I saw a quote the other day on “Patriot Post” that led me down the rabbit hole: “Censorship determines the narrative. The narrative determines public opinion. Public opinion determines the vote. The vote determines who runs the country. We have replaced voting with battles over who gets censored.” —Scott Adams
Sociologists consider this to be “the information age” or the age after the “late modern age.” We have graduated (In the most advanced countries, some areas are still in the early medieval state of development… But that’s another piece for another time.) from needing vast numbers of people who can operate machines to tight tolerances, to needing vast numbers of people who can understand large amounts of data flow, and pull the nugget of gold out of the mountain of bullshit.
We don’t have lots and lots of machinists and toolmakers, we have three-axis CNC and 3D printers now that can do that as well, or better than any but the very best machinist. Not only do we have them, but the price is low enough that a private civilian hobbyist can afford one that will perform as well as the average machinist of the 60s. A company can afford one that performs to the same standard as the very best machinist. Knowing how to make these things work, and how to fix them, that’s the gold nugget, or it was a few years ago… We have kids in their preteens that can operate a 3D printer as well as someone who went to trade school could just a few years ago. And it’s getting worse (or better, depending on your perspective.)
The key is that the society we have now, depends not on “what skill you know” but on “how fast can you learn, and how quickly can you pull data out of the cloud.”
The caveman in me is a little concerned about this, because what happens when the machine stops? In the 60s most folks couldn’t explain how the TV works… But if they had to, they could use hand tools to get their vehicle running again. A failure of the Electrical grid, such as caused by a CME (Coronial Mass Ejection) or an EMP from a nuclear attack would drop them to 1940s tech, but they could handle that, and as long as the guys that knew how to build the really specialized stuff (like CRTs, and Transistors) didn’t all die, they could recoup and be back to “normal” in a few years, a decade at most. If those guys did all die, well there were books.
But imagine something that takes down all electronics NOW. There are still a few folks that know enough to get us back to the 40s, but not nearly as many percentage-wise… and the folks that rely on YouTube to learn how, well they’re going to be desperately hunting for someone that can show them how in meat space. There are just not a lot of books on paper about that sort of thing, outside the Prepper community anyway.
But that’s not the biggest trap. The huge thing, the thing that keeps me awake at night, is that “he who controls the flow of knowledge, controls the world.” More and more, that control is becoming centralized.
That’s a bad thing.
For many reasons. First, single-point failure is stupid, and an invitation for Uncle Murphy to come and play with your system. Second, let us go back up to that quote I mentioned… Or we can look at another quote:
“Secrecy is the keystone to all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy and censorship. When any government or church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man who has been hoodwinked in this fashion; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, whose mind is free. No, not the rack nor the atomic bomb, not anything. You can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.”
― Robert A Heinlein
The key word here is “censorship.”
Censorship, according to The Encyclopedia Britannica, is the changing or the suppression, or prohibition of speech or writing that is deemed subversive of the common good. It occurs in all manifestations of authority to some degree, but in modern times it has been of special importance in its relation to government and the rule of law.
Or at least that’s what the internet says that Britannica says today… Tomorrow it might say something different. How would you know? And THAT is the concern. Now Britannica singles out “Government” as the possible villain of the piece, and they are certainly correct that government, any government is a thing to watch and guard against. The PRC, and Russia are poster children for that. But Mega Corporations, like oh say Apple, or Meta, or Google, well, they are just as capable of doing the damage, and when you get both groups together on the same side? Yeah, that’s a real recipe for disaster.
I mention this because that’s where we are.
Well, what is “Hate Speech?” The UN now tells us that it’s anything that may threaten social peace. They then go on to give this little definition: “any kind of communication in speech, writing or behavior, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, color, descent, gender or other identity factor.”And follows up with: “Hate speech can be conveyed through any form of expression, including images, cartoons, memes, objects, gestures and symbols and it can be disseminated offline or online. Hate speech is “discriminatory” (biased, bigoted, or intolerant) or “pejorative” (prejudiced, contemptuous, or demeaning) of an individual or group. Hate speech calls out real or perceived “identity factors” of an individual or a group, including: “religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, color, descent, gender,” but also characteristics such as language, economic or social origin, disability, health status, or sexual orientation, among many others.”
If you read through that and didn’t see a way to ban absolutely anything you don’t want someone else to say, you’re insufficiently imaginative or are as innocent as a newborn babe. Free speech means NOTHING unless it applies to everything. If you aren’t willing to let your worst enemy say things that are blatant lies, and then call them out as blatant lies, allowing the “marketplace of ideas” to determine the right of it, you’re not for free speech, you just want to be the guy with the black marker. When you combine this with the stunts that companies like Apple are pulling…
To refresh your memory, in 2019, Apple, at the request of the PRC, removed an app from Apple phones (in the PRC only) that allowed protesters to keep track of PRC security forces. It was called “HKmap.live”, and they justified it by claiming that they did this to protect the security forces (with tanks) from the evil protesters (with Molotov cocktails and bows & arrows.) This week they pulled the use of “airdrop” from phones in the PRC because protesters are using it to get around government censorship.
In addition, “journalists” are trying to get Apple to remove Twitter from their phone system, because of that “hate speech” thing, now that Musk is allowing free speech on the app. The funny thing is they’re not interested in removing TikTok, which the US state department and DOD have proven is being used by the PRC to spy on Americans.
