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After Protests Turn Violent, Iraqi Kurdish Stop Worshipping Their Military | Niqash, Jan 4, 2018
Once Iraqi Kurdish soldiers were only seen as heroes who protected the Kurdish people from external enemies. But after recent protests that saw soldiers turn on demonstrators, that is changing.
KRG  KDP  PUK  repression  protests  public_opinion 
15 days ago by elizrael
Authoritarian Nostalgia Among Iraqi Youth: Roots and Repercussions - War on the Rocks, July 25, 2018
A common refrain these days is that Iraq “needs a strong leader like Saddam.” During my time in the country, I heard these sentiments expressed by teenagers and twenty-somethings who were, at most, elementary school students during the Ba’athist era. These observations, though anecdotal, are corroborated by survey projects. Both the Arab Barometer and the Shi’a pilgrims survey—which was conducted by MIT’s Fotini Christia, Elizabeth Dekeyser and Dean Knox and encompassed a broader sample of Shi’a Iraqis –have similarly documented a feeling among young Iraqis that the country isn’t meant to be democratically governed. The Arab Barometer finds that “…most Iraqis are not perfectly convinced of the suitability of democracy for their country.” Relatedly, my observations and those in the Shi’a pilgrims survey indicate that even the Shi’a – a group Saddam had particularly targeted and who arguably are the “winners” of the post-2003 order – are expressing these sentiments of democratic dissatisfaction and authoritarian nostalgia.

Iraqi youth have created two separate false dichotomies. First, they seem to think that if their present-day political leaders are “bad,” then it must mean Saddam was “good” or vice-versa. Second, they believe there is a trade-off between stability and democracy and that Iraqis are uniquely unsuited to the latter. These beliefs reflect a lack of engagement in and understanding of democracy.

Beyond their aspirations to regional power, Iraqi youth are equally, if not more, interested in improving their economic prospects. Popular narratives of public employment opportunities, better educational standards and the provision of public services under Saddam neglect to mention that salaries were meager and public service provision prioritized Baghdad at the expense of other provinces. Unlike previous generations who had to contend with the immense brutality of Saddam’s regime, youth can afford to imagine the past in much rosier terms. In the words of a young man from Kerbala, “What did Saddam actually ever do to us?” Born in 2000, his only memories are of post-Ba’athist Iraq. Like his peers who are reeling from the aftershocks of the Arab Spring across the Middle East, he is willing to sacrifice freedom for stability and a job.
Shia  authoritarian_regime  Iraq  corruption  youth  Saddam_Hussein  polls  public_opinion 
16 days ago by elizrael
SocArXiv Papers | Exposure to Opposing Views can Increase Political Polarization: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment on Social Media
There is mounting concern that social media sites contribute to political polarization by creating ``echo chambers" that insulate people from opposing views about current events. We surveyed a large sample of Democrats and Republicans who visit Twitter at least three times each week about a range of social policy issues. One week later, we randomly assigned respondents to a treatment condition in which they were offered financial incentives to follow a Twitter bot for one month that exposed them to messages produced by elected officials, organizations, and other opinion leaders with opposing political ideologies. Respondents were re-surveyed at the end of the month to measure the effect of this treatment, and at regular intervals throughout the study period to monitor treatment compliance. We find that Republicans who followed a liberal Twitter bot became substantially more conservative post-treatment, and Democrats who followed a conservative Twitter bot became slightly more liberal post-treatment. These findings have important implications for the interdisciplinary literature on political polarization as well as the emerging field of computational social science.
political_psychology  cultural_cognition  bias  public_opinion  opinion_dynamics  dmce  teaching  via:nyhan 
march 2018 by rvenkat
Campus political correctness: Data paints a different picture - Vox
-- There is a difference between espousing idealistic commitments to norms (here freedom of speech) and actually actively promoting and participating in the preservation of such norms. I think public opinion reflects the virtue signaling tendencies of the run of the mill liberal and is very different from the latter kind which requires that individuals contribute to public goods necessary for norm and institution maintenance.

There is a difference between signaling a belief in such values and actually sitting in student body meetings, faculty senate and bureaucratic board rooms and fighting hard for it and taking a stand against the *shouting class*.
survey  public_opinion  freedom_of_speech  university  liberalism  vox 
march 2018 by rvenkat
Trump's real plan for 2018 - Axios
A source close to the White House tells me that with an eye to getting Republicans excited about voting for Republicans in midterms, the president this year will be looking for "unexpected cultural flashpoints" — like the NFL and kneeling — that he can latch onto in person and on Twitter.
election  politics  postman  publicsphere  public_opinion  hate  twitter 
february 2018 by rachaelsullivan

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