So I was sitting on the shitter, reading Thomas Friedman’s Lexus and the Olive Tree. Yes, indeed I do read books on globalization as bathroom reading. And one line particularly struck me, only in a way Thomas Friedman can, about the naivety and smugness of neo-liberalism: with the democratization of information, no political leader today can pretend that nothing evil is happening in the world. Or something to that effect.
And I almost burst out laughing, because my God, to think of it: the Internet as teleology! I mean, what a fucking concept! Friedman sounds exactly like Al Gore in his latest book: they both praise the Internet as a great democratic tool that will loosen the stranglehold of information held by MNCs and let the people speak truth to power.
Well here’s a good counter-example: Darfur. Oh yes, we have known about Darfur for a while now, but aside from a bunch of college students wearing green wrist-bands, our political leaders have done what…Nothing?
Oh no, what Friedman seems to forget is that people are not all good, in any sense, at all. Just because we know something to be wrong doesn’t mean we will actually do anything about it.
The wisdom of the crowd is a joke if the crowd makes it decision based on information presented to it by media conglomerates. What is the Internet? The Internet is a place for partisan hacks, opportunistic manipulators, advertisers looking for the quick buck.
All praise the profit motive, who only acts morally as an after-thought.