(LifeSiteNews) — Former Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern has been rewarded with a prestigious fellowship at Harvard University.
As the Berkman Klein Center (the Center) at Harvard reports, “The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is thrilled to announce Jacinda Ardern as its first Knight Tech Governance Leadership Fellow.”
Ardern herself claims she will “address online harms… and violent extremism online,” explaining that “Emerging technologies such as AI present huge opportunities to address online harms, but also challenges.”
According to the Center, whose past scholars have worked with Matt Taibbi on The Twitter Files, Ardern will be at the forefront of the fight against a new threat – “algorithmic harms.”
She will additionally work closely with BKC leadership to explore emerging challenges of governance to protect against algorithmic harms during a critical moment of the explosive proliferation of generative AI tools.
Her appointment comes months after the publication of a major study into the international coordination of online censorship and surveillance. Dubbed the “Censorship-Industrial Complex,” this ever expanding network of state-sanctioned “fact-checkers” has been explained in detail by Matt Taibbi’s extensive report.
This is the context in which Ardern’s appointment takes place – that of a coordinated and vast effort of surveillance and suppression, which to quote Michael Shellenberger, “Combines established methods of psychological manipulation… with highly sophisticated tools from computer science, including artificial intelligence. The complex’s leaders are driven by the fear that the Internet and social media platforms empower populist, alternative, and fringe personalities and views, which they regard as destabilizing.”
As Taibbi expounds:
In pursuit of that first goal, organized loosely around a thing we’ve been calling ‘The List,’ Racket welcomed people like Lowenthal and Geneve Campbell, (formerly of the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard). With their experience in the “anti-disinformation” space, Andrew and Geneve helped a team of journalists and researchers put together what we hope will be an accessible starter kit for everyday readers hoping to acquaint themselves with the biggest organizational names in the ‘CIC.’
The Censorship-Industrial Complex has found a new champion in Ardern, who infamously asserted that “we will continue to be your single source of truth” on the subject of COVID-19 when she was prime minister of New Zealand in 2020.
Ardern’s monopoly on veracity was cited in the announcement of her appointment as a major qualification for her new role.
Ardern is also noted for the exceptional results of her data-driven, evidence-based public health policy during her nation’s grappling with the COVID crisis.
Her “evidence-based” policies led to bitter divisions in New Zealand, notably between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.
As the New York Times reported on her resignation in January 2023, this “tarnished Liberal icon” led an extreme “Zero COVID” approach, including the implementation of a “lockdown so severe that even retrieving a lost cricket ball from a neighbor’s yard was banned.”
The vaccine mandates she introduced excluded the unvaccinated from ordinary social life. Dr. Simon Thornley was one constant – and well credentialed – critic of Ardern’s “evidence based public health policy.”
An epidemiologist at the University of Auckland, he was an often outspoken critic of Ardern’s stringent measures, which were among the most severe in the world.
“The disillusionment around the vaccine mandates was important,” he stated.
“The creation of a two-class society and that predictions didn’t come out as they were meant to be, or as they were forecast to be in terms of elimination — that was a turning point.”
Ardern’s policies created a systematic regime of discrimination, suspicion, paranoia and hatred whose scope far exceeds that of any “algorithmic harms.” The resulting stigma attached to the unvaccinated was described in a study published in Nature in December, 2022.
We quantify discriminatory attitudes between vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens in 21 countries, covering a diverse set of cultures across the world. Across three conjoined experimental studies (n = 15,233), we demonstrate that vaccinated people express discriminatory attitudes towards unvaccinated individuals at a level as high as discriminatory attitudes that are commonly aimed at immigrant and minority populations3,4,—5. By contrast, there is an absence of evidence that unvaccinated individuals display discriminatory attitudes towards vaccinated people, except for the presence of negative affectivity in Germany and the USA.
This study found that prejudice against the unvaccinated was established worldwide, and had been promoted by the very type of government mandates for which Ardern is celebrated.
That Ardern is cited as an expert on mitigating harm is surprising, as the social polarization resulting from her policies is said to lead to the “entrenchment of conflict” in society.
Furthermore, the damage is likely to endure, as the prejudice created by measures such as Ardern’s “evidence based public health policies” leaves a legacy of division.
In the long run, it may mean that societies leave the pandemic more divided than they entered it.
This is the reason that the authors of the study conclude that politicians like Ardern should take steps to avoid divisive and stigmatizing policies which permanently degrade the fabric of society.
To effectively manage such crises, the authorities should seek to avoid fueling deep animosity between citizens.
This common sense approach – to avoid deliberately sowing hatred among the population – is one which is uncommon in the leadership caste of the liberal consensus.
Ardern became something of a totemic figure in this class, not despite – but because – of the measures she undertook. These policies knowingly dehumanized people whose prudence and independence of mind designated them as her political and social enemies. The punishment was severe, and it was meted out to those who insisted on thinking for themselves.
Politics of harm
More generally, the designation of the people as the enemy of power is a feature, and not a bug, of the current operating system.
This report from Nature is careful to point out the grave harm done to social cohesion by the stringent measures typical of the Ardern government.
…experiences of prejudice and discrimination may have negative long-term effects, hurting well-being, eroding identification with majority society and driving mistrust of the state, including health authorities.
If the consequences of prejudice towards unvaccinated individuals resemble the consequences of prejudice against minority groups, they may exacerbate the mistrust and alienation that led to vaccine refusal in the first place…
The description above corresponds closely to the COVID response of the Ardern administration. This is the evidence of her public health initiatives. Where is that for her capability in combating “algorithmic harms” – whatever they might be?
It is clear from recent measures in the U.K., Ireland and the European Union that our international political class is illiterate in matters of computing.
This ignorance is combined with a breathless enthusiasm to weaponize fear of the freedom of information. The goal is to frighten people into accepting the “need” to be protected from unpasteurized thoughts.
Ardern’s new appointment is not an academic sinecure. A loyal servant of divisive repression, she has been drafted into an information war against the common people of the West. The Berkman Klein Center’s funding page reveals a familiar roster of names – Facebook, Google, Bill Gates, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations – and the World Economic Forum.
Together with the Deep State, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and news aggregator Reuters, the Center is sponsored by a consortium of online and offline agents of harm whose activities are to be obscured or even valorized by informational gatekeepers such as the former New Zealand prime minister.
Her new role is best understood as that of a component in a vast machine. It is a trans-nationally coordinated attempt to permanently destroy privacy under a system of total surveillance. For this she seems eminently well-qualified.
You can read more about the Censorship Industrial Complex here