I saw Lewis Lapham give a talk a couple months ago at the Boston Athenaeum on new media, the Internet, and civic discourse. My one sentence summary:

The problem with giving everyone the ability to raise their voices online is that it makes people less likely to raise their voices, or their fists, in the streets.

3 Replies to “Voice”

  1. Another way of looking at it is that denying people freedom of speech is an incitement to violence.

    That’s why censorship is counter-productive.

    But of course, if you do want civil unrest, censorship is a great way of fomenting it.

  2. Would it be fair to say that Lapham’s argument predicts that we would have seen more organized protests and unrest than we did in Iran if the net had been cut off there?

    That doesn’t match my intuition, but what-if scenarios are difficult to guess at.  (In particular, I think the video of Neda Soltan served as an very large incitement towards more unrest, and I doubt that the video was shown on state TV.)

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