The US has a much softer system of repression and censorship than the Soviet Union did, so it’s not right to say that the one is equivalent to the other.
What will happen to you in the US if you tweet the wrong link or cite the wrong article in an approving manner is that the wheels of suppression will start cycling. A large part of the selection process in the university system is to teach people who will wind up in cultural work what the limits of speech are in a professional context.
Many journalists take this process quite seriously — it’s common for professional editors and reporters to send incensed e-mails to staffers at alma mater newspapers when a young person leaves the reservation. Universities tend to be crystal clear about what forms of speech are permitted, and which are forbidden, with new restrictions upon the lexicon appearing each year.
“Social media” has made almost everyone into a publisher, but it has also helped to make everyone a potential censor. The legal penalties may be ad hoc and largely indirect, but volunteer censors can use the threat of the enforcement certain laws to gain some real power over even powerful and influential people who begin to cross some important lines.
Despite this, many in conventional, censored publishing have expressed worry about the loss of authority which they have experienced. People seem to not read what they used to, and seem to trust what they read less, which is backed up by surveys.
According to Gallup, only 27% of Republicans trust the media — and rightly so, because the media, along with the professoriat, is overwhelmingly hostile to conservative ideas, conservative political parties, and the culture of conservative people.
What do these people tend to turn to instead? They turn to other sources, which have to be passed from person to person, bypassing the semi-official organs of censorship. It’s easy to get some editor or reporter fired, but it’s a pain in the ass to go after people who might not even be based in the same country, but can still publish essentially seditious and subversive material which undermines the ability of the state to enforce its will without opposition.
Hoping to convince the semi-official organs of censorship to stop doing their jobs, which is to censor, is stupid — if the goal is to shift the political order further to the right. That goal can be better accomplished by just speaking to the people directly, which would be possible even with primitive technology, but is even easier with advanced technology, and just continuing that to re-organize the populace out from under the hostile Brezhnev-type bureaucratic order.
Mark Minter says
Tomorrow I have an appointment with the this local official for that ED plan I mentioned to you. He is elected but it more of a managerial role than that of a councilman. He is sort of blue collar, salt of the earth sort of fellow.
(The newpaper editor had an androgynous name and it turned out to be a female. I had talked to someone one else that set the meeting and when I called to confirm, she changed into “send me the doc and I’ll read it then get back to you.” So as you predicted nothing much to expect from this direction. Too soon to say, but once I found it was a female, then as you said, “Cathedral”)
Any advice or thoughts I should store away about how to deal with this guy? I think his deal is stuff like day to day running of things like roads, bridges, etc. His prime concern right now is maybe snow plows. He has a son that is about 13 and is exactly the kind of kid that would benefit from my ideas. He is less than stellar in the classroom but generally well liked. My wife calls the kid “engaging”. And the father had said “What will I do with this kid?”
So any thoughts would be appreciated.
Let me think about it a little. You know, a lot of towns spend way too much money on full-on plows when small contractors with pickup trucks and the right attachment can often do the job just as effectively.
Warehousing plows and renting them out is probably a whole lot cheaper than buying dedicated plows, especially if it’s not an extremely dense urban area.
Mark Minter says
I just mentioned the plows so you had an idea of what kind of guy this is. However the plows give me a way to illustrate the Internet of Things integrated with Geographic Information Systems. There are two large open systems package for each. Both could be implemented in the cloud with enhances for Snow Plow stuff, like big data weather forecasting, mapping of flow activity with GPS, some sensor stuff with IoT (Scada) to measure snowfall. So I know I rent “servers” in Rackspace for 15 a month. I have ssh access and they are raw ubuntu. I have to do a admin stuff. But AWS offers bigger bulk for lower prices per unit of computation and I could partition that stuff out for some SaaS offering of the SnowScada stuff. So this is just an idea of what could be done using Tech. I have no idea if there is any market possibility or not. But it does bring home there core possibilities of implement SCADA in SaaS (in my original case I proposed from Agriculture).
So keep in mind I am seeking the whole “secede” thing, (not in tomorrows presentation of course) but this idea that a town like ours can diverge from the normal path and define its future in novel ways.
“Only 27% of Republicans trust the media”
Sadly, almost 100% of Republican *politicians* trust the media. For example:
Question: Mr. A, what do you have to say about recent reports that your primary opponent, Mr. B, organized mock lynchings and gang rapes in his college fraternity?
Wrong answer: I think it’s disgusting, immoral, and it demonstrates why Mr. B is utterly unfit to hold public office.
Correct answer: I only know what the media has reported in the last few days, so I’ll withhold judgement until the full story comes out and Mr. B has had a chance to defend himself.