The New Fourth Estate: Anonymous, Wikileaks, and –archy
By Sebastian A.B.
“The press is the chief democratic instrument of freedom.”
– Alexis de Tocqueville
The wellspring of liberty runs dry without the free flow of information. The Egyptian government shut down their Internet on January 28, 2011, just after the Associated Press published video of a protestor being shot by riot police. This came as a shock to the global community; censorship of such magnitude is only rivaled by nations like North Korea (where subjects have no internet access). A global trend of authoritarianism is emerging, and the West is not immune (and perhaps even leading the charge).
In Radical Priorities, Noam Chomsky and C.P. Otero wrote:
“The totalitarian system of thought control is far less effective than the democratic one, since the official doctrine parroted by the intellectuals at the service of the state is readily identifiable as pure propaganda, and this helps free the mind.” In contrast, “the democratic system seeks to determine and limit the entire spectrum of thought by leaving the fundamental assumptions unexpressed. They are presupposed but not asserted.”
Noam Chomsky tersely put it this way in in Chronicles of Dissent: “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”