A Global Community Of Tyrants

What does it mean when – as happens very frequently on the Internet – a person takes and condemns another person’s expression of individual taste as being an expression of “intolerance”? The first appears to be assuming that the second is expressing a preference only as a preliminary to suppressing whatever he does not care for. No doubt this tells us everything we need to know about the first party’s own conceptual framework and his own intentions for the rest of us.

In a fairly similar way, denizens of the Internet regularly complain that they are being “censored” whenever anyone either disagrees with them or ignores them. They are here implicitly – and sometimes even explicitly – identifying their freedom of expression with an obligation on all other parties to listen to and positively agree with them. It is not an unreasonable speculation that they would enforce this obligation if only they had the power. Among all the other things the Internet may be called, it is also a global device for detecting people who would, if given the power, imprison, torture or kill anyone who dared to disagree with the least of their whims and fancies. There are a billion demented despots out there.

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