FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

John Kerry, Organization Man

by THOMAS L. KNAPP

Lots of people have lots of complaints about the Internet, and some of those complaints are based in fact. One that I hadn’t heard before, until US Secretary of State John Kerry brought it up in recent remarks to embassy personnel in Brazil, is that the Internet makes it “much harder to govern, much harder to organize people, much harder to find the common interest …”

Sounds kind of backward, doesn’t it? From protests to petitions, publicity campaigns to meetup schedules, the Internet has become the preeminent tool of political organization in the two decades since the World Wide Web debuted. The advance of technology has involved more people in political action, and more effectively, than anything before it. It substantially enables us to govern ourselves in far more effective — and far more consensual — ways than Kerry and the gang he works for could ever hope to.

But, of course, that’s not what Kerry means by “organization” or “government.” As a foot soldier of the political class, he uses those terms to mean putting the people he rules into lockstep motion in physical, mental and financial support of goals set by and for the state (the only “common interest” he recognizes). He’s happy to let us color the picture, but only so long as he gets to draw the lines we color within. And he takes comfort in the knowledge that other states will manage similar feats among their own subjects, reducing the number of real players in global polity and economy to a few political class representatives and simplifying the task of shearing billions of sheep.

The Internet is, from that perspective, his worst nightmare. It erases political borders and lets people living under the rule of different states mingle, discuss, debate … and agree … and organize … and act … with no need for approval or permission from the world’s John Kerrys or Barack Obamas or Vladimir Putins or Adly Mansours.

Kerry’s lamentation isn’t the first such, nor will it be the last: The American and global political classes recognize fast, cheap communication between their subjects as the death knell for their own tenuous grip on power. The bloated, bureaucratic, hierarchal, snail-paced organizations on which states rely are no match for the distributed, networked, ad hoc organizations that the world’s masses can put together in hours and adapt to changing circumstances in minutes.

That’s why the worm has turned in terms of state-to-state tutelage.

Back in the 1980s, the politicians of comparatively liberal states like the US encouraged “constructive engagement” with more oppressive states like South Africa and the People’s Republic of China. More talk, more trade, we were told, would encourage those states to “liberalize.”

These days, it’s the alleged “liberals” who envy — and increasingly attempt to emulate — things like the Great Firewall of China and Mubarak’s ability to shut down the Internet in Egypt.

Given the choice between a totalitarian state and no state at all, people like Kerry will choose the former every time. And that is always the ultimate choice — not just for him, but for us as well.

Thomas L. Knapp is Senior News Analyst at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

 

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
Ron Jacobs
Exacerbate the Split in the Ruling Class
Jill Stein
After US Airstrikes Kill 73 in Syria, It’s Time to End Military Assaults that Breed Terrorism
Jack Rasmus
Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent
John Feffer
Could a Military Coup Happen Here?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad
Andrew Levine
Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?
Michael Lukas
Law, Order, and the Disciplining of Black Bodies at the Republican National Convention
Victor Grossman
Horror News, This Time From Munich
Margaret Kimberley
Gavin Long’s Last Words
Mark Weisbrot
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil
Brian Cloughley
Boris Johnson: Britain’s Lying Buffoon
Lawrence Reichard
A Global Crossroad
Kevin Schwartz
Beyond 28 Pages: Saudi Arabia and the West
Charles Pierson
The Courage of Kalyn Chapman James
Michael Brenner
Terrorism Redux
Bruce Lerro
Being Inconvenienced While Minding My Own Business: Liberals and the Social Contract Theory of Violence
Mark Dunbar
The Politics of Jeremy Corbyn
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children
Binoy Kampmark
Laura Ingraham and Trumpism
Uri Avnery
The Great Rift
Nicholas Buccola
What’s the Matter with What Ted Said?
Aidan O'Brien
Thank Allah for Western Democracy, Despondency and Defeat
Joseph Natoli
The Politics of Crazy and Stupid
Sher Ali Khan
Empirocracy
Nauman Sadiq
A House Divided: Turkey’s Failed Coup Plot
Franklin Lamb
A Roadmap for Lebanon to Grant Civil Rights for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
Colin Todhunter
Power and the Bomb: Conducting International Relations with the Threat of Mass Murder
Michael Barker
UK Labour’s Rightwing Select Corporate Lobbyist to Oppose Jeremy Corbyn
Graham Peebles
Brexit, Trump and Lots of Anger
Anhvinh Doanvo
Civilian Deaths, Iraq, Syria, ISIS and Drones
Christopher Brauchli
Kansas and the Phantom Voters
Peter Lee
Gavin Long’s Manifesto and the Politics of “Terrorism”
Missy Comley Beattie
An Alarmingly Ignorant Fuck
Robert Koehler
Volatile America
Adam Vogal
Why Black Lives Matter To Me
Raouf Halaby
It Is Not Plagiarism, Y’all
Rev. Jeff Hood
Deliver Us From Babel
Frances Madeson
Juvenile Life Without Parole, Captured in ‘Natural Life’
Charles R. Larson
Review: Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail