The following is part of a (slightly edited) correspondence I had with a friend on-line. I should add that, apropos of the thrust of this post, my friend is someone I've never actually met with face to face. This is not entirely down to the limits of the internet-where virtual is the name of the game- as my friend lives in a part of the country that is quite distant and is not an area that I have reason to visit, well, aside from our seemingly (internet bound) friendship.
"No doubt – I do not know when as I am beginning to lose hope in that most people seem too stupid to know what is happening to them – that and the fact that fully half are now takers rather than makers. So it may be that in the end – the takers win out – who knows."
I've long pondered the whys and wherefores of contemporary citizen inaction, and, while I'm sure entire books could be (and have been) written on such things, I have a few pet ideas. One of them squares on the role of the internet, namely it's incredibly capacity to dissipate all kinds of emotions and energy. Consider the following:
In days of yore, if people wanted to be heard by their fellow man, and I mean heard in numbers, what options did they have? They had few options except to take out ads in the local gazette, manage to get themselves heard on radio or T.V., or, perhaps, rent out a hall-a favorite of political activists going back many generations-and say whatever it was they felt they had to say.
Now they can....blog...and boy do they ever blog by the boatload. Quite a few blogs are downright vitriolic, even incendiary in their style and content, and some, not too many, but some, are compelling. And yet, at least in the U.S., it seems, what transpires from all the chatter? Very little. I am not by any means suggesting that the blogosphere has, all by itself, sucked the life out of any potential political activism, let alone revolutionary spirit, but, still, I fear that the presence of the internet, along with myriad other kinds of (peculiar to our age) diverting fare, and some other, not to be named in this missive, crucial factors, have reduced us collectively to not much more than inveterate talking typists-and here I raise my hand up as a member of this guilty cohort- at the expense of aligning ourselves with one another for the purpose of taking genuine action, not in cyberspace, but in the real world.