Saturday, June 26, 2010

Internet filtering

It is the job of governments to distrust their citizens, and the job of citizens to distrust their governments. This state of armed détente is acted out in the history of public service broadcasting: if unpopular, elitist; if popular, undeserving of subsidy. The market loathes public service and will not tolerate public good arguments: the last thing neo-liberalism wants is an informed citizenship, just as consumer capital could not survive the ideally informed consumer it presents as its foundation. Network communications is worse for governments than public broadcasting: the more democratic the medium, the more brutal the censorship. Internet filtering is only partly a dispay of redundant power. It also ensures that the rump of the free internet crash is safely castigated. Protecting the innocent from evil is an ideological mask for the true achievement of filtering: quelling the discussion about what constitutes the good life. Teaching the many to fear is integral to contemporary representative politics. The fear engendered by filters is enough to make them effective.

(The filtered have learnt to exploit the same emotional turmoil as the advertising and marketing industries: to control desire and deflect it towards useless and unpleasant products. If we refuse the one, logically we should also refuse the other. Logic however has little to do with politics, or censorship.)

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