The Death of Digital Democracy
marjorie steele

Interesting perspective, but I’m wondering whether the issue shouldn’t be framed differently. It seems to me that this is not so much about government wanting to censor ideas that don’t support the official narrative, or even about mainstream media conglomerates attempting to put the genie back in the bottle; rather, this is about governments everywhere — not just in the U.S. — trying to reassert authority to prevent the collapse of the vertical power structure, and attempting to reverse, by force, the horizontal restructuring of societies that the internet has unleashed. The government is not simply trying to muzzle opponents; it is fighting for survival.

Now, I wish I shared your optimism about the collective wisdom of WeThePeople, but given what half of America stands for (the social conservative half), I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want them neutered. Look at what the Arab spring brought us — utter chaos and war. You cannot merrily do away with existing power structures and waltz into a future where everyone’s voice has the same weight without sliding into total anarchy. You can’t have the functioning digital democracy we all aspire to without a WeThePeople that is capable of critical thinking — and if you’ve ever watched Fox TV or gone to any pro-Trump, pro-Cruz, pro-life rally you can’t honestly reprimand (cough* BOOMERS) for doubting that the general public is able to judge what’s real and what’s (fill in the blanks) propaganda.

So, yes, by all means, down with government censorship, down with attacks on net neutrality, down with special interests controlling Congress! But until you can have a rational debate with social troglodytes and bring them back into the fold of a shared reality (Clint did say this, if somewhat more diplomatically) I don’t think we should burn down the house. Not yet, anyway.