STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Internet Reformation: Has It Progressed?
By Daily Bell Staff - September 05, 2016

Britain will never leave the European Union (EU) because the process is too complicated, an academic has claimed. His comments prompted UK Independence Party MEPs to warn that Project Fear is “alive and kicking”. -Breitbart

With Hillary running for president on an authoritarian platform, Brexit foundering, China restricting websites and wars spreading around the world, it may look as if the Internet Reformation never came to pass.

But if one believes that copious, often uncontrollable information supports freedom, then the Internet can surely be seen as a significant positive.

As we long ago pointed out, the Reformation was in large part the outcome of the Gutenberg Press and its impact on a society that could suddenly share written information efficiently.

There is a convincing – and relatively recent – theory that what came before the Press, during the Dark Ages, was actually a time of freedom in which the overriding centralization of kingship was relatively absent.

This may indeed be true, but it does not invalidate the positive impact of the written word, unless one wants to argue that an illiterate society is preferable to a literate one.

There are those, of course, who will argue that the Internet has been a net negative for society and humanity. But additions to education and a better sense of how the world works should not be seen as steps backwards in our view.

So we begin, as we have before, with the idea that more and better information is preferable to less information provided in a manipulated fashion.

Not only that, but this flow of information continues and has, we’d argue, already changed the world in significant ways.

In other words, the Internet has indeed sparked a kind of Reformation – as we predicted long ago (here).

The initial Reformation changed people’s beliefs in the Roman Catholic Church and created over time numerous new religions including most prominently Lutheranism and Protestantism.

The Internet has caused many – especially the intelligentsia – to question their sociopolitical beliefs and the role of the State in their lives and the body politic.

The initial Reformation was subject to a variety of elite attacks via copyright, religious intolerance and outright war.

We’ve seen exactly the same menu of approaches this time. Copyright has been inordinately tightened in order to stop the spreading of important information via the ‘Net. And wars have been expanding and continuing especially in the Middle East since the early 2000s.

The initial Reformation eventually generated an entirely new country – the United States – with a freedom philosophy that apparently had not been fully enunciated in several thousand years (since Athens).

The Internet is often cited as a big influence in the just-completed Brexit that has the potential to undo the European Union.

In October or November, Italy holds a referendum on governmental changes. If the referendum loses, it could topple the government and cause other political influences to come to fore – along with a serious possibility of a referendum on the unpopular euro itself.

If Italy holds a referendum on the euro and votes to leave the eurozone (and euro) this might well be the trigger that blasts the euro apart and even splits the EU itself.

Such a political and economic upheaval would certainly be reminiscent of the impact of the Gutenberg Press on the church and the creation of the US.

As we have pointed out before, some alternative political analysis points out that the Reformation was actually an elite program to split the Church and create new, controllable religions. But even so, one cannot argue comfortably that Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence was a statement that the elites either sought or endorsed.

In other words, the Press provided additional tools for the elites of the day but it also generated unforeseen consequences that significantly supported increased freedom. One can argue exactly the same process is occurring today.

Certainly, one can succumb to fatalism and declare that the Internet was developed by DARPA to provide elites with the most invasive possible technology. But we have always maintained that the Internet was a mistake and that DARPA did not foresee the marrying of the PC to the ‘Net – which was at the time a communications platform for the military industrial complex.

One can also maintain that with the Internet as a tool, elites will be successful in bringing the world and its peoples fully under control. But the history of the Gutenberg Press and the Reformation shows us otherwise. Increased anarchy is as feasible as totalitarianism as a result of the Internet.

Our argument today, as before, maintains that the Internet will continue to upset the old order in obvious and unforeseen ways that will continue to make the world a freer place in many ways. Some of these will continue to be obvious and some will be less so.

It seems to us that ultimately the Internet will encourage private money and gold (see yesterday’s interview) along with secession and other forms power fragmentation. These will exist, side by side, with the centralizing and privacy-invading elements of the Internet.

