Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"If you find something evil that wobbles, push it."

Gary North writes on the revolutionary effect of the Internet (in particular Google and Wikipedia) in rerouting information, through countless channels, around the old barriers erected by financial expense and Establishment censorship:

Wiki is available in dozens of languages. It is replacing all other general encyclopedias. The division of labor is working.

If you find a Wiki entry with an error, you can correct it using the Edit feature. I do this from time to time. I don't get paid, but I want things right. This mentality is widespread among Wiki users. The articles keep getting better.

If readers of encyclopedias were evil-minded, they would deface the entries by adding lies. Yet this is not done often, and the errors are found and corrected rapidly.

Ideological wars do break out. Then the page is locked by a committee. You have to apply to update the entry. If there were many such disputes, it would be impossible to sort them out. There would not be enough volunteers to serve on the committees.

The Wiki system relies on volunteers. It works. It relies on honest intentions. This usually works. It relies on digital translation. This works well enough to allow the transmission of basic information – more than most readers can remember. Our minds are the weak links now, not the translation software.

The translation software will get better. In 20 years, it will probably rival the skills of a human translator who did not learn both languages as a bi-lingual child. It may take less time than 20 years.

This will increase the division of intellectual labor. It will vastly expand our horizons. Already, we can find out what other nationalities think about such topics as the origin of specific wars.

The way we learn about history will change for the better. Revisionist history will spread. The Establishments of all nations will suffer.

It's especially gratifying to see how quickly the Internet detects and exposes government falsehoods, virtually in real time. Despite the government's ability to set up its own web sites (however sparse and poorly designed), and despite the considerable Web activities of government's fascistic and socialistic supporters, we now have a free market in ideas. Critically, that market is cheap enough to be accessible to any literate person.

Politicians and bureaucrats still control the physical realm of force. They no longer control, nor can they recapture the initiative in, the realm of ideas. A centralized tyranny must lock down both realms to maintain long-term dominance over a people.

North concludes:

The gatekeepers no longer control the flow of information. This has never happened in man's history. Gatekeepers still control the gates. But the walls have holes in them. These holes are widening.

The gatekeepers control accreditation. They no longer control content except where it is very expensive to do primary research, such as nuclear physics. In the social sciences and humanities, it's just about over.

When I think "Establishment," my mind goes back to Rocky III. Mr. T's character tells Apollo Creed, "you're going down."

If you find something worth posting, post it. Call this "post-it notes." It beats armed revolution every time....

In short, if you find something evil that wobbles, push it.

1 comment:

  1. This makes moves to govern the Net a threat. It also makes moves for such things as community wireless a blessing.