Cheap communications technology makes media more democratic

That, like all things merely human, has a good side and a bad side.  The good side is obvious: media stops being the plaything of a few rich men and women. The joy of watching Old Media squirm at being caught in a lie by the vigilant fact checkers of the blogosphere should warm the cockles of any normal person’s heart.

But on the downside, cheap media technology also gives us the Any Idiot With a Keyboard phenomenon which allow people to live out the motto “So that No Thought of Mine, No Matter How Stupid, Will Ever Go Unpublished Again!”

Case in point: Kevin O’Brien sends along a link to this latest piece of demagoguery from the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism:

He remarks:

Innuendo, non-sequiters, demagoguery. I mean, the conservative cause certainly can do better than this.

If this guy wants to attack unions, let him have the stones to man up and make a case against unions, instead of creating a really bizarre straw man argument that liberals conflate union membership with families so that union thugs become lovable. There is simply no evidence that the term “workers” means “people who don’t work”, or that a person who uses the word “worker” is a crypto-Marxist. This is anti-intellectual demagoguery at its worst.

Cheap technology allows ordinary people to do great–and awful–things. It’s a force multiplier. So a couple of people, working in their basement can, say, do stuff like this, bringing joy to the hearts of a vast audience:

or 19 guys can do something that an entire nation state could not accomplish 60 years ago:

The internet makes it possible to multiply the effects of human virtue–and human sinfulness. It reminds us that mere democracy–like mere capitalism, or a mere hammer, or a mere computer–is neither good nor evil. It’s a tool. Put it in the right hands and it does good. Put it in the wrong hands and it’s a deadly weapon.

  • Ted Seeber

    “The internet makes it possible to multiply the effects of human virtue–and human sinfulness. It reminds us that mere democracy–like mere capitalism, or a mere hammer, or a mere computer–is neither good nor evil. It’s a tool. Put it in the right hands and it does good. Put it in the wrong hands and it’s a deadly weapon.”

    That is a far cry from Adam Smith and Thomas Jefferson’s irrational belief in the invisible power of the mob (or the market, or the people, respectively, if you want to be nice about the terminology). Forgetting that the mob can be used for evil, is the central fallacy of self-rule.


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