Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Understanding Rising Populism, Warfare and Authoritarianism

We should not only be teaching “traditional courses” like history and social studies in our U.S. schools today, we should be explicitly studying warfare and the multitude of ways nation states as well as non-state actors wage war with each other across at least five dimensions: In extra-terrestrial space, in cyberspace, in the air, on land, and on the seas. We also need to be explicitly studying media literacy, and the ways in which the “information space” is a critical dimension of conflict as well as influence. Yesterday’s New York Times OpEd, “Powerful Forces are Fracking Our Attention. We Can Fight Back,” calls this educational focus “Attention Education.” (#GiftLink) “Likewar: The Weaponization of Social Media” by Peter Singer and Emerson T. Brooking, provides an outstanding overview of how our daily clicks and sharing acts on Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, the Bird Site, and other social media platforms, are now part of a larger struggle to hack, influence, and alter “hearts and minds.” All of these spaces for human interaction are involved in the rising populism, warfare and authoritarianism we see in many nations of our world in late 2023.

Historian Yuval Noah Harari shared a video on YouTube about two weeks ago titled, “The return of wars, explained.” His analysis about changes in the global liberal order since the most recent U.S. led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as more recent armed conflicts in Ukraine, Israel / The Gaza Strip, Sudan, and elsewhere is prescient and insightful. His call for us as human beings to recognize, remember, and advocate for greater COLLABORATION between nation states, non-governmental groups, and all of us as individuals living in our communities is a vital message.

In educational technology circles as well as “education reform debate” more generally, we often hear the refrain and question, “How are we preparing students for life in our rapidly changing world?”

Add to that list, “By explicitly studying historical as well as contemporary warfare in five dimensions, as well as studying media literacy.”

So ends my rant of the day.

Understanding Rising Populism, Warfare and Authoritarianism” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer