Ross douthat_ the digital tyrant in your pocket _ pittsburgh post-gazette

So far, in my ongoing series of columns making the case for implausible ideas, I’ve fixed race relations and solved the problem of a workless working class. Most fast food restaurants So now it’s time to turn to the real threat to the human future: the one in your pocket or on your desk, the one you might be reading this column on right now.

Search your feelings, you know it to be true: You are enslaved to the internet. Fast food restaurants in america Definitely if you’re young, increasingly if you’re old, your day-to-day, minute-to-minute existence is dominated by a compulsion to check email and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram with a frequency that bears no relationship to any communicative need.


Compulsions are rarely harmless. Top fast food restaurants 2016 The internet is not the opioid crisis; it is not likely to kill you (unless you’re hit by a distracted driver) or leave you ravaged and destitute. Fast food restaurants in my area But it requires you to focus intensely, furiously and constantly on the ephemera that fills a tiny little screen, and experience the traditional graces of existence — your spouse and friends and children, the natural world, good food and great art — in a state of perpetual distraction.

Used within reasonable limits, of course, these devices also offer us new graces. What fast food restaurants are open But we are not using them within reasonable limits. Famous fast food restaurants They are the masters; we are not. Best fast food restaurants in the world They are built to addict us, as social psychologist Adam Alter’s new book “Irresistible” points out — and to madden us, distract us, arouse us and deceive us. Top 10 worst fast food restaurants We primp and perform for them as for a lover; we surrender our privacy to their demands; we wait on tenterhooks for every “like.” The smartphone is in the saddle, and it rides mankind.

Which is why we need a social and political movement — digital temperance, if you will — to take back some control.

“Temperance?” you might object, with one eye on the latest outrage shared by your co-partisans on social media. How many fast food restaurants in the us “You mean, like, Prohibition? For something everyone relies on for their daily work and lives, that’s the basis for our economic — hang on, I just need to ‘favorite’ this tweet …”

No, not like Prohibition. How many fast food restaurants in america Temperance doesn’t have to mean teetotaling; it can simply mean a culture of restraint that tries to keep a specific product in its place. Cheap fast food restaurants near me And the internet, like alcohol, may be an example of a technology that should be sensibly restricted in custom and in law.

Of course it’s too soon to fully know (and indeed we can never fully know) what online life is doing to us. Close fast food restaurants near me It certainly delivers some social benefits and some intellectual advantages, and it contributes an important share to recent economic growth.

But there are also excellent reasons to think that online life breeds narcissism, alienation and depression, that it’s an opiate for the lower classes and an insanity-inducing influence on the politically engaged, and that it takes more than it gives from creativity and deep thought. Closest fast food restaurants near me Meanwhile the age of the internet has been, thus far, an era of bubbles, stagnation and democratic decay — hardly a golden age whose customs must be left inviolate.

So a digital temperance movement would start by resisting the wiring of everything, and seek to create more spaces in which internet use is illegal, discouraged or taboo. All fast food restaurants near me Toughen laws against cellphone use in cars, keep computers out of college lecture halls, put special “phone boxes” in restaurants where patrons would be expected to deposit their devices, confiscate smartphones being used in museums and libraries and cathedrals, create corporate norms that strongly discourage checking email in a meeting.

Then there are the starker steps. Local fast food restaurants near me Get computers — all of them — out of elementary schools, where there is no good evidence that they improve learning. Best fast food restaurants near me Let kids learn from books for years before they’re asked to go online for research; let them play in the real before they’re enveloped by the virtual.

Then keep going. Healthy fast food restaurants near me The age of consent should be 16, not 13, for Facebook accounts. Top 10 fast food restaurants in the world Kids under 16 shouldn’t be allowed on gaming networks. Chinese food restaurants near my location High school students shouldn’t bring smartphones to school. Exotic food restaurants near me Kids under 13 shouldn’t have them at all. Food restaurants If you want to buy your child a cellphone, by all means: In the new dispensation, Verizon and Sprint will have some great “voice-only” plans available for minors.

I suspect that versions of these ideas will be embraced within my lifetime by a segment of the upper class and a certain kind of religious family. Fast food and restaurants near me But the masses will still be addicted, and the technology itself will have evolved to hook and immerse — and alienate and sedate — more completely and efficiently.

But what if we decided that what’s good for the Silicon Valley overlords who send their kids to a low-tech Waldorf school is also good for everyone else? Our devices we shall always have with us, but we can choose the terms. Fast food restaurants near me open now We just have to choose together, to embrace temperance and paternalism both. Fast food restaurants near me open 24 hours Only a movement can save you from the tyrant in your pocket.

Ross Douthat is a columnist for The New York Times (Twitter @DouthatNYT).

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