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mattomildenberger on Twitter: "Something I've been meaning to say about The Tragedy of the Commons. Bear with me for a small thread on why our embrace of Hardin is a stain on environmentalism. tldr: we’ve let a flawed metaphor by a racist ecologist defi
[via: "The concept of 'the tragedy of the commons' "is not a legacy based on empirical scholarship, but on a metaphor that doesn't quite hold water."
t h r e a d"
https://twitter.com/hautepop/status/1102903178901766144 ]

[also here: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1102604887223750657.html ]

"Something I've been meaning to say about The Tragedy of the Commons. Bear with me for a small thread on why our embrace of Hardin is a stain on environmentalism. tldr: we’ve let a flawed metaphor by a racist ecologist define environmental thinking for a half century. 1/

Hardin’s article, published in Science, turned 50 this past December. Since then, tens of millions of students have been taught its core message. Every individual seeks to exploit the commons. In doing so they unsustainably overuse our shared resources to the ruin of all. 2/

Google Scholar gives me a current citation count of 38730 (!). Most articles on environmental politics use the phrase at some point or another. It has permeated our lexicon like few other concepts. Here is the original Science essay, btw: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/162/3859/1243
3/

(Side note: Hardin’s piece actually drew on a much earlier 1833 pamphlet by William Forster Lloyd about the dangers of overgrazing the English countryside. Worth a read for those so inclined: https://www.jstor.org/stable/1972412?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents ) 4/

That this metaphor offers some essential insight is taken for granted. A generation of scholarship builds on its back, including in political science and economics. But does it? That's much less clear. 5/

As Susan Cox points out, British commons were exclusive to a defined set of individuals + this use itself was regulated. Commons as an institution worked but were undermined by other factors, including the efforts by the rich to accumulate more land http://dlc.dlib.indiana.edu/dlc/bitstream/handle/10535/3113/buck_NoTragedy.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y 6/

So the metaphor is not actually grounded in an empirically accurate representation of the commons. Other scholars have more strongly contested the logic of Hardin's argument. These range from friendly amendments (Ostrom) to wholesale critiques. 7/

This would all be an academic argument if not for the intellectual roots of Hardin's metaphor and thinking - roots that too few environmentalists acknowledge. 8/

Hardin wasn't a social scientist or on an expert on social organization. Instead, he was a Human Ecology prof at UC Santa Barbara (my home institution) where he taught until his 1978 retirement. (Morbid side note: he and his wife killed themselves in a 2003 suicide pact.) 9/

Have you read Hardin's Science essay lately? It's a mind-numbingly racist piece. And not in a subtle way that demands 2019 woke analysis. Spend the 20 minutes and do it. It’s an ethical mess from beginning to end. 10/
There are headings like “Freedom to Breed is Intolerable”, under which Hardin imagines the benefits that might accrue if “children of improvident parents starve to death”, an outcome stymied (a bad thing to him), by the welfare state. 11/

[image]

For these reasons, he campaigned against such programs as Food for Peace. A few paragraphs later: “If we love the truth we must openly deny the validity of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” I think you get the idea. 12/

And this is par for the course for Hardin, who was also a passionate eugenicist. Oh hey! Look who is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a known white nationalist: https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/garrett-hardin 13/

Lets quote the SPLC: 14/

SPLC has painful quotes from his later work. “Diversity is the opposite of unity, and unity is a prime requirement for national survival” (1991). “My position is that this idea of a multiethnic society is a disaster…we should restrict immigration for that reason.” (1996) 15/

And here is another one, again as an image because, no thanks do I want my twitter history to pop up when people search these things. 16/ [image]

And here is Hardin making an appearance in the infamous racist “Mainstream Science on Intelligence” op-ed. I could go on (and the SPLC does), but you get the idea. http://www.intelligence.martinsewell.com/Gottfredson1997.pdf 17/

Fast forward. Probably you’ve read articles on the intellectual network behind Trump’s nativist, racist demagoguery. Many mention the very influential anti-immigration activist John Tanton, and his Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR): https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/09/27/shadowy-network-shaping-trumps-anti-immigration-policies/
18/

And who was on FAIR’s board, and a close friend of Tanton? Yep, Hardin. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/federation-american-immigration-reform 19/

