The Prez Sez
By Bill Davison
To begin with, I would like to extend a hearty welcome to our new members - Joe and Patti Perna, Susan Wu, John Haydu, Robert Macomber and Jessica Nichoff. We all hope that you find yourselves enjoying the NCC and SDWAC Programs as much as many of us have.
Next, I would like to announce that a Nominating Committee has been formed to propose nominations for the Members and Officers of the 2020-2021 NCC Board. Jim Larrimore will lead the Committee and Claudia Spencer, Tibor Varga, Cal Watson and Roseick Reilly will contribute as Committee Members.
Next, I want everyone to know that SDWAC will be holding a very special dinner on March 20 to honor the exceptional contributions to SDWAC and to our Community that M. C. Madhu Madhavan has made during the leadership roles he has played at SDWAC for the past 50 years. The dinner will be held at the Royal India Banquet Hall and the proceeds from it will be used to establish the M.C. Madhavan World Affairs Council Scholarship. For more information and to sign up to attend, please go to www.SDWAC.org.
Well, the few months respite that I promised you is over, so let me ramble on a bit more about civility – and also about the related concept of truth, which is also going through some hard times. I think that the technology evolution we’ve seen over the past 10-20 years has a lot to do with society's apparent loss of respect for civility and is causing some difficult discussions about how a society can help ensure the dominance of truth over falsehoods. This situation arose partially because social media, in order to attract and retain readers, learned to do so with clickbait, i.e. assertions that get people’s emotional attention and cause them click on the text to read more about what has been said. Also, since there is little control over who says what and why, people have learned to exploit the openness of social media to influence others. Exaggerations and simple falsehoods are increasingly common. Something must be done, but it is hard for me to see what that is without trashing the idea of Free Speech. Still, I believe such explorations are absolutely critical if our societies are going to move forward in a responsible way and I view the increasing attention being paid to this issue as very encouraging. It isn’t an easy problem to solve.
The in-person programs presented by NCC are different not just in our choice of speakers but because our Q&A gives everyone a chance to probe the rationale for whatever the speaker has said. Thus we can (hopefully) retain our focus on learning and civility as well as on truth.
That’s enough rambling for another few months – I promise!!!
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