Evgeny Morozov bangs his drum again questioning the democratizing power of the Internet. Though I find him overly reactionary, I do generally agree with Morozov. My original master’s thesis proposal was on the Internet as a propaganda tool for clerics in Iran. Morozov’s basic point over the past couple of years is that the Internet is just a tool, to be used for good or ill — with an emphasis on the ill. This article sums up his view once again, except he brings up an excellent point about techno-utopian bias that he dubs “orientalism-in-reverse”:
While we fret about the Internet’s contribution to degrading the civic engagement of American kids, all teenagers in China or Iran are presumed to be committed and engaged global citizens who use the Web to acquaint themselves with human rights violations committed by their governments.
Read the whole article and the comments. I follow Morozov’s blog and his writing in FP. Often I find his op-eds heavy in rhetoric and light on data, so I am looking forward to his book on the Internet and democracy, which will be released later this year.
Related: Evgeny Morozov’s TED talk