human cognitive processing, such as cognitive bias; changes in the information system, including social media and the 24-hour news cycle; competing demands on the education system that diminish time spent on media literacy and critical thinking; and polarization, both political and demographic. The most damaging consequences of Truth Decay include the erosion of civil discourse, political paralysis, alienation and disengagement of individuals from political and civic institutions, and uncertainty over national policy. This report explores the causes and consequences of Truth Decay and how they are interrelated, and examines past eras of U.S. history to identify evidence of Truth Decay's four trends and observe similarities with and differences from the current period. It also outlines a research agenda, a strategy for investigating the causes of Truth Decay and determining what can be done to address its causes and consequences. "
post-truth  polarization  political-science  communication  truth  facts  epistemology  social  epistemic-closure 
january 2018 by tsuomela
How is science like the military? They are politically extreme yet vital to the nation - Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science
Very interesting point that the liberalism of the professoriate is in the same cultural context as the conservatism of the military. Does anyone call for greater viewpoint diversity in the military?
academic  discipline  political-science  culture  military  liberal  conservative  diversity  ideology  political-correctness 
january 2018 by tsuomela
Bright Line Watch
"One of the greatest threats to democracy is the idea that it is unassailable. At a time of potential danger to American demo­c­ra­t­ic norms and insti­tu­tions, it is more urgent than ever for scholars to highlight the risks to our system of gov­ern­ment. In this spirit, Bright Line Watch brings together a group of political sci­en­tists to monitor demo­c­ra­t­ic practices, their resilience, and potential threats."
democracy  political-science  risk  norms 
december 2017 by tsuomela
Faces of Moderation | Aurelian Craiutu
"Aristotle listed moderation as one of the moral virtues. He also defined virtue as the mean between extremes, implying that moderation plays a vital role in all forms of moral excellence. But moderation's protean character—its vague and ill-defined omnipresence in judgment and action—makes it exceedingly difficult to grasp theoretically. At the same time, moderation seems to be the foundation of many contemporary democratic political regimes, because the competition between parties cannot properly function without compromise and bargaining. The success of representative government and its institutions depends to a great extent on the virtue of moderation, yet the latter persists in being absent from both the conceptual discourse of many political philosophers and the campaign speeches of politicians fearful of losing elections if they are perceived as moderates."
book  publisher  moderation  political-science 
october 2017 by tsuomela
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