Big Brother Censor
or Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster – Part II
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Essays From An Artist
I recently engaged in conversation with two local neighbors, a long-standing local business owner and a former elected official who offered their opinions on my support for a ‘return’ to investments in transforming our city’s core into a walkable, bike-able, densely populated urban center.
Scotts on the Rocks Politica Podcast
Yesterday, I wrote that the collective known as the Big Tech Oligopoly (Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, et al) – has become a monster.
It has given us its monster child – the Big Brother Censor.
Censorship is a disease. It is not question of “if” it will kill our democracy – but “when.”
Our democracy is a concept. You can’t hold it, and you can’t touch it. But, it is human (for now). It is made up of humans, and exists at the mercy of humans (We the People).
So, government is only as good as the humans who permit it to exist – We the People. All governments, whether totalitarian, authoritarian, monarchical, oligarchical, tyrannical, socialist, fascist, capitalist, etc., exist at the mercy of the governed (We the People). That will always be the case – until every last human is locked up in a cage.
There are two types of cages: the physical cage (such as jail), and the mental cage (such as brainwashing or thought control).
Censorship creates the second type of cage – the mental cage.
Where Censorship has been permitted by the People to exist long enough, it has eventually eaten the governmental regime that unleashed it. Examples include Hitler’s Germany, cold war East Germany, Stalinist Russia, the Soviet Union, fascist Italy, and on and on). The only exception is China (sort of – a matter for another day).
The symptoms of this disease are easy to spot. The cure – not so much.
The symptoms include rejection of opinions that do not coincide with your own, lack of new ideas, lack of two-sided debate, lack of a free flow of information, lack of robust dialogue, lack of neutrality in the analysis of data, lack of facts, reliance on “reporting,” and adoption of anecdotes, platitudes and rumor. All of that, and more, is rampant in today’s society.
The Big Tech Oligopoly has obtained this massive power (Wealth) by taking data from your experiences via the internet, and selling it. In this virtual world of “data” (or metadata), the Oligopoly creates nothing that you can hold in your hands.
If you didn’t read the fine print when you signed up for “the internet,” you gave the Oligopoly permission to do all this.
So, the Oligopoly can make a fortune off your keyboard escapades – and then ban you for life for writing “steal,” or “mask,” in the wrong sentence. When you have billions of captured “customers,” individuals are expendable.
What they created is not something you can touch – but, it is massive. They created something so vast, so mind-bendingly overbearing, that the mere mortal cannot wrap his/her head around it.
They created a boundless and shapeless (virtual) “bulletin board.” This “virtual bulletin board” is everywhere, all the time. It’s Facebook, it’s Twitter, it’s Google.
It’s omnipresent, like a god. If it’s not in your dreams, it’s within reach when you wake up out of them.
It’s omniscient, like a god. If you don’t know something – Google does.
But, scariest of all – it’s omnipotent like a god. Never has there been such power to control human thought and life.
This is an unholy trinity of power.
In concept, everyone can write whatever thoughts and ideas they want to on this virtual bulletin board.
In reality, everyone can only write acceptable and correct thoughts and ideas on this virtual bulletin board.
That is why the Oligopoly had to unleash its Big Brother Censor as the thought police.
We have come to a point where society (including Governments) are beholden to this virtual bulletin board.
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Google searches, paying your bills on-line, signing up for COVID, streaming moves, playing games, gambling, etc. – it’s ubiquitous.
Obviously, it has reached a point of overbearing control of society – including our Governments.
In ancient times, the Boomers will remember this, people could not communicate with each other in writing except through postcards and letters sent in the mail. Then modern technology gave us the fax machine – which was the out this world technology of the late 90’s (the science fiction writers were astounded).
But, no matter how much these pre-historic technologies progressed between 2000 B.C. and c. 2000 A.D. (to take only about 4,000 years of humankind’s existence), you could only reach one person, or a very few people, at one time when you used these prehistoric means of written communication.
Those were the dark ages. No one, of course, knew what they were talking about back then. It’s amazing that human life form did not become extinct by its own mental impoverishment. We were all stumbling, lost and ignorant, through the darkness.
Then came the 21st century. All of a sudden – enlightenment (and “science” – a matter for another day – what is “science?”) was given to the heathens.
What happened? The virtual bulletin board happened – as big as the universe.
We all had free access to all knowledge, and could spread our own wisdom to thousands (millions?) of people, simply by clicking the “enter” button on the keypad.
So, it’s a little bittersweet that The Big Tech Oligopoly giveth so much, and then taketh so much away. You, conservatives, we hardly even knew ya.
So, we come around full circle back to Big Brother Censor.
This monster has half of the Citizenry saying, “it’s a good thing, a very good thing” to vaporize the thoughts of the other half. But, they have to say that – because if they don’t appease the monster, the monster will turn on them (see Jerome Bixby’s, “It’s a Good Life”).
The lesson to be learned – don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Stay correct, stay virtuous, keep writing good (or, at least, banal) thoughts, and, no matter what happens, just say: “it’s a good thing, it’s a very good thing.”
For Art & Politics
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