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

Sadly, this was not a namecheck

Matt Taibbi: “America enters the samizdat era”

It is a sobering description of how the world went from this:

Ten years ago PBS did a feature that quoted a Russian radio personality calling Samizdat the “precursor to the Internet.” Sadly this is no longer accurate. Even a decade ago Internet platforms were mechanical wonders brimming with anarchic energy whose ability to transport ideas to millions virally and across borders made episodes like the Arab Spring possible. Governments rightly trembled before the destabilizing potential of tools like Twitter, whose founders as recently as 2012 defiantly insisted they would remain “neutral” on content control, seeing themselves as the “free speech wing of the free speech party.”

to this:

The Internet, in other words, was being transformed from a system for exchanging forbidden or dissenting ideas, like Samizdat, to a system for imposing top-down control over information and narrative, a GozIzdat. Worse, while the Soviets had to rely on primitive surveillance technologies, like the mandatory registration of typewriters, the Internet offered breathtaking new surveillance capability, allowing authorities to detect thoughtcrime by algorithm and instantaneously disenfranchise those on the wrong side of the information paradigm, stripping them of the ability to raise money or conduct business or communicate at all.

(Hat tip: Instapundit. Like us at Samizdata, Glenn Reynolds has watched this change happen over the time he has been blogging.)

3 comments to Sadly, this was not a namecheck

  • Paul Marks

    The “public-private partnership” of “Stakeholder Capitalism” (the Corporate State) is indeed a terrible threat to Freedom of Speech – even in the United States where (perhaps alone of all nations) there is a real freedom of speech provision in the Constitution (the First Amendment does not contain poison pills such as “subject to law” or “apart from Hate Speech” which make the provisions in other Constitutions a hollow sham).

    It is true that it is Credit Money (money created from nothing and dished out to Corporate entities – this is the foundation of the institutionally corrupt modern economy) that has concentrated economic power in a few hands (the Cantillon Effect) – but there is also a ruthless (indeed vicious) disregard for liberty among both government and Corporate bureaucrats.

    60 years of agitprop (agitation propaganda) by (for example) the late Herbert Marcuse and his “Woke” followers have had their effect – the modern government and Corporate bureaucrats believe that Freedom of Speech is “Repressive Tolerance” to racists-sexist-homophobe-transphobe-Islamophobe-ClimateDeniers – which “harms disadvantaged groups”, it is, therefore, their Progressive duty to crush Freedom of Speech – to stamp down on our faces, and then grind us into the dirt.

    Racial Justice, Gender Justice and Climate Justice mean that we must be destroyed. On this the government and Corporate bureaucrats all agree – have been taught to agree (or, at least, to pretend to agree – for fear of what might happen to them if they did not agree).

  • Paul Marks

    The 2016 vote for British independence (“Brexit”) and for President Trump, was the final proof to the establishment (if any was needed) that “the will of all” could not be tolerated, that only the “General Will” (decided by a Rousseau like “Law Giver”) should be heard from – with no dissenting voices with their “disinformation” that 1+1=2.

    Remember, to “educated” Collectivists (including working in the Corporations) truth-is-evil – whether it is truth about Covid, truth about historic temperature figures, or many other matters.

    Truth is evil (is “misinformation” because it stands in the way of Progressive Collectivism – which is the only thing that matters (even if it has to built on a foundation of human bones).

    As truth (to the establishment) is evil, people who tell the truth – must be destroyed.

    Besides, the establishment tell themselves, there is “really” no such thing as objective truth (supposedly the American Pragmatist philosophers have shown this) – only that which serves the cause of building Progressive Collectivism and “reactionary misinformation” which stands in the way.

    “Reactionary misinformation” (the truth) and those who spread it, must-be-destroyed.

  • Paul Marks

    Tell the truth about the fraudster Michael Mann and you will be fined a million Dollars. Spread a joke meme on the internet – and you will be sent to prison.

    “But there is trial by jury” – not a problem, as the trials will be held (even if you live thousands of miles away) in Progressive Hell-Holes such as Washington D.C. and New York City.

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