Many people believe our government is a democracy where we all have a vote. Well, no. We have one vote, to elect those among us we believe represent our values best and have that person act in our stead upon the matters of government. In other words, a Republic. Others, however are not enamored with this political model and wish to pursue a pure democratic enterprise in America. For most of us, the concept of a pure democracy sounds appealing - “my vote might actually matter” - but the good qualities of the system are quickly hampered by its negatives. Winston Churchill once said, “The strongest argument against democracy is a five minute discussion with the average voter”.
We as American do not normally see the practices of pure democracy in action except for small forums like union meeting, committee meetings, public townhalls, and social media sites. Its the latter that has caught my attention as they have the ability to demonstrate the speed and power an organized bully pulpit can have on the censorship of free thought. Most of you reading this are more than likely familiar with the website Digg.com. It is by far one of the most popular social media site on the Internet. Yesterday, I submitted to Digg for discussion the following article;
There is NO Global Warming Crisis
Within a few hours, it had become the most commented article in the Environment section of Digg. It also rose to the top 10 Upcoming stories and made number four on the Hot Topics list for Science and the Environment. It was possibly poised to reach the front page of Digg, reserved for only the most collectively interesting stories. But as fast as it was moving up, it suddenly disappeared from any Digg list. Effectively, it was removed as if it had never existed. It had been Buried. Digg has two features available to the democratic masses that prevail its site; you can DIGG a story or BURY it. At some point in time, the algorithm of justice and fairness built into the site decides that enough people have chosen to Bury the story and that is exactly what happens. It is a form of collective censorship. If you don’t like something, get rid of it, bury it.
Now, as the author of the previous story, I cannot blame Digg. They are not trying to be a government nor are they required to be fair, they are a business and in business to make money. What they do try to do is improve the fairness through the front page algorithm. Where my previous story got caught was with a simple process of discounting collective voting blocks. This means if you group together in like minded fashion to form a collective interest group (a party lets say), your votes in quick succession on an article submitted by a member of the group is discounted as artificial popularity. Digg demands diversity in the votes to show that one particular group is not trying to promote a theme that really has limited appeal among the people. Quite a nobel attempt at countering a detrimental side effect of pure democracy.
However, the same is not true with Burying an article. Many blog posts have expressed concern with what is called “Bury Brigades”. A collective organization of people use the options in the choice to bury an article so that the algorithm is distorted to quickly censor information the group wishes hidden. The Digg algorithm is private so no one knows for sure the actual way it works, but the article from yesterday was obviously a casualty of this attack. What it points out is the power of Fascism to obscure the minds of the masses and allow the militaristic means of the controlling group to censor what would be considered an opposing view point. The article from yesterday was with out a doubt controversial. The comments alone showed the heated opinions on both sides. But in the end, a Bury Brigade had its will do.
What angers me so, is not a personal reason since I was the author, but the subject matter. It was an opposition piece to the idea of man made Global Warming. The proponents argue that the debate is over, that everyone agrees our climate problems are our fault. Well, that is obviously true when dissenting opinions are crushed and censored so that people can not be exposed to an alternate truth. As long as organizations like “Bury Brigades” can squelch the opposing commentary, topics like Global Warming will be lead by fascist regimes of like minded social media denizens, using their collective power to suppress open discussion in modern and traditional media. But having an authoritarian governmental organization (the IPCC) with substantial financial resources backing these pawns of the punditry, is truly terrifying for the future of free thought and our Republic.
With that I leave you with this:
“The press [media today] should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses”.
- Vladimir Lenin