Lot’s of people have written about possible similarities between the current economic mess and the beginnings of the Great Depression in the late 20’s and early 30’s.
However, Andrew Keen, author of the anti-web screed The Cult of the Amateur, heads right off the deep end trying to make a connection between the proposal for universal broadband access in Obama’s economic plans and the rise of fascism from the same period.
The 1930s fascists were expert at using all the most technologically sophisticated communications technologies–the cinema, radio, newspapers, advertising–to spew their destructive, hate-filled message. What they excelled at was removing the the traditional middlemen like religion, media, and politics, and using these modern technologies of mass communications to speak with reassuring familiarity to the disorientated masses.
Imagine if today’s radically unregulated Internet, with its absence of fact checkers and editorial gatekeepers, had existed back then. Imagine that universal broadband had been available to enable the unemployed to read the latest conspiracy theories about the Great Crash on the blogosphere.
Keen’s basic premise seems to be that the growing millions of unemployed will be so pissed at “institutional authority” that they’ll fall under the spell of the unfiltered internet’s “seductive promise of personal empowerment”.
Or something like that. It’s really hard to follow his crappy logic.
[Thanks to Stephen for the link to the crazy.]