Meanwhile, here in the US, China is winning the information war by getting us to teach the people that will eventually be fighting us. The DOD just released the “military and security developments involving the PRC 2022” you can find it here.
As Sal (CDR Salamander) points out, the key takeaway is:
Sensitive, dual-use, or military-grade equipment that the PRC have attempted to acquire include radiation hardened integrated circuits, monolithic microwave integrated circuits, accelerometers, gyroscopes, naval and marine technologies, syntactic foam trade secrets, space communications, military communication jamming equipment, dynamic random access memory, aviation technologies, and antisubmarine warfare (ASW) capabilities.
This isn’t some Mad Magazine “Spy vs Spy” piece (or at least not mostly, there’s some straight-up espionage) most of it is quite open. They’re sending some of their best and brightest to us to learn. How many? Well, it seems no one is actually tracking that. Best guess though is well north of 300,000, all of them in STEM courses. No one from the PRC is taking “gender studies” bullshit. A deep dive finds that no one has the slightest idea how many Chinese students are working in Masters and Ph.D. programs here.
Oh, and those programs? They’re mostly “dual-use technology” stuff. What do I mean by “dual-use technology”? Well back in the 70s- and 80s, the USSR learned how to make noise isolation systems from Honda, where they were used to isolate the engine of Acura sedans from the people compartment. The funny thing is that the same technology is usable to make submarine equipment isolated from the sea, and reduce radiated noise! Yes, the USSR used Acura sound mounts to quiet their submarines… and not just a little bit, they dropped their radiated noise by over 9 DB. (3 DB is half, or twice depending on which way you go.) Most of the ROV weapons that Iran is building and selling to Russia are using COTS electronics. This is what we mean by “dual-use tech.”
Now I have a friend in .EDU that claims “well these folks are coming here to get away from the PRC, they’re not going to share the education they get with the people they’re fleeing from!”
Oh, you sweet summer child.
The following is an excerpt from that well-known right-wing reactionary rag CNN, as found here and here:
On the bucolic campus of Purdue University in Indiana, deep in America’s heartland and 7,000 miles from his home in China, Zhihao Kong thought he could finally express himself.
In a rush of adrenaline last year, the graduate student posted an open letter on a dissident website praising the heroism of the students killed in the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.
The blowback, he said, was fast and frightening. His parents called from China, crying. Officers of the Ministry of State Security, the feared civilian spy agency, had warned them about his activism in the United States.
“They told us to make you stop or we are all in trouble,” his parents said.
Then other Chinese students at Purdue began hounding him, calling him a CIA agent and threatening to report him to the embassy and the MSS.
Kong, who goes by the nickname Moody, had already accepted an invitation from an international group of dissidents to speak at a coming online commemoration of the Tiananmen massacre anniversary. Uncertain if he should go through with it, he joined in rehearsals for the event on Zoom.
Within days, MSS officers were at his family’s door again. His parents implored him: No public speaking. No rallies.
I can’t help but wonder how Kong’s parents are doing now that Georgetown was thoughtful enough to name him on an open forum… I sort of wish I had a life insurance policy on them.
Sal did a deeper dive than I have space for, and you can find it here.
If you take nothing else away from this, please at least understand that the PRC is at war with us. Right now, it’s a cold war and a war of information. That war will almost certainly, short of a revolution, coup, or civil war in the PRC, eventually turn HOT. We need to quit helping the people that are building the tools to kill our troops. NO ONE, NOT ONE SINGLE CITIZEN of the PRC can be believed to be on our side, as long as they have a family back in the PRC. Yes, the PRC is ruthless enough to hold a camera on your aged mother, while they shoot her in the head, before turning the camera to your little sister and pointing out that “she’s next!” If you don’t believe me, do just a tiny bit of research on the “cultural revolution” in China, and some of the things that were done then, and are still being done against the Ungar and other “undesirables.”
The information war is real, it’s being waged both internationally, like the stuff I just mentioned about the PRC, and within our own borders, with things like “the Hunter Biden Laptop” that was squashed, and identified as hate speech and propaganda, until after the elections. Now, belatedly, after all the votes are in, and Biden is pretty much a dead letter, everyone from MSNBC to Huff and Puff is coming out and admitting that “Yeah, that’s real, it’s not propaganda, and it’s all true.”
This does not have to be a “formal conspiracy” where a bunch of guys in robes and cowls that hide their faces get together in a star chamber, to have the same effect. All it needs, and indeed all it is, is a bunch of people who all suffer from groupthink, and a very few incredibly powerful men who are all a member of the same social circle and hold similar views.
These people do not have our nation’s best interests at heart. They fully believe that the world would be better off, and humanity would be far better if led by the Few Wise Men (meaning THEM) and not run by the rabble that doesn’t recognize their own best interests… (that’s YOU by the way.) They are willing to sell you, me, and our principles down the river in pursuit of what they see as the perfection of the human race…
There was another group that had that same sort of goal one time, (well, actually there have been several, but…) they came out of Germany, you might just have heard something about them? Circa 1937 through 1945?
Go forth and learn, do research, and think. Knowledge IS power, don’t surrender that to people who wish you no good.