Sunday, June 24, 2012

How Transparency Will End Tyranny

by L.S. McGill

Most of you followed last year’s revolution in Egypt, and how protestors used Twitter, Facebook, etc, and the effort the government made to “shut down the internet”. This illustrated very effectively how the internet is a tool that is inherently hostile to “information control.”

Sure, the government shut down the internet. But they did so far too late, and the populace simply built a makeshift new internet out of mesh networks, dial-up lines, and basically has kept right on. It’s a story that you should really pay attention to because you are going to see it repeated more and more frequently. Why? Because the internet has taken over the role that cities once had.

No civilization in history has been created without cities, because cities were “hubs of information.” Traders could get knowledge of the best areas to trade goods; politicians could get knowledge about other cities’ the common people could hear about ideas from far and wide. Cities have driven the advancement of human civilization precisely because they allowed knowledge to be shared among far more people than was possible without cities.

But we’ve been growing beyond cities, first with radio, TV, and cars, which allowed ideas to be distributed between cities and from cities into the rural areas, and now with the internet, which not only allows distribution, but exchange.

As a medium of knowledge exchange, there is nothing humans have ever created before that comes close to the scope and spread of the internet. You no longer have to be able to go to a far away library to have access to knowledge, or even to your local one. From scientific papers, to news, to opinion, to knock down drag out information exchange brawls, the internet has created a “nervous system” for the human metaorganism. It’s primitive, but it’s allowing people all over the world to communicate, and making us all aware of the larger world outside the walls of our homes.

And, as Egypt’s former president learned, when people can share knowledge, they grow ever less willing to be controlled.

Tyranny relies on isolation. It relies on control of information and making those tyrannized have a worldview that makes them feel isolated and alone. A tyrant wants everyone to be suspicious of everyone else, and to believe that rebelling is pointless because they would be one lone voice that would be quickly silenced. They want people to feel terrified of the “world outside” of the tyranny so that people will tolerate the “lesser of two evils.” But that’s impossible to do with the internet. When people can connect without borders and can talk to people all over the world, isolation is impossible.

McGill's article continues here--->How Transparency Will End Tyranny