Monday, July 09, 2007

The Internet Is Destroying
The World As We Know It

By A.N WILSON - July 8th, 2007 - Daily Mail (London)

Your child is next door on the computer, destroying the world as we know it and wrecking two of the most fundamental values that underpin society - first, as I shall explain, the distinction between truth and falsehood; second, the inviolability of personal property.

While the little blighter is about it, your darling ten-year-old is also helping to destroy the record industry, the publishing industry, newspapers and cinema. And what is more, this activity is highly addictive, and is more likely than not to make young people into addicts of gambling, pornography and insidious forms of self-deception.

The cycle of technological change never stops. It goes through periods of slow change and then intense change. However it never stops. In the 1700s and 1800s we had the age of inventions, during which the pace of technological change became frantic. Teletypes and looms and printing presses and cameras and railroads and powered boats, etc., etc. changed the world at a pace never seen before. They changed jobs and society. The result was numerous examples similar to the one known as the Luddites. People revolted against technology and tried to destroy it. That has never worked.

We are in a period of extreme change. The pace of change is at a level never before seen in mankind's existence. In the last decade of the 20th century there was a popular quote; "The Internet is changing everything." It was true then. It is true now. As is usual in society many technology leaders and political leaders saw this as an opportunity. Most of society waited to see what the changes would be. Nearly twenty years after the World Wide Web set the Internet on fire; many of those changes are becoming clearer.

The changes this article talks about are some of the trends that are happening. The two "fundamental values" that are highlighted in the article as being damaged, "the distinction between truth and falsehood" and "the inviolability of personal property" are certainly accelerated, however the second is only true for "intellectual property". What is not noted in the article is that many other equally important trends are also accelerated. Mankind has to deal with the reality that information is vastly more available and vastly more powerful.

The first trend, "damaging the distinction between truth and falsehood", is also being countered by the Internet. As quickly as Wikipedia is spreading falsehoods, blogs are becoming a powerful force for the rapid deconstruction of falsehoods. That is a countervailing force that can work for good. It has changed politics by accelerating the spread of any message. It has contributed to the modern reality that political campaigns never stop. It has an interesting development for two groups that existed before the Internet. Socialists and Islamofascists. Both are spreading their false gospels more fervently than ever using the Internet and they appeal to simplistic logic that only hearing one side of an argument often brings.

The second, "damaging the inviolability of personal property", is primarily a problem because our courts are so corrupt and antiquated. Attempts to stop the use of the Internet for stealing intellectual property have been fought by rules that existed when digital copying did not exist. The "fair use doctrine" has become a joke. Until the courts return to their original focus of "justice" and come into the 21st Century it is unlikely that small works of intellectual property like music and movies will be effectively protected.

We are living in one of the most exciting and dangerous times in mankind's history. Old habits die hard deaths. The socialists acquired overwhelming control of the global press just about the time that the Internet (with an assist from talk radio) broke their monopoly on reaching a large audience. The Islamofascists have taken advantage of the Internet's ability to spread an addictive message quietly and privately to millions with little public notice. Both trends are a part of the Internet that are as concerning as the two trends the article highlights. The Islamofascist group has even used the Internet to fuel their war on the world's foremost cultures.

The trends haven't changed the falsehood of the two messages. They have simply accelerated their spread in a world that is only partly relying on the countervailing trends the Internet also provides.

Our courts must be made accountable again. The antiquated rules that allow for identity theft and intellectual property theft must be brought into the 21st century. The orientation of the courts to delay and complicate issues must be overcome. The world is racing ahead. Our courts must stop allowing for the bad guys to win because they are focused on their outdated rules instead of justice.

People must stop believing what they hear, not just on the Internet but in newspapers and on TV. They must get both (or sometimes all) of the sides in an argument by activley looking to hear them. They cannot just pick one source for information. They also cannot abrogate the need to pay attention to the reliability of their source.

Like Wikipedia, the New York Times and other MSM have long been known for spreading lies and distortions. Yet many people will not change their habits and intentionally look for ways to hear from opposing voices. That does require that you think about some of these issues. They are complex, not the simple socialism based answers the MSM wants to project. However the long term trend is that more and more people are rejecting the Luddite solution, destroy the Internet or at least control the Internet.

Neither solution will work. The only real answer is that people must accept more responsibility for keeping up with what is happening. The Internet is CHANGING EVERYTHING. That means that YOU MUST CHANGE.

Sorry. I am not causing this to happen, I am just the messenger. Good luck.


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