The brave new world of the internet is being tamed by a culture of consensus. The spirit of individualism, embodied in the free flow of online ideas, was supposed to be our road to enlightenment and personal freedom. But that blazing trail is being paved over in the name of progress.
The flow of information is now controlled by a few mega-corporations. That makes the individual very small and unimportant in the big scheme of things.
The truth is, the individual represents the ultimate minority, so this trend is troubling for anyone not into group-think and popular opinion. Even the high-minded demanders of diversity should mourn the impending death of individualism, but they don’t care. Inexplicably, to them, protecting people from certain ideas is good for everyone. Go figure.
YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are now controlling what we can and cannot see. Their leaders feel empowered and even compelled to suppress what their internal consensus disdains. They believe they are keeping us from hurting ourselves. They are the self-appointed safety patrol.
The inventors of these platforms originally designed their services to cater to individual interests, but this ideal has fallen prey to the ideology of their enlightened, elitist corporate masters. To support this, they created an internal army of dedicated soldiers. By design, those employees who ask questions are now discouraged and derided.
Their brilliant foundational ideal of individualism took them to the top of the mountain. They remade the world by empowering the individual. But they have abandoned this fundamental principle in favor of a new, political paradigm.
They now hide behind algorithms as they direct traffic and issue citations for lane violations. The results have been chaos and criticism. Like their brethren in the news media, they have lost their hard-earned trust and credibility.
And, perhaps worse, the go-to source for all human information, Google, is taking charge of what we are allowed to know. They have no problem funneling preferred information to people who still trust their search engine as gospel.
All of this is being done in the name of accuracy and fairness. But who elected them to make these determinations? Can’t we just decide for ourselves?
The trend toward totalitarian group-speak has always been enticing. Sadly, even in this enlightened age of instant information and communication, those with the power to control what others know and believe have taken the bait. It’s so convenient. It must be hard to resist and easy to rationalize.
Most people instinctively cheer whatever supports their world view, but when will they come to realize that things can change, and they themselves could be silenced and shunned by the same power structures they now applaud?
And don’t the internet inquisitors realize that suppressing alternate views is just wrong? Shouldn’t this be obvious? Are they blind to the consequences, or are they just heartless powerbrokers? Is there another possible answer?
In the days of the Nazis, this was the role of The Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Now, our online overseers call it something else, something more acceptable, like resisting hate and bigotry…or whatever suits the day.
Regardless, their legion of employees and sympathizers eagerly follow and salute. It’s a bad omen for you, me and everybody, including the propagandists pulling the strings.
Given our human history of oppression by the powerful, it’s a shame that we must now call on government to regulate the very thing that nearly liberated all of us from centralized thought control. Sadly, that’s like asking the fox to guard the hen house.
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