"The Internet is the greatest disinfectant."
- adapted from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
According to Pogo, "We have met the enemy and he is us." With the help of the Internet, what we have instead come to realize is that: "We have met the enemy and he is like us."
Add to that the fact that our real enemies are the rich and powerful in each of our countries who may be emperors with (very fine) clothes, but who don't give a damn about the rest of us. And given the Academy Award for Best Documentary going to Inside Job, their not giving a damn may be coming around to damn them.
How is it that such dictators and tyrants and arrogant financial people are able to seize and hold onto control for so long, especially when soon after they seize or gain power the conditions for the common people and the attention to human rights deteriorate?
I think it is a matter of the mass hypnotic trance they are able to put their people under. How does that trance occur? What would cause you and I to succumb to such a trance?
Imagine your state of mind being filled with fear, confusion, doubt, and indecisiveness. If that were the case, you would be hard pressed to be able to move. Now imagine a person who comes along who is fearless, clear, confident and decisive and compelling and convincing. If that were the case, you would be hard pressed to resist being in thrall to their influence.
I am reminded of the well known experiment in 1873 by D.A. Spalding and then more popularly redone in 1937 by Konrad Lorenz where they showed that newborn chicks would imprint upon and follow the first objects that moved.
Is it possible that when we are rendered vulnerable, raw, and mindless by a state of fear, confusion, doubt, and indecisiveness that like those chicks we too will imprint and follow the first moving object, a.k.a. self-appointed leader, who embodies fearlessness, clarity, confidence, and decisiveness?
How is it that up until recently, the vast majority of people have viewed their leaders as "having clothes" and caring deeply about their people and denied or ignored the fact that these leaders seemed to get wealthier whilst their people became poorer?
Perhaps it has been due to the massive imprinting people have had on perceived-as-powerful-and-caring leaders when people felt most fearful, confused, doubtful, and indecisive. However with the advent of mass communication and especially the Internet that has the power to get through to people everywhere (whereas printed and broadcast communication could be controlled), we are all seeing the enemy is much more like us in caring about their families and just trying to survive and our leaders are much more different than us.
Because of this, leaders and tyrants beware, we are all onto you.
Next on the list are the greedy, entitled, and rich among us who were like foxes in the henhouse since President Reagan de-regulated the economy. President Reagan preached "trickle down economics" but naively did not reckon on the fact that the wealthy would only care about getting more for themselves instead of caring about helping those with less. And now despite a massive setback in 2008-2009, the foxes are back in the henhouse. Except now the masses are much worse off.
These greedy haves may not be the tyrants of totalitarian regimes, but the eyes of the Internet will next be on you.
And this is what they see and are talking to each other about:
It's the Inequality, Stupid
Eleven charts that explain everything that's wrong with America.
How Rich Are the Superrich?
A huge share of the nation's economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 % of us? $31,244.
Note: The 2007 data (the most current) doesn't reflect the impact of the housing market crash. In 2007, the bottom 60% of Americans had 65% of their net worth tied up in their homes. The top 1%, in contrast, had just 10%. The housing crisis has no doubt further swelled the share of total net worth held by the superrich.