The rise of the internet has a historical parallel in the invention of the printing press in the West. Moderns don’t think about this too much, but the printing press was cataclysmic to the powers that existed in Europe in 1450. It was the end of the medieval era, the end of the rule of Kings by force and Church by fear of the fires of hell, and the beginning of the devolution of power to …. people who controlled the printing press. This was recognized by the powers of the time and various attempts at censorship were made. Censorship before this era was trivial: the Church had a near monopoly on literate people and books and the powers that be employed the rest of the literate people to keep an eye on each other. After the printing press, all kinds of local elites grew up around distribution of information: Martin Luther probably would have been leader of some obscure sect like the Waldensians or other proto-protestant heretics who originated before the printing press. There probably wouldn’t have been a thirty years war, to say nothing of the eighty years war and the Dutch Republic (they were espanich before), no Switzerland, and the Pope might still have an army. The type of country we typically think of as “democratic” (aka pluralistic merchant Republics) came about from the Dutch Republic, which means the political organization most of the world pretends to use today took its shape in part because of the printing press.
Radio, film and television altered the media power structure, and indeed there were great wars and political upheavals around the time of their introduction. Radio, film and television also could be said to have brought about various totalizing systems such as Communism and Fascism; to say nothing of New Deal and Civil Rights America, neither of which is anything like a pluralistic merchant Republic in the Dutch style even if it continues to observe some of the old forms. The production of radio, film and television required great resources as printing operations did, thus the overall shape of political power didn’t change so much: it only became more centralized. Ultimately, propaganda needed a factory for production, and it needed the government to divvy up the signal needed to transmit it. Not coincidentally, around the time of broadcast propaganda, the old fashioned printing press distribution channels became more centralized and more thoroughly under control by centralizing tendencies. Publishing companies, for example, have limited distribution channels. The various newspapers became more and more obviously some oligarch’s propaganda channel as the weaker more local ones died out.
One of the things they managed to do with radio, film and especially television was reach the effectively illiterate (which even today is probably the majority in any country). These act as a great homogenizing force across vast geographic regions in ways which “educational” campaigns could not. Countries like France, for example, still had thousand year old linguistic regions with literatures, songs, traditions that were wiped out by radio and television (Occitan/Provencal, Burgundian/Oil, Breton, Catalan, Basque). Those people were French before, but after the radio, much more culturally homogeneous. This was a great loss for cultural diversity; Occitan poetry is widely considered some of the finest ever written. Television propaganda also eventually convinced the peasants that sending most women of child-bearing age to work (while halving men’s pay -nobody noticed because they were hypnotized by the TV machine) was liberation. Probably the greatest social upheaval in human history: it’s mostly a TV driven scam designed to keep down inflation for the owners.
The means of information dispersal is no longer the printing press or teevee machine, it’s the internet, specifically people’s ipotatoes. The governments of the world didn’t see the great danger for 20-30 years. By my reckoning, the affirmative action DMV-tier dipshits who run the US didn’t start worrying until Obama’s second term and is in complete hysterical melt down mode at this point as their various impostures have failed, one after the other. There are even state censors, though for whatever reason they’re not called that. Here’s a funny takedown of a particularly stupid one.
The present clerisy “expertocracy” has been in power roughly from the time of radio. These are people who take on the mantle of “science” and technology which in the time between radio and television was a real power in the world. It’s possible the “expertocrats” knew something back then, but probably not: the people who pushed science and technology forward generally weren’t “experts” -they were mostly gentleman amateurs and industrialists (early government programs like NIST and the FDA were also pretty useful). The “experts” were always parasitic middlemen whose authority came from certification and propaganda techniques in place in those days. They were trusted because science was doing some good at the time, but an awful lot of the stuff they came up with is now known to be bullshit and graft.
By now it’s clear there has been no major physical technological development since the ipotato, if that even counts, which it shouldn’t, but people keep telling me it’s the shizz. That’s 16 years: a technological eternity back in the early 20th century. It was also a fairly marginal “invention” which was more of a popularization of things in place for 10 years already. Since our clerisy hasn’t been able to deliver anything, it has invented new forms of “social progress” -most of which are luxury beliefs which deny reality. This is for dividing up the good seats in a narrowing social class: you can’t be one of the “clever people” unless you pay public allegiance to a bunch of transparently false things. Hence the popularity of ideologies such as postmodernism, whose basic premise is the truth is whatever power says is the truth: the philosophy of the bureaucratic slave. The problem with this plan is, the present clerisy still thinks it controls the radio broadcast towers and printing press distribution channels.
The very same clerisy now completely controls the universities (a medieval religious institution), and at the same time, the universities have mostly ceased to be centers of innovation for anything economically relevant. Universities sell themselves as incubating all manner of wonders on some nebulous timescale much longer than a human career; none of note have appeared since approximately 1970. In 2023, the belief that Universities are incubators of innovation, science and technology is as reasonable as a belief in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. The actual processes which gave fruitful innovations through university private/government partnerships are forgotten, and the barbarians squatting on the ruins of university system are like Ostrogoths calling themselves Romans because they camped outside of the Rome they sacked.
There is an argument that the nation state itself owes its existence to the printing press. I think it’s a bad argument, but I can understand why members of the current year clerisy think about it in this way: it reflects how they think about themselves. This argument has been extended to assume American colonialism will take over the world using the internets. They don’t call it that in their essays, but it what they describe. A world run by globalization: NGOs and WEF lizards taking your cars away, giving you profitable science juice injections, larva-burgers, making you rent everything and making your kids wear gay underpants. This is the clerisy whistling in the dark: a towering failure of imagination, and a misunderstanding of the shape of how things work now.
