Saturday, 11 November 2017

The Great Digital Leveler

It's hard to think of a more inherently egalitarian invention than the internet, through the internet everybody has a voice, everybody has a platform, everybody who wants one has a stool in the public square to stand on and preach to the masses. The vast majority of people on the internet will be quite rightly ignored because the main bulk of the content on the internet is drivel. But nevertheless, there is equality in opportunity if not outcome.

 The Left should love the internet, it should be their wildest fantasy come true, finally information and opinion has been socialized, handed to the common man. I am the common man, I spend my working life in a factory pressing a button but even I, via this blog, have a platform, a voice. In theory I have attained equality with the editor of The Times or The Guardian, and while their ''news'' outlets are multi-million dollar operations with large (though decreasing) readerships their opinions are not more valid than mine because of it.

The same can be said of social media, Wehrmacht1488 on Twitter has the same square box to write his views and opinions in as Hillary Clinton, J.K Rowling or David Aaronovitch. Once again, equality has been achieved. The liberal Left should be happy that the every-guy has access to the same platforms as his cultural and political elites, but they aren't.

 In actual fact it's becoming a Code Red, all hands on deck emergency, the every-man having an opinion and then using the internet to convince others of that opinion is regarded as an existential threat. NGO's and lobby groups pour ever increasing amounts of hard cash into research and think tanks dedicated to silencing him. Tactical schematics are drawn up in military fashion decoding the strengths and weaknesses of the enemy positions. As Sweden begins to enter its election cycle the Swedish government and media elites have decided to protect the ''democratic process'' by investing in this:

The purpose of the Swedish ''Civil Contingencies Agency'' is to protect the Swedish democratic process by disrupting ideas being exchanged and discussed online, rather like the old Robert McNamara quote of ''In order to protect the Vietnamese village we had to destroy it'' the Swedish authorities are attempting to reduce the information and ideas available to the Swedish people in order that the democratic process runs smoothly. 

 The argument is that ''Far Right extremists'' are using memes and spreading lies which dupe the white population into voting for Far Right parties. Here's an example of such a meme which I posted on Twitter this week and became (for me) quite popular:

According to panic stricken liberals repeated exposure to such memes causes ''radicalization'' in the white masses who, apparently, have no agency whatsoever and have minds which simply soak up information like a sponge. Exposure to such a meme makes them vote wrongly in elections and therefore undermine the democratic process.

 The internet is often compared to the invention of the printing press, and justifiably so, the wiki article on the printing press features this little nugget:
In Renaissance Europe, the arrival of mechanical movable type printing introduced the era of mass communication, which permanently altered the structure of society. The relatively unrestricted circulation of information and (revolutionary) ideas transcended borders, captured the masses in the Reformation and threatened the power of political and religious authorities.
 The sharp increase in literacy broke the monopoly of the literate elite on education and learning and bolstered the emerging middle class. Across Europe, the increasing cultural self-awareness of its peoples led to the rise of proto-nationalism, and accelerated by the development of European vernacular languages, to the detriment of Latin's status as lingua franca.
Sounds vaguely familiar doesn't it? A ''Far Right'' talking point today, responding to the Wikipedia article might go something like this:
 The ''religious authority'' most threatened by the internet today is not so much the Christian church but rather a synagogue, the cultural mores being undermined and questioned are not the Catholic church's monopoly on scripture written in Latin, but the foundational myth of the post war Western world which has the Holocaust as its ethical foundation, the European original sin as racism and Adolf Hitler replacing Satan.
As an idea, an opinion, it can be debated, perhaps debunked, but the point here is that the establishment aren't interested in engaging with it, they simply want to limit the amount of people exposed to it, just as they would do if it were true, as if they're terrified of something slipping into the public conscious.

 I guess the truth of it is that the modern West is founded on a synthetic myth of self loathing perpetuated by an intelligentsia terrified of differing views who view the common man as a moron incapable of thinking for himself, not much to like about it really, is there?

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