We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

How many degrees of separation?

This is the first occasion upon which I have picked out a comment for further comment, as it were, but this comment from Natalie Solent sharply claimed my attention:

“Just possibly the miracle may have been helped along by the power of the blogosphere. Er, specifically, by me.”

The ‘miracle’ that Natalie is referring to is the appearance of a vigourously pro-gun essay by Professor Joyce Malcolm on the website of the BBC and which I have blogged about euphorically here.

The part that Natalie might well have played in this moment of glory is set out in greater detail on Biased BBC:

“Dare we at Biased BBC hope that we had some role in its appearance? It is possible! The BBC’s clutch of articles published on the subject last October were, in their utter failure to even consider why anyone might oppose gun control (other than through an idolatrous reverence for every word of the US constitution), a disgrace to the BBC Charter. I fisked them with all the brio I could muster, and quite a few blogs linked to the fisking. I then sent the url to Prof. Malcolm, whose e-mail address I found at the bottom of an article about British media perceptions of gun crime published about the same time. She was kind enough to reply, so we may have helped bring to her attention a specific and recent example of a point she has long made, that the British media ignore the case against gun control. On the BBC side of the equation, we do know by various small indications that the Beeb’s watchful eyes do occasionally fall upon this site, so perhaps someone was stung by the realisation that one significant strand of opinion had been very ill served.”

Well, perhaps Professor Malcolm had already decided to write her essay and perhaps the BBC had decided, in any event, to make some concession to the other side of the argument. But I prefer to think that Natalie’s efforts did not go unrewarded. It gives me a delicious frisson of satisfaction to think that maybe one of us Lilliputians tied down the broadcasting Gulliver if only for a brief while.

It also illustrates the importance of communicating ideas and weaving the gossamer fine networks between sane, intelligent people who, whilst still acting individually, can eventually set off an avalanche. From the BBC to Natalie to Joyce Malcolm and back to the BBC. Thanks to the net, those degrees of separation get smaller all the time.

5 comments to How many degrees of separation?

  • Sandy P.

    I also read the comments section. Most just don’t get it, do they?

  • I don’t know if it’s just wishful thinking but I am certainly beginning to get the impression that people in the media are beginning to pick up on what I have been saying.

    And then there’s the Iain Murray case. I find it hard to believe that he would have been sacked if hi blog wasn’t beginning to have influence.

  • I for one have no doubt that blogs will make a difference, when large numbers of people agree, the noise will be noticed because of the unique structure of the blogosphere.

  • I for one have no doubt that blogs will make a difference, when large numbers of people agree, the noise will be noticed because of the unique structure of the blogosphere.