At the crossroads of journalism and technology.

Wired: It Just Doesn't Matter

by the J.Net staff


The bulk of our meeting was a discussion of the "Digital Dark Ages" article which appeared in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. While the article was well written, our opinions were split as to how accurate it was.

Some group members agree that the net is dominated by so-called "cyberliberterians" who want to do away with government. Their vision of the world is one where market forces will drive society. Parents will go shopping for whatThe bulk of our meeting was a discussion of the "Digital Dark Ages" article which appeared in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. While the article was well written, our opinions were split as to how accurate it was. Some group members agree that the net is dominated by so-called "cyberliberterians" who want to do away with government. Their vision of the world is one where market forces will drive society. Parents will go shopping for whatever education they can afford for their children. There will be no minimum wage laws. In short, the public sector will be eliminated all together.

We all agreed that if you ask most people, an overwhelming majority of the people would in fact agree that government is necessary and even "good". This is not to say that there are not many problems associated with government. Rather, on the whole, the government does much more good than harm.

Other members of the group strongly disagreed with the statement that most people on the net are cyberliberterians. While it may be true that the people publishing Wired magazine, and most of the people participating in the online discussions have such bents, it was theorized that these people represent a very small portion of the online community and an even smaller portion of the population as a whole. It is easy to rally behind traditional liberal causes such as "Free speech on the Internet". It is an entirely different idea to want to abolish government all together.

We also discussed whether or not capitalism needs government control. It was observed that eventually, it is in the best interest of companies to reach out to a large segment of the population (across the economic spectrum). Of course, this would leave some significant (if small be a percentage measure) portion of the population completely on their own and without any recourse or hope for improvement. The cyberliberterians believe that there are losers in any revolution, and that we as a population should learn to accept that.

Finally, we observed that the cyberliberterians did not often present compelling arguments for their viewpoints. Despite the fact that their elitist views of government appear to be firmly entrenched in the early 19th century, their stock response to criticism appears to be "Pull your head out of the 19th century. The digital revolution will sweep you and your views away. Time will prove us right in the end."