In my mind, it’s not that Hardin WOULD HAVE been a Trumper. It's that he WAS a Trumper before Trump was a Trumper. He helped build the entire intellectual movement Trump has since exploited. 20/

Now, lots of awful people have left noble ideas that outlive them. But in Hardin’s case, the intellectual legacy is largely built on top of his racist, flawed Science that we still treat as gospel and uncritically assign in undergraduate courses year after year. 21/

It is not a legacy based on empirical scholarship, but on a metaphor that doesn't quite hold water. Not that you would know any of this from the anodyne retrospectives that have sprouted up in the last several months celebrating his article's 50th anniversary. 22/

Fifty years later, the environment community needs to stop ignoring this dark intellectual heritage. A movement that seeks to define a just, vibrant climate future needs to tear away the veneer, and choose what of Hardin to keep and what to discard. 23/

We must ask: on what empirical basis do we accept his metaphor? How do we teach his metaphor? Do we contextualize its racist roots? Is it productive to the social transformation necessary to save the world from the climate crisis? 24/

Not undertaking this honest examination will perpetuate its own (common) tragedy and make our intellectual heritage a form of unwitting support for some of the ugliest social forces at play in the world today. 25/25"
mattmildenberger  garrethardin  2019  en  commons  eugenics  diversity  racism  race  tragedyofthecommons  nativism  immigration  population  science 
17 days ago by robertogreco
The False Science Linking Body Shape to Personality - The Atlantic
People continue to fall back on harmful assumptions about the link between body shape and personality.
body.image  culture  usa  stereotypes  history  eugenics  weird 
6 weeks ago by po
A Better Race Through Birth Control / by Margaret Sanger (The Thinker, November 1923; The Public Papers of Margaret Sanger: Web Edition)
“The object of civilization is to obtain the highest and most splendid culture of which humanity is capable. But such attainment is unthinkable if we continue to breed from the present race stock that yields us our largest amount of progeny. Some method must be devised to eliminate the degenerate and the defective; for these act constantly to impede progress and ever increasingly drag down the human race. This is especially the case in the nations which have reached the highest degree of civilization, for it is just in these nations that the degenerate and defective are enabled to produce the largest number of progeny.”

“Mothers will not submit to the murder of unborn children when they can control conception.”
MargaretSanger  BirthControl  Eugenics 
10 weeks ago by cbearden
Stop Perpetuating The Unfit by a National Policy on Limitation of Families (The Public Papers of Margaret Sanger: Web Edition)
“We need one generation of birth control to weed out the misfits, to breed self-reliant, intelligent, responsible individuals.”
MargaretSanger  BirthControl  Eugenics 
10 weeks ago by cbearden
"My Way to Peace," / Margaret Sanger (typed speech, Jan. 17 1932) (The Public Papers of Margaret Sanger: Web Edition)
“[The Parliament of Population Directors is] to direct and control the population through Birth rates and immigration, and direct its distribution over the country according to national needs consistent with the taste, fitness and interest of the individuals.”
MargaretSanger  Eugenics 
10 weeks ago by cbearden
James Watson Won’t Stop Talking About Race - The New York Times
The Nobel-winning biologist has drawn global criticism with unfounded pronouncements on genetics, race and intelligence. He still thinks he’s right, a new documentary finds.

What a... uhm... surprise.

...and Rosalind Franklin only gets a footnote.
racism  scientism  genetics  eugenics  history 
10 weeks ago by po
The Stories We Were Told about Education Technology (2018)
"It’s been quite a year for education news, not that you’d know that by listening to much of the ed-tech industry (press). Subsidized by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, some publications have repeatedly run overtly and covertly sponsored articles that hawk the future of learning as “personalized,” as focused on “the whole child.” Some of these attempt to stretch a contemporary high-tech vision of social emotional surveillance so it can map onto a strange vision of progressive education, overlooking no doubt how the history of progressive education has so often been intertwined with race science and eugenics.

Meanwhile this year, immigrant, refugee children at the United States border were separated from their parents and kept in cages, deprived of legal counsel, deprived of access to education, deprived in some cases of water.

“Whole child” and cages – it’s hardly the only jarring juxtaposition I could point to.

