There’s been talk about how the internet will become less free as the US hands over its control of the web to ICANN; people fear that other countries will be granted the power to censor contents as they wish. There’s also been recent controversies surrounding the popular social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook where censorship is biased and politically motivated. And I don’t think anyone would disagree if I were to say that we are just seeing the beginning of it.
While it’s tempting to immediately respond with concerns about being silenced, let me offer a different perspective: the censorship of the internet could be the spark that lights the fire of resistance. Without the internet to take refuge in, the people will be forced to do something.
Think about all the social changes and revolutions that happened throughout the history and recent past. What were the preceding factors? It usually starts with a social condition that sows discontentment among the populace. Next, word begins to spread, uniting the people under a single cause. Once the people are united, they take action in the form of protesting in the streets or by engaging in armed resistance until victory or defeat. This is exactly what happened from the American and French revolution to modern independence and democratic movements. This is how the people assert their power.
Now, let’s take a look at what happens in today’s age of information. While there may be discontentment rising from all the social problems, the issues come and go in a scatter, trending for few days or few hours before it gives way to the next things that catches people’s attention. Words spread faster than ever before now that everyone is connected through the internet, but there’s far too much information now. It’s hard to keep track of all the information that is flowing at a hyper speed. As a result, what is important doesn’t necessarily become the pressing issue; what grabs attention, what is easy to absorb, and so on are the things that capture people’s minds. And partly because of the excess of information and the recent identity politics, people today are less likely to unite under a single cause. Compare that to revolutions of the past where different factions formed necessary alliances to defeat a larger enemy even if they had strong differences. The vast array of political groups and movements don’t possess that sort of practical sense anymore. But all the aforementioned issues aren’t even the biggest problem with today’s politics.
The most damaging effect of internet politics is that it stops people from taking action. The internet has essentially become the safe-space for those who can’t voice their true opinions in the real world. While spreading word was the step before taking action, now, it is the end goal. You’re probably already familiar with the following on the internet: people bitching and arguing about social issues, spreading memes to ridicule political opponents, talking big about one’s vision of the world and how things should be, engaging in Twitter wars where people insult each other (as if that’s going to accomplish anything), preaching to the choir and circle-jerking about how much they hate certain racial or ideological groups, making analysis of things that were said and things that might happen, doing guerrilla internet-journalism, consoring each other, doxxing, and so on. There is no end to the insanity.
But I beg the question: what does internet political activism accomplish? Spread ideas? Okay, and then what? As I’ve said before, the next step to social change after spreading word is to go out on the street en masse or to engage in active resistance. If that next step isn’t going to happen, what’s the point of creating all the commotion on the internet (often anonymously)? Now, I’m not saying that the internet is completely useless, I’m sure it has been the most important tool in shaping people’s political attitudes during the past decade or so. What I am asking is just how much difference it make in the real world, with the truth being that it’s impossible to measure it conclusively. But if we were to compare the social transformation that came about before the advent of the internet to today’s social movements, I would say things have been stagnant in the recent years.
The truth no one wants to face is that the internet is bullshit. Whatever happens on the internet will most likely stay on the internet unless you want to count gossiping and ruining people’s reputation as some worthy accomplishments. And people stay on the internet without taking any tangible actions because it is far easier to say thing you feel like saying than it is to go offline and do something.
I’ve said this before in a previous article and I will say it again because it cannot be repeated enough times: Allowing people to express themselves freely is the best form of social control because people will just talk and talk and do nothing. They will get the impression that they are making a difference, but the truth is far from it. Therefore, internet, as a virtual reality, is the best tool for keeping the masses under control by giving them an alternate world to waste their time venting out their frustrations. The more people engage in the internet, the less they time and energy they have to challenge the powers in the real world.
So, going back to the topic of internet censorship, by deciding to control the flow of information on the internet, I believe the elites are foolishly digging their own graves. Once the internet is no longer around for people to hide in, they’ll be forced to choose between accepting defeat or thinking of new ways to resist. If they refuse to fight, then they deserve all the oppression and injustice they face. But I’m willing to bet that with the internet censored, people will realize that it is now up to them to fight back instead of relying on some celebrity saviour to rescue them from their plights.
Now, I know it’s easy for me to say all this because I don’t have a nation to call home that I’m interested in defending. I don’t care about preserving race and culture, and I have zero interest in fighting to save a civilization that is dying. I have my own cause and I will fight when necessary, but I don’t have that need now. But for those who are interested in fighting for what they believe is worthwhile and feel the urgency of a rapid decline, what are you waiting for? What is stopping you from wasting time on the fucking internet to mobilize in the real world? If you’re an American, you even have the right to bear arms. If you’re not preparing in the real world, what the hell are Youtube videos, podcasts, and cartoon memes going to do? Quite frankly, I’m tired of all the moaning and self-validating, intellectual-masturbation parties on the internet disguised as political movements.
So, I want you to do yourself a favour and ask: What is the problem in this world that concerns me and what am I going to do about it? Think hard and prove that you actually care about what you claim to value. Prove to the world—the real one.