Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dissent: Rational, and not-so-rational.

""Among people who have learned something from the 18th century (say, Voltaire) it is a truism, hardly deserving discussion, that the defense of the right of free expression is not restricted to ideas one approves of, and that it is precisely in the case of ideas found most offensive that these rights must be most vigorously defended.""" (Noam Chomsky)

The Chomsky's not our favorite Ivy League intellectual, but he raises an important point here (whether he himself obeys his own maxim is another matter). The connection to Voltaire and the Enlightenment also might be noted: monarchists had for years, nay centuries, stifled criticism and dissent (as had religious clerics), and that was arguably one of the "historical crimes" which jacobins rightfully objected to (of course when the sans cullottes seized power, they engaged in censorship and communication control as well, as did the Bolsheviks, later-day sans cullottes. So did the nazis).

Authentic democracy depends to some degree on "communication rights". Totalitarianism on the other hand, whether communist or fascist or theocratic, depends on controlling and eliminating those communication rights. Unfortunately, blogs and websites, as much instruments of communication as the old daily newspaper (regardless of the grumbles of a few metro editors), have over the last few years become ever more controlled, moderated, policed: Bukharins, Goebbels, and J-edgars rule the cyber-roosts to a large extent.

In his introduction to a new printing of Orwell's 1984, the novelist Thomas Pynchon recently suggested that the Net could become some crypto-totalitarian zone, "a development that promises social control on a scale those quaint old 20th-century tyrants with their goofy moustaches could only dream about." Pynchon's prognostication should not be dismissed out of hand. Cyber-Bukharins are on the rise. We here at Contingencies contend that liberal sites–-like a DailyKOS–-are generally as guilty as the rightist-bonehead sites in that regard, regardless if the Kossack’s intentions rate higher on the Benevolmeter. Troll-paranoia, for instance, on KOS and similar sites has resulted in all sorts of moderation guidelines and procedures. “Troll” doesn’t really even mean what it used to mean: now it connotes something like outsider, dissenter, renegade, crypto-fascist-on-meth, etc. Formerly on newsgroups it had more of a hacker connotation: real trolls didn’t merely say speculate on Hillary’s pubic hair style on a dem site, but like played pranks, launched viruses, engaged in ID theft, phucked things up.

The membership/registration jazz, and the mandatory login/pass (or worse, the pinche verification capchas) seems pretty anal really: on the old sites you
just posted something and let it fly (wordpress is a bit better, but many
wordpress sites are heavily moderated as well). In certain contexts some moderation or deletion is understandable (like deleting some hick conspiracy buff afflicted with verbal diarrhea who remains convinced that Dick Cheney piloted the planes into WTC on 9-11), at least if people agree not to use obscenity or discuss their favorite sapphic erotica DVDs.


A rather sullen and resentful scribbler aka Demonweed shows the characteristics of the cyber-Bukharin. AS his regular brain-farts indicate, he has difficulties with writing, and with rationality. Apparently, D-w doesn’t quite know what a valid argument consists of, either, regardless of his supposed interest in philosophical hype and trite bon-mots from the Greats (Russell!!! What a joke. D-w. would not know the theory of logical types from his TCP-IP settings). D.w. in fact revealed his real character with a bon-mot from Dan Quayle, offered sans irony or sarcasm.

The cyber-Bukharin like Demonwind however is usually a clever ghoul. He writes things which appear to be profound. He indulges in ideology. He attempts lightweight satire or invective, while generally avoiding any sort of fact-based argument. Demonweed in fact lost his ass on some global warming sites: not merely due to rightist-boneheads (yet even the anti-AGW writing of a Bonehead like Crichton should not be dismissed), but by all sorts of people (including some non-conservatives) who actually know something about the difficulties associated with the science, rather than the hype, of AGW (i.e., see Dennis Rancourt, canadian physicist, green, and AGW skeptic). Then, after his trashing, D-weed started into his usual milquetoast defamations, bogus inferences, and preacher-speak: anyone who objects to that great liberal Al Gore and his Chevy-sponsored eco-politics supports the Republicans, if not the aims of fascism itself! Suffer fools gladly.

Al Gore more or less flunked his science courses at Harvard, misrepresented
evidence of AGW (as was proven when the Feds themselves corrected Mann, the
hockey stick guy); the political record of Big Al, who took Occi money for
years, is a few baby steps away from say Reagan’s. But who cares: Gore’s the
hero of the PC bogus suburban-greens.

The Demonweed sort of control freaks, now proliferating at an alarming rate, should not be mistaken for Hunter S. Thompson like gonzo hipsters either. D-weed's own blog, a collection of moralisms and generalized idiocies (he hasn't quite grasped what inductive reasoning--ie. economics-- entails either) demonstrates how square he really izz: “What You Should Think”. Hah. Sounds about like a collection of Paul Craig Roberts columns (and reads like that as well, at least if one can make it past 3 or 4 paragraphs of humorless, rhetorical sludge).

One could continue, ad nauseum. Even a few ancient scribes, however, knew the score in regards to the politics of language: "Thou shalt not bear false witness". Consider that carefully, Demonweeds.

1 comment:

Phritz said...

(like deleting some hick conspiracy buff afflicted with verbal diarrhea who remains convinced that Dick Cheney piloted the planes into WTC on 9-11)

Delete? Javoll. Delete, lock down, sedate. Along with his Macqueroo

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