2018 was another year of #MeToo, when revelations about sexual assault and sexual harassment shook almost every section of society – the media and the tech industries, unsurprisingly, but the education sector as well – higher ed, K–12, and non-profits alike, as well school sports all saw major and devastating reports about cultures and patterns of sexual violence. These behaviors were, once again, part of the hearings and debates about a Supreme Court Justice nominee – a sickening deja vu not only for those of us that remember Anita Hill ’s testimony decades ago but for those of us who have experienced something similar at the hands of powerful people. And on and on and on.

And yet the education/technology industry (press) kept up with its rosy repetition that social equality is surely its priority, a product feature even – that VR, for example, a technology it has for so long promised is “on the horizon,” is poised to help everyone, particularly teachers and students, become more empathetic. Meanwhile, the founder of Oculus Rift is now selling surveillance technology for a virtual border wall between the US and Mexico.

2018 was a year in which public school teachers all over the US rose up in protest over pay, working conditions, and funding, striking in red states like West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma despite an anti-union ruling by the Supreme Court.

And yet the education/technology industry (press) was wowed by teacher influencers and teacher PD on Instagram, touting the promise for more income via a side-hustle like tutoring rather by structural or institutional agitation. Don’t worry, teachers. Robots won’t replace you, the press repeatedly said. Unsaid: robots will just de-professionalize, outsource, or privatize the work. Or, as the AI makers like to say, robots will make us all work harder (and no doubt, with no unions, cheaper).

2018 was a year of ongoing and increased hate speech and bullying – racism and anti-Semitism – on campuses and online.

And yet the education/technology industry (press) still maintained that blockchain would surely revolutionize the transcript and help insure that no one lies about who they are or what they know. Blockchain would enhance “smart spending” and teach financial literacy, the ed-tech industry (press) insisted, never once mentioning the deep entanglements between anti-Semitism and the alt-right and blockchain (specifically Bitcoin) backers.

2018 was a year in which hate and misinformation, magnified and spread by technology giants, continued to plague the world. Their algorithmic recommendation engines peddled conspiracy theories (to kids, to teens, to adults). “YouTube, the Great Radicalizer” as sociologist Zeynep Tufekci put it in a NYT op-ed.

And yet the education/technology industry (press) still talked about YouTube as the future of education, cheerfully highlighting (that is, spreading) its viral bullshit. Folks still retyped the press releases Google issued and retyped the press releases Facebook issued, lauding these companies’ (and their founders’) efforts to reshape the curriculum and reshape the classroom.

This is the ninth year that I’ve reviewed the stories we’re being told about education technology. Typically, this has been a ten (or more) part series. But I just can’t do it any more. Some people think it’s hilarious that I’m ed-tech’s Cassandra, but it’s not funny at all. It’s depressing, and it’s painful. And no one fucking listens.

If I look back at what I’ve written in previous years, I feel like I’ve already covered everything I could say about 2018. Hell, I’ve already written about the whole notion of the “zombie idea” in ed-tech – that bad ideas never seem to go away, that just get rebranded and repackaged. I’ve written about misinformation and ed-tech (and ed-tech as misinformation). I’ve written about the innovation gospel that makes people pitch dangerously bad ideas like “Uber for education” or “Alexa for babysitting.” I’ve written about the tech industry’s attempts to reshape the school system as its personal job training provider. I’ve written about the promise to “rethink the transcript” and to “revolutionize credentialing.” I’ve written about outsourcing and online education. I’ve written about coding bootcamps as the “new” for-profit higher ed, with all the exploitation that entails. I’ve written about the dangers of data collection and data analysis, about the loss of privacy and the lack of security.

And yet here we are, with Mark Zuckerberg – education philanthropist and investor – blinking before Congress, promising that AI will fix everything, while the biased algorithms keep churning out bias, while the education/technology industry (press) continues to be so blinded by “disruption” it doesn’t notice (or care) what’s happened to desegregation, and with so many data breaches and privacy gaffes that they barely make headlines anymore.

Folks. I’m done.

I’m also writing a book, and frankly that’s where my time and energy is going.

There is some delicious irony, I suppose, in the fact that there isn’t much that’s interesting or “innovative” to talk about in ed-tech, particularly since industry folks want to sell us on the story that tech is moving faster than it’s ever moved before, so fast in fact that the ol’ factory model school system simply cannot keep up.