The more the internet is decentralized, the less this decadent clerisy controls. We now know virtual “places” like Facebook, Twitter and Google are heavily policed. It is an amusing piece of tinfoil helmetry that Facebook was more or less founded a few days after DARPA’s life log project was spun down. I suspect whether or not there is any relationship there, the powers that be had some kind of industrial scale Stasi Unterlagen in mind. At present, the surveilled can still coordinate and collect data on the surveillants. The covid freakout of 2020-2022 has already been forgotten by the incurious goblins at the NYT, WaPo and CNN, but the facts are well known by the people who matter: the technocratic policies were an abject failure, iatrogenic deaths were enormous, and you were better off living with the health care facilities of Nigeria (aka “get over it”) than in New York City (aka “let’s stick a tube in your trachea”) if you’re worried about dying of rona-chan.
One of the reasons things seem so insane these days: the “narrative” is controlled by mentally ill and socially marginal people who are extremely online. For example, the concept of gay rights is something that preexisted the internet, but the concept of giving extra political rights to homosexuals was mostly internet organized and driven. Legalization of drugs, rationalism, transgender toddlers, animal rights, S&M, advocates of monarchism, fascism, wicca, chopping off random limbs, morgellons; you name it, and it has an internet group where the weirdlings have gathered and marshaled their forces. Freaks at the top of the chain who talk about “misinformation” and their latest pile of horse pookey, “prebunking,” labor under the delusion that this collection of lonely misfits are somehow a necessary ingredient in changing people’s minds. This isn’t remotely true: unhappy misfits were simply the first ones online with time to burn. Same story with most of wikipedia, reddit and virtually everything else online. They’re run by people who are broken and nuts. I’ve met them: none of them are well adjusted normies.
To paraphrase my pal Niccolo, the internet isn’t real and you are mentally ill. Physical reality remains a lot more important than controlling the release of people’s opinions on the internet. Since we’re presently in overt censorship territory now, the powers that be are becoming less interested in online propaganda, and more interested in ham-handed control. This won’t end well, just as it didn’t end well for the pre-Gutenberg powers who created the various lists of forbidden books. In the end they will look ridiculous, and people in power can’t look ridiculous for long: the rotten cabbages and guillotines are inevitable.
The vast swathes of people in the US are ridiculously absurdly obese, there are tens of millions of people with allergies which didn’t exist when I was a kid, human fertility is plummeting in the civilized parts of the world, 20% of kids in America claim they are gay, 50% of liberal white women are mentally ill by their own definitions, there are druggies living in favelas even in minor cities, 100,000 opiate addicts die every year, infrastructure is crumbling, autism rates have skyrocketed. Even putting aside the vast crimes and impostures of 2020-2022 ‘rona hysteria and our careening towards a completely unnecessary nuclear war over the sacred borders of a country which is 5000 miles away and didn’t exist 40 years ago. This is what happened from listening to our radio and TV “experts;” we live in clown world. In the EU clown car, the the second Morgenthau plan‘s destruction of German industry, French race riots and the clerisy imposes a wide-ranging censorship regulation in the “digital services act.” All under a background of high excess death rates which every official legacy “news” source and politician seems completely incurious about.
Radio and TV era propaganda work by misdirection. If you have sovereignty over the airwaves, you can show the dummkopfs hypnotized by your machinery whatever you want. More to the point, you can neglect to show them things which you don’t want them to see, and they’ll probably never see it. Even better if you control the distribution networks and main players for the old fashioned press, which at this point is ridiculously obviously the case. Networks of propagandists coordinate on the internets as well: we know some of it now, mostly the twitter censorship end of things, but there are older things that make it obvious how the shape of “new media” works -scum from Williamsburg with a slack where they trade gossip about internet comedians such as BAP who dare to make fun of them. It’s also obvious how they’re planning on moving forward: something like this, and blackmail and centralization of important content producers.
The top 1% of the population by competence and independent thinking, aka nature’s leaders, can and will route around this. People know at this point. There are a couple of obvious tendencies: one is to overreach. Cutting people off from the banking system: from Russia to Nigel Farage to Canadian Truckers -this is a huge overreach and self-own. Crypto is a potential alternative. The real kind, not the fake and gay kind. I don’t think much of crapto “elites,” and think it likely they’ll fuck it up, but there are enough of them out there, one of them will provide alternatives as they already do in parts of the world where the banks are unreliable (reliability is the only thing that makes a bank or currency worth anything). Tech platforms such as Android and Ipotato are also a source of overreach: this will become more plain over time.
The other is tendency is reverse surveillance. Shabby imbeciles like Taylor Lorentz will be thoroughly doxxed and mocked. People already naturally use technology like this. It will grow from “are we dating the same guy” to various indexes of media figures with likely influence graphs and groupings, to technology which allows you to read various kinds of media while knowing exactly what the bias of the author is. The capability is already there. For example, I’ve pointed out that Michael Lewis is a serial fabulist with a history of marketing submarines for his friends as well as people who pay him: most recently he’s tried his hand at jury tampering. You see the powers that be attempting to control things with ridiculous “fact checks.” There’s nothing special about them, other than access to “official” channels which have long since discredited themselves. It’s perfectly feasible to have an index of such clowns with an add-on for your browser which provides context for media written by them. The bad guys already thought of it; eventually it will happen. It’s also possible to search for information based on such media credibility scores. Such things can theoretically be done for scientific research as well, and eventually will be, as the present system of impact scores and peer review is obviously total garbage.
I’m optimistic about the future, but I also expect a lot of chaos and insanity in the meanwhile as this sorts itself out. History has shown that openness and connection to reality works better than hiding behind deranged authority. The party of truth always wins against the party of lies: networked communications gives the party of truth great advantages.