Many of the world’s current social ills are blamed on social media. Some have the idea that FaceBook, Reddit, YouTube and similar websites are responsible for an increase in psychological abuse and a decrease in mental health. This has brought calls to ban them – but, as this essay will argue, banning social media won’t work out any better than banning anything else has.
With the hysteria around the killing of George Floyd, many have realised that social media found Derek Chauvin guilty before the trial. The pressure to convict Chauvin was so great that, had he been found innocent, riots were likely. U.S. Representative Maxine Waters even took to social media to call for a confrontation in case of acquittal.
Government representatives elsewhere are also using social media to destroy their own citizens. In New Zealand, Member of Parliament Debbie Ngarewa-Packer launched an online petition to ruin the life of podcaster Lee Williams, smearing him as a white supremacist and evil wrongthinker. This quickly received several thousand signatures after being shared by Maori supremacists.
That government representatives use social media to stir up hate against private citizens is deeply concerning. Lynchings are the obvious next step. In countries with weak rule of law, influential people regularly call for their followers to murder their political enemies. It isn’t hard to imagine a Maori Party MP using social media to form a physical mob that kills someone.
However, the idea of banning social media is a neo-Luddite delusion. It’s the same knee-jerk retardation that inspired alcohol and cannabis prohibition, both of which failed. Proof? Before social media, it was even worse than this.
The newspapers spread just as much fake news a century ago as they do now. But it was worse then, because there was no alternative media to ask questions. If the newspapers said that Germans were bayoneting Belgian babies, that was the truth and no discussion about it could be had. Everyone had to believe it or be shunned from society.
The radio and the television are just as bad as the newspapers. Like the newspapers, the radio and television dictate the truth to a passive audience, with no dissenting voice allowed. Although they claim to be objective speakers of fact, the reality is that each of these media has an owner, and that owner ultimately decides what gets said and how.
Newspapers, radio and television are all one-way media. None of them are superior to social media, which, despite its crapness, at least allows for a discussion. But it is precisely the possibility for discussion that has the ruling class upset about social media.
The ultimate reason why social media is now so heavily opposed by the Establishment, and its lackeys in the mainstream media, is that it allows for an alternative narrative. As Josef Goebbels outlined in his Principles of Propaganda, propaganda is most effective if it is executed by only one authority. As was true in Nazi times, the greatest enemy of the ruling class is the alternative media.
It’s imperative that we, the people, develop a better way to manage social media, lest our rulers find an excuse to ban it. The correct way to deal with the problems caused by social media is to ensure that its use does not lead to hysterical chimpouts, i.e. that its agitprop potential is neutralised.
This will involve a twofold process.
The first step is to educate people to reflexively disbelieve everything they’re told. Currently, our education system is set up in such a way that the most credulous students get the highest grades. This is a consequence of the fact that, when our education system was invented, information was extremely scarce.
But the information environment of today is much different to the past. Information is no longer scarce; in fact, we have far too much low-quality information. Our education system, therefore, needs to be re-tooled, so that students are taught to question everything – literally everything – that is said by an authority figure.
A properly sceptical culture would have no need to fear social media, because sceptical people don’t share news articles or videos unless they’re confident the information in them is accurate. Even if they did, any sceptical people reading or viewing that information wouldn’t chimp out like they do in today’s Clown World.
The second step is to run society in a way so that people have hope. Right now, the atmosphere of the Western World is thick with despair. This despair encourages people to spread hate and madness on social media. A great many people are in a great deal of pain, and this encourages them to share garbage.
A society with rectitude, one which the average person felt proud to belong to, would naturally encourage its members to share higher quality information. The main reason people are so drawn to conspiracy today is because they know something’s seriously wrong with our social environment. The quality of social media will always reflect the quality of the social environment, and improving the latter is the easiest way to improve the former.
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