I’ve always considered these year-in-review articles to be mini-histories of sorts – history of the very, very recent past. Now, instead, I plan to spend my time taking a longer, deeper look at the history of education technology, with particular attention for the next few months, as the title of my book suggests, to teaching machines – to the promises that machines will augment, automate, standardize, and individualize instruction. My focus is on the teaching machines of the mid-twentieth century, but clearly there are echoes – echoes of behaviorism and personalization, namely – still today.

In his 1954 book La Technique (published in English a decade later as The Technological Society), the sociologist Jacques Ellul observes how education had become oriented towards creating technicians, less interested in intellectual development than in personality development – a new “psychopedagogy” that he links to Maria Montessori. “The human brain must be made to conform to the much more advanced brain of the machine,” Ellul writes. “And education will no longer be an unpredictable and exciting adventure in human enlightenment , but an exercise in conformity and apprenticeship to whatever gadgetry is useful in a technical world.” I believe today we call this "social emotional learning" and once again (and so insistently by the ed-tech press and its billionaire backers), Montessori’s name is invoked as the key to preparing students for their place in the technological society.

Despite scant evidence in support of the psychopedagogies of mindsets, mindfulness, wellness, and grit, the ed-tech industry (press) markets these as solutions to racial and gender inequality (among other things), as the psychotechnologies of personalization are now increasingly intertwined not just with surveillance and with behavioral data analytics, but with genomics as well. “Why Progressives Should Embrace the Genetics of Education,” a NYT op-ed piece argued in July, perhaps forgetting that education’s progressives (including Montessori) have been down this path before.

This is the only good grit:

[image of Gritty]

If I were writing a lengthier series on the year in ed-tech, I’d spend much more time talking about the promises made about personalization and social emotional learning. I’ll just note here that the most important “innovator” in this area this year (other than Gritty) was surely the e-cigarette maker Juul, which offered a mindfulness curriculum to schools – offered them the curriculum and $20,000, that is – to talk about vaping. “‘The message: Our thoughts are powerful and can set action in motion,’ the lesson plan states.”

The most important event in ed-tech this year might have occurred on February 14, when a gunman opened fire on his former classmates at Marjory Stone Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 students and staff and injuring 17 others. (I chose this particular school shooting because of the student activism it unleashed.)

