Iran, Twitter, and Revolution

In looking through the first five blogs on my list of usual suspects for this evening, I noticed that all five of them had “Facebook Revolution” posts on Iran. Here’s tonight’s line-up, not necessarily in the order of their current favor at Court: Sullivan, Kos, Huffpo, Instapundit, and Little Miss Attila. The whole Twitter, Flickr, Facebook revolution of the future thing seems compelling, but I have my doubts. All of the above can be monitored and controlled, and despotic states will become increasingly likely to do just that every time another Ahmadinejad is caught flat footed. Back in 1789, 1830, 1848, and 1917, there was no Internet, but the word still got around, and, occasionally, revolutions succeeded even without Tweets. Of course, they often succeeded because guys like Louis XVI and Nicholas II lacked the will and ruthlessness to resist. They also succeeded because the state in those days lacked anything like the means of controlling its citizens that are easily at the command of any ruler who wants to use them today. In the end, technology will favor the oppressors, and not the oppressed. Just as the proponents of torture on the right will have second thoughts as soon as they become the victims, the proponents of the unrestricted growth of state power on the left should be careful what they wish for. They assume they will always be the state, and that it will never turn on them, but only on their enemies. So did Kamenev, Zinoviev, Bukharin and Trotsky.
.
If state power cannot be limited and controlled, all the tweeting in the world won’t raise Liberty from the dead. Mankind’s brush with Naziism and, especially, Communism in the 20th century were near things. We may not be so lucky in the years to come.
.
Update: Publius on the limits of Twitter.
.
.
iran-2009

Author: Helian

I am Doug Drake, and I live in Maryland, not far from Washington, DC. I am a graduate of West Point, and I hold a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin. My blog reflects my enduring fascination with human nature and human morality.

Leave a Reply