Censorship in the most censorious age

This essay is a reply to a comment by Michael H on an editorial I wrote in August about the Electronic Frontiers Foundation and the Tor Project defending the right for the American neo-Nazi online Daily Stormer to be granted hosting and DNS propagation.  It started as a reply to the reply, but grew longer than expected, and is therefore presented as an essay in its own right.

Fifteen, twenty years ago I would probably have agreed with all of Michael H’s points.  What happened since then included the personal experience of watching Western centre-left parties become conservative, and conservatives become openly, unashamedly corrupt lackeys of short-sighted plutocrats.  Short-sighted because they act nihilistically to destroy a consumer base they need to sustain their own profitability over the longer term, and to maintain stable societies in which consumption, not civil strife, is the leitmotif.

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Everything is political economy, stupid!

Shirky, C. (2005). Ontology is overrated: Categories, links, and tags. Retrieved from http://www.shirky.com/writings/ontology_overrated.html

If only I had read Shirky before I finished my INN533 blog for week six (Master of IT course).  I would have found the language to avoid talking about political economy while talking about it!

Shirky’s summary of ontological and phenomenological problems in information categorization is so close to that bizarre moment when I was confronted by a lecturer in information management. discussing the nature of information and how it is interpreted, who dismissed my point that there is an entire academic discipline devoted to examining how meaning is constructed and derived – semiotics – with the simple statement: ‘Yes, but I’m a professional’.  Clearly professionals have no use for knowledge or wisdom that doesn’t fit their own narrow disciplines.

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Chomsky glosses over key dynamics in latest anti-America polemic

The arguments presented by Chomsky in the AlterNet article ‘America’s Decline Is Real — and Increasingly Self-Inflicted’ are readable, engaging, and almost convincing.

Just as Chomsky’s political invigilators tend to gloss over deep and obvious flaws in their counter-arguments, so Chomsky appears to have glossed over four fundamental problems for his own polemic:

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