The Politics of the Internet

One thing that I do when I go on the Internet is to go read the day’s articles at the humor website known as Cracked, which also serves as a really good bellwether of American liberalism (in the modern sense, rather than the old sense).

Well, I tend to make the mistake of reading the comment sections, in the hopes, I suppose, of finding a nugget of wisdom or two. Now, whenever there’s a political article posted, a leftist echo chamber sets itself up with great rapidity, and will not brook disturbance. Well, of course one of the more recent comment sections ended up with a discussion of the government shutdown and the closedown of various national parks and whatnot, and the sheer ridiculousness of some of the closings–see the World War II memorial for an example.

Well, someone came up with the argument that shutting that stuff down was completely legitimate, on the grounds that the American people weren’t paying for them. When I read that, I stopped for a minute as I thought about that notion, as I’d never considered that possibility.

Then I realized why I’d never considered that possibility–because anyone who thought that made sense has forgotten or never learned how taxes work–namely, that money is automatically taken out of your paycheck by your employer and sent to the government, which refunds part of it to you depending on how well you can manipulate your tax return.

Then, as I thought about it, I realized that this expressed most of the politics of the Internet in a nutshell, due to the fact that most of its denizens are under the age of thirty. It’s a bunch of people who have really innovative ideas for how to fix problems and look at the problems of the world, but who have absolutely no idea whatsoever about how the processes of legislation, economics, foreign policy, or anything else actually works. This, by the way, is why Kony 2012 and most other social media awareness campaigns have a tendency to be sound and fury signifying nothing.

Now, if the effects of this were confined to the Internet, the only real problem would be a bunch of young adults carping about how terrible the world is until they decided to actually start living in it. The problem is that, because the Internet by now serves as the primary communications medium of our society, the people who dominate the Internet dominate the discourse, which means that, at the very least, we have a massive political bloc of people who think they understand the problems of society and who think they have a solution but actually don’t have a clue about how anything works.

This will result, long-term, in catastrophe, as our politics is influenced towards solving problems that are at best symptoms of the actual problems, and at worse aren’t actually problems. What will be worse is that the solutions will not take actual reality into account, as the solutions will be ones that would work in a world of rational altruistic people, when we live in a world of irrational selfish people. The problems with this include national bankruptcy, war, and the end of the world as we know it as the West’s economy tanks.

‘Til next time,

Lowell Van Ness


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