Oh, I know, I know – school shootings and school security aren’t ed-tech, ed-tech evangelists have long tried to insist, an argument I’ve heard far too often. But this year – the worst year on record for school shootings (according to some calculations) – I think that argument started to shift a bit. Perhaps because there’s clearly a lot of money to be made in selling schools “security” products and services: shooting simulation software, facial recognition technology, metal detectors, cameras, social media surveillance software, panic buttons, clear backpacks, bulletproof backpacks, … [more]
audreywatters  education  technology  edtech  2018  surveillance  privacy  personalization  progressive  schools  quantification  gamification  wholechild  montessori  mariamontessori  eugenics  psychology  siliconvalley  history  venturecapital  highereducation  highered  guns  gunviolence  children  youth  teens  shootings  money  influence  policy  politics  society  economics  capitalism  mindfulness  juul  marketing  gritty  innovation  genetics  psychotechnologies  gender  race  racism  sexism  research  socialemotional  psychopedagogy  pedagogy  teaching  howweteach  learning  howwelearn  teachingmachines  nonprofits  nonprofit  media  journalism  access  donaldtrump  bias  algorithms  facebook  amazon  disruption  data  bigdata  security  jacquesellul  sociology  activism  sel  socialemotionallearning 
12 weeks ago by robertogreco
It might be a pseudo science, but students take the threat of eugenics seriously
While hecklers derided the protest as an overreaction, students have good reason for taking eugenics seriously. UCL has a long history of support for scientific racism, beginning with Francis Galton, the Victorian polymath who, among other achievements, founded the science of eugenics. UCL’s Galton Chair in National Eugenics, which survived under that name until 1996, was first held by Karl Pearson, another ardent racial eugenicist. Pearson talked about creating a nation from “the better stocks” while conducting war with the “inferior races”, and in 1925 co-authored an article published in the Annals of Eugenics warning of the dangers of allowing Russian and Polish Jewish children into Britain. The London Conference on Intelligence was held in a building named in Pearson’s honour.
eugenics  history  politics  intelligence 
december 2018 by kmt
[Notes on Eugenics and Birth Control] / Margaret Sanger [1923]
“Sentimental humanitarianism has constantly interfered with natural selection. The ‘slave morality’ which Nietzsche so eloquently denounces has been invoked in favor of the preservation and propagation of the unfit; poverty, sickness, humility have been exalted, first by theology and later by social-democratic legislation, a marked contradiction between social convention and private conviction. Well-to-do classes practice Birth Control but condemn it for the poor. The Roman Catholic Church condemns it as a public practice, while the prelates of the Church themselves practice it religiously.”
MargaretSanger  Eugenics  Nietzsche  BirthControl 
november 2018 by cbearden
The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda / by Margaret Sanger (Birth Control Review, 1921/10)
“As an advocate of Birth Control, I wish to take advantage of the present opportunity to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the ‘unfit’ and the ‘fit’, admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation to the mentally and physically fit though less fertile parents of the educated and well-to-do classes. On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.”
MargaretSanger  Eugenics  BirthControl 
november 2018 by cbearden
America Needs a Code for Babies: A Plea for Equal Distribution of Births / by Margaret Sanger (typed draft article, 1934/03/27)
“Article 8. Feeble-minded persons, habitual congenital criminals, those afflicted with inheritable disease, and others found biologically unfit by authorities qualified judge should be sterilized or, in cases of doubt, should be so isolated as to prevent the perpetuation of their afflictions by breeding.”
MargaretSanger  Eugenics  SocialPlanning 
november 2018 by cbearden
Birth Control and Racial Betterment / by Margaret Sanger (Birth Control Review, 1919/02)
“While I personally believe in the sterilization of the feeble-minded, the insane and syphilitic, I have not been able to discover that these measures are more than superficial deterrents when applied to the constantly growing stream of the unfit. They are excellent means of meeting a certain phase of the situation, but I believe in regard to these, as in regard to other eugenic means, that they do not go to the bottom of the matter. Neither the mating of healthy couples nor the sterilization of certain recognized types of the unfit touches the great problem of unlimited reproduction of those whose housing, clothing, and food are all inadequate to physical and mental health. These measures do not touch those great masses, who through economic pressure populate the slums and there produce in their helplessness other helpless, diseased and incompetent masses, who overwhelm all that eugenics can do among those whose economic condition is better.”
MargaretSanger  Eugenics  Sterlization 
november 2018 by cbearden
“Charles Lane discovered that 17 researchers cited in the book’s bibliography were contributors to… (ifthedevilsix | Medium)
" Charles Lane discovered that 17 researchers cited in the book’s bibliography were contributors to the racist journal Mankind Quarterly. Murray and Hernstein also relied on at least 13 scholars who had received grants from the Pioneer Fund, established and run by men who were Nazi sympathizers, eugenicists, and advocates of white racial superiority.” (mmfa)

“According to the bibliography of The Bell Curve, and to back issues of the Mankind Quarterly, the seventeen are W.J. Andrews, Cyril Burt, Raymond B. Cattell (eight citations), Hans J. Eysenck, Seymour Itzkoff, Arthur Jensen (twenty-three citations), Richard Lynn (twenty-four citations), Robert E. Kuttner, Frank C.J. McGurk (six citations), C.E. Noble, R. Travis Osborne (three citations), Roger Pearson, J. Philippe Rushton (eleven citations), William Shockley, Audrey Shuey, Daniel Vining (three citations), and Nathaniel Weyl.” (Lane) "
white-supremacists  eugenics 
november 2018 by kellyramsey
“Silicon Valley’s First Founder Was Its Worst”, a profile of William Shockley, by Scott Rosenberg for WIRED
Misbehavior doesn't flourish in a vacuum; it's usually a product of family dynamics. And more than any other individual, Shockley was the founding father of Silicon Valley. Today he is a mostly dishonored patriarch, for good reason: He spent the second half of his career, from the 1960s on, espousing a racist eugenics agenda, taking occasional breaks to help promote a high-IQ sperm bank. He ended up a disgraced bigot—ostracized and (as his biographer speculates) perhaps mentally ill.
racism  siliconvalley  eugenics  techindustry 
october 2018 by beep

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