The Twitter Delusion
Twitter is Not a Great Emancipator
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  • Andrew Allison

    I would argue that social networking is the primary cause of the fall into the normalized state of violence and repression in the mid-East. It’s primary effect has been to stir up violence which, surprise, surprise has led to repression.

    • Fred

      Exactly. Only Americans and Western Europeans could be so naive that they think savages suddenly become civilized because they get on Facebook.

  • ljgude

    In the case of the Arab spring the beam in our eye was our own positive regard for democracy projected on a very different society. In retrospect the process in Egypt yields to a much older explanation advance by Gibbon in his Decline and Fall where he noted that the real power lay with the Praetorian Guard who could make or break any emperor they pleased with a little assist from the mob down at Tahrir Square. Imagine the feats the Romans could have racked up declining and falling if they had had Twitter!

    • Jim__L

      Now you’ve made me want to rewrite Caesar’s “Conquest of Gaul” as a series of Tweets… the man would have been frighteningly good at social media, no doubt.

      • ljgude

        Omnia Gallia in tres partes divisa est would make a great start in well under 140 characters.

  • John Hasley

    Social networking has not been the primary cause of things reverting to their time-honored states. The fact is that it took many years for things in the west to get to the point where they would support a free society. The Founding Fathers maintained for a reason that they were upholding the rights of Englishmen and the king was a usurper. There was a long tradition of such things going back through the Middle Ages English Common Law goes through 1000 years of limitations on the kings of England, and they have similar parallels in the French Estates General and Spanish Cortes. But it took a long path to get here and a lot of work by so many whose names we don’t know. There are reasons why something like the Internet and social media can yield a tool for the limitation of government in the inheritors of Washington and Jefferson (and Alfred and Richard Coer de Leon) while not doing so in the heirs of Yaroslav and Ivan the Terrible. These things do not happen in a vacuum and they do not occur overnight.

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