Butler Shaffer weighs in today on the increasing power of the Internet, and bloggers, in decentralizing the mainstream media, which he likens to a stegosaurus. As amusing as his comparison is, I'm choosing a different bit to quote:
There is nothing "faddish" about the collapse of vertically-structured institutional systems, and the emergence of horizontal networks of interconnected individuals. Centralized systems are rapidly becoming decentralized – a matter about which I have written before – producing a fundamental change in how people will organize themselves in society. Because of the Internet, the information-genie has escaped its institutional confines – where it has been controlled, manipulated, and hidden from view, in furtherance of institutional interests to monopolize the content of the minds of subjugated men and women. [Italics his]
A much-needed reminder for me today ... and I think his stegosaurus metaphor may be applicable to much of our current society as well. Increasingly often, I catch myself wondering to what degree our society resembles ancient Rome's as it teetered on the brink of implosion. Not a particularly happy thought, but I'm willing to push through the mess if it means a freer society will emerge.
And that's the puzzler for me: will enough individuals learn from the collapse of the U.S.S.A. to keep the same mistakes from happening? I see so many Boobus americanus around that it's difficult to be optimistic in that regard; most don't seem to want to think, or be fully responsible for their lives. The only real hope I can see right now is if those of us who value liberty can carve out a place where we can keep the torch lit by Thomas Jefferson, Tom Paine, Sam Adams, and Patrick Henry burning bright. The way many of us squabble and keep petty grievances alive, I'm none too optimistic on that score. But I'd love to be proved wrong about that.
One man who I think would make a great neighbor is Bob Smith, proprietor of No Force, No Fraud, which is this week's featured site. I recall hearing from him from time to time while I was the editor for Freedom News Daily; he'd point out an especially good entry. And while I had fairly strict guidelines as to how things were supposed to be entered into the FMN database (it was designed pre-blog, so there was a hole which allowed me a little leeway), and what was supposed to go in FND, I'd sometimes sneak in one of his blog-essays. I'm pleased to finally give it a spotlight of its own, small though it may be.