Outside the Panopticon

“Although it is physically impossible for the guards in a panopticon to observe all the inmates, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that they are motivated to act as though they are being watched at all times. Thus, the inmates are effectively compelled to regulate their own behaviour.”
Panopticon, Wikipedia

But there’s gonna be a meter on your bed…That will disclose…What everybody knows – Leonard Cohen


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Surveillance has been Normalized but so has Self-Censorship

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Presidio modela - panopticon prison in CubaRevelations like those from Snowden and the Pegasus Project have this same unexpected and counterintuitive effect. Instead of rejecting the control, we increasingly learn to adapt and self censor. The panopticon effect lies exactly in this acceptance of the new normal. Afraid to say the wrong thing, we self censure our discourse and the allowable range of ideas becomes more and more narrow. Those who fail to ‘check their words’ are cancelled and provide an example for the rest.

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Surveillance has been Normalized but so has Self-Censorship

Breaking up the Tech Giants is not Enough

ARTICLE

MonopolyMonopoly used to be understood in a kind of one dimensional space, how a company may have gained dominance in its industry. However, today’s tech monopolies exist in multidimensions; they monopolize and control our data, they decide when and if to censor our speech, and they purchase government officials, the same ones charged with reigning them in. But our old conception of monopolies is totally inadequate to describe or understand the significance of today’s big tech companies.

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Breaking up the Tech Giants is not Enough

McCarthyism, Political Courage and High Noon

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Anti-reds posterWitch hunts in various forms are one of those recurring themes of human history. One variation, known as McCarthyism, has returned recently, at least in the lexicon. The word McCarthyism has been thrown around a lot lately. Like ‘fascist’ or ‘marxist,’ it is a part of the word arsenal deployed in our current culture wars.

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McCarthyism, Political Courage and High Noon

Anti-Oppression Politics is a Red Herring to Divert Our Attention from Empire, Inequality, and Class Solidarity

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Why are the rich so much better at uniting around class issues than the plebes? Outrage is a sentiment that feels so pure and so right. When it is pointed at injustice and burns bright inside of us we are reaffirmed as the moral beings that we believe ourselves to be. That our strongly held sense of righteousness could be a useful tool for others and even redirected to serve their purposes may seem impossible and even unbearable.

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Anti-Oppression Politics is a Red Herring to Divert Our Attention from Empire, Inequality, and Class Solidarity

Hey English Instructors – ‘Take a History Class and Learn about Free Speech’

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University of Oklahoma teachers workshop:Recently, Oklahoma University contributed their own stark example of how the core values of free speech and critical thinking are being misunderstood and misapplied in the spheres of what we call ‘higher education’.

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Hey English Instructors – ‘Take a History Class and Learn about Free Speech’

Hyperbole on the Loose! The Left Cries Wolf and is Unprepared to Recognize the Real Thing

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Boy Who Cried WolfWhen you’ve branded every dissenting voice–no matter how mild, with the harshest possible labels, what vocabulary do you have available to point out the actual wolf when it comes out of the forest?

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Hyperbole on the Loose! The Left Cries Wolf and is Unprepared to Recognize the Real Thing

A Leftist Scholar on Populism Abandons Foundational Principles of Free Speech and Class

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Plebeian synonymsIf anyone is wondering just how deep is the left’s abandonment of its most long-standing and foundational values, namely free speech and class analysis, one need look no further than this book about populism: Systemic Corruption: Constitutional Ideas for an Anti-Oligarchic Republic by Columbia Law School postdoc scholar Camila Vergara.

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A Leftist Scholar on Populism Abandons Foundational Principles of Free Speech and Class

When Populism Meant Collective Strength Against a Rigged System

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Southern farmers 1880sThe word populism gets thrown around these days to mean many different things. But the populist farmers revolt of the 1880s has so much to teach us today.

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When Populism Meant Collective Strength Against a Rigged System

How the Left Woke Up and Found Its Inner Anti-Semitism

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Antisemitic anti-immigrant cartoon, 1890The mildest of criticisms aimed at woke theology are considered literal violence by its proponents. But at the same time, the harshest slurs and insults are completely acceptable if they are deployed against individuals who are not part of what has become a protected caste. In fact, randomly tossing around words like bigot, Nazi or White supremacist is the woke sport of our age. Nazi no longer means members of the National Socialist Party of Germany in the 30s and 40s who were dedicated, above all else, to the extermination of other humans born into one particular group. For woke cultists, Nazi just means anyone who doesn’t adhere to the exact language of their catechism. It’s strange that it is necessary to say, in our modern woke world of supposed tolerance for everyone’s identity, that Jewish identity and the enduring nature of anti-Semitism are real.

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How the Left Woke Up and Found Its Inner Anti-Semitism