The gleaming promise of new technology and its uses blinded us to the insidious extent imperiled elitists would go to protect their unmerited power, wealth, and status. We were naïve. Yet, even if one could have foreseen the metastasizing tyranny brought about by the digital age, it would have strained credulity to watch Americans—especially the young—not merely acquiescing to it, but embracing it.
Though we are now inured to its novelty, it bears recollecting that from the late 20th century to the present, we have lived through a worldwide communications revolution. Profoundly affecting the individual and society, the full impact of this revolution remains unclear. Humanity’s ability to choose and pursue happiness has been empowered to an extent undreamt. In the palm of one’s hand, or upon one’s laptop or desk, and with just a stroke of a key, one can instantaneously communicate with family and friends a world away, conduct business, petition the government for the redress of grievances, or bring calumny upon a major corporation. In sum, the communications revolution is an historically unprecedented technological boon for personal empowerment, growth, enrichment, and self-government.
It is this last that alarms the elitists.
The elitists believe they are entitled to wield power for the purpose of governing their inferiors (i.e., the rest of us). To facilitate this inversion of our free republic’s design, the elitists require the complicity of a significant amount of the citizenry who, through acquiescence, apathy, and/or dependency, are more than willing to submit to the elitists’ control over their lives, be it wholly or in part. Thus, for the elitists, the communications revolution is an existential threat. The empowerment of sovereign citizens to self-govern and, be it singularly or collectively, increase their ability to control and curtail—i.e., to subordinate—the power of public and private sector elitists, had to be blocked through co-option and coercion; through a communications counterrevolution.
Fear is the key. (Isn’t it always when trying to pry away the people’s rights?) Frightened elitists were able to project and impart their fear into their fellow citizens; once the unwarranted paranoia was sufficiently transferred to a critical mass of them, no social, political, legal, or constitutional bar would be insurmountable. There were foreign and domestic terrorists lurking around the corner, white supremacists scurrying about the block, hate and racism woven throughout our endangered democracy!
So commenced and continues the coercive disempowering of the entire sovereign citizenry, as far too many frightened people voluntarily shed their rights and scramble into faux lifeboats bound up serf’s creek without a paddle. Free speech is on the verge of being viewed not as a God-given right but a clear and present danger. A danger only the elitists could prevent through their life-saving censorship—er, “content moderation.”
Already, the elitists’ siren song has found fertile ground. The elitists’ indoctrination machine has seduced many of America’s youth to renounce what was once considered an intergenerational, innate yearning by young people to be heard and to reject censorship. But the elitists have tamed and muzzled the rising generation’s innate rebelliousness. Like a teacher handing out participation trophies to boost students’ unwarranted self-esteem, the elitists have granted laurels to collegiates for disempowering themselves, laurels these kids have accepted gratefully in exchange for their rights. Of course, they and everyone who submits to the self-censorship and abets the censorious silencing of dissent will be defenseless when the elitists come for them. But that will never happen, will it?
This is not a partisan issue, as every American has the God-given right to free speech. And every American is an equal participant in our free republic’s revolutionary experiment in self-government. The elitists’ communication counterrevolution proceeds apace—with the bitterly ironic collusion of Big Tech, which has betrayed its initial promise of providing and promoting personal empowerment and free speech—and with the support of much of the Left, which once championed free speech. Apparently, that was free speech only for themselves and those who aligned with their ideology.
In the end, though, it makes perfect, despicable sense: Big Government, Big Tech, and the Left are elitists in common cause to convince the public that the greatest threat to Our Democracy™ is your freedom. Yet, this “democracy” is actually their oligarchy, the preservation of which is the elitists’ communications counterrevolution’s end game.
Yes, we should have seen it coming. Still, during the communications revolution, to have been blinded by the empowering possibilities and—hope against hope—to have believed individual liberty had ultimately triumphed over the state is to our eternal credit. Such idealism, independence, and faith are hallmarks of Americans; and, incidentally, why the elitists’ communication counterrevolution, finally, will fail.