Conclusion: Hardly anything is an unalloyed good, but if you want to understand the impact of the Internet, just compare the 20th century to the 21st and, if you are old enough, the expansion of your knowledge as a result.  Remember, it is not only you who have changed but hundreds of millions – billions – of others as well.

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  • ThomasJK

    Prior to the internet, I strongly suspected that The United States as it was founded had been floundering, foundering and suffering through a slow motion train wreck– I have learned from the internet that there are millions of the Citizens of the fifty states who are seeing things in much the same way that I have been — The country, the Citizens and the land will sustain, the parasitoidic government of the strange little foreign country that’s called The District of Columbia is well past the point of no recovery —
    F. U. B. A. R. is an appropriate acronym for its decrepit condition.

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and supporting your governments when they deserve support. — Mark Twain (paraphrased slightly)

    Most of the governments that we have deserve neither our support nor our respect.

  • AlanaSimmons

    Totalitarianism now reigns due to its display without comment from people who are afraid to say anything lest they be attacked, either online or physically at home or on the street.

    • The first step to freedom is knowledge. Fearful or not, more and more people likely understand what’s going on …

      • concerndcitizen

        When people can no longer tell the difference between right and wrong, their government mirrors their moral state.

        • Praetor

          Or is it the other way around!!!

          • vongoh

            Its symbiotic and mutually reinforcing, no doubt .

          • Chicken or the egg…

            I believe this problem is best explained by political r/K theory.

  • apberusdisvet

    So it seems that the control of the Internet and its vast information sources will be key; either to those who wish totalitarian control, or to those who desire freedom. We seem to be at a tipping point with elite calls for control by the UN, no less. This need to be fought, up to and including revolution.

  • Praetor

    The press and the internet, are tools. The product of those tools, information.

    The press gave the masses an alternative view of the world in the 1400, and many people seceded from the collective of the monarchs. They moved seeking freedom from their masters, and that came from reading the truth.

    The internet is giving the masses an alternative view of the world in the 21st century, and many will seceded, but it will be different. Not many places to move to in seeking freedom. They will prepare and wait for the monarchs collective to go ‘BOOM’, because it will.

    The monarchs are smart and evil, but not very wise, good or truthful!!!

  • vongoh

    Great piece, taking the long view framed like this … this paradigm has kept the Daily Bell near the top of my daily reading list for years now.

    We sure do live in “interesting times”.

  • Captain Turk

    THIS interesting and slightly related article came out today too…

    http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-how-the-cia-invented-conspiracy-theories/

    “To some extent the creation of the Internet and the vast proliferation of alternative media outlets, including my own small webzine, have somewhat altered this depressing picture. So it is hardly surprising that a very substantial fraction of the discussion dominating these … publications concerns exactly those subjects regularly condemned as “crazy conspiracy theories” by our mainstream media organs.”

  • TimeToWakeUpAmerica

    “Internet Reformation: Has It Progressed?” ARE YOU KIDDING !!!?

    OF COURSE, IT HAS !!!

    EU Globalists are About to have their Doors KICKED Down!
    http://thewealthwatchman.com/eu-globalists-are-about-to-have-their-doors-kicked-down/

    AWESOME ARTICLE BY THE WEALTH WATCHMAN! Kudos.

  • bionic mosquito

    Very well stated, DB.

    There is little doubt that the Dark Ages were not so dark. There is also little doubt that along with positive change, the reformation brought negative. Every technological, intellectual, and cultural advance brings the possibility of both more freedom and more control.

    However, there is no doubt that the individual has a better possibility of feeling empowered when he has access to more information. I find this a “good” in and of itself.

    In the meantime, there is significant value in finding others of what might be termed “the remnant.”

    https://mises.org/library/isaiahs-job

    It is also empowering to find that there are many more of us than might fit in a phone booth.

    If nothing else comes, this is enough.

  • Dennis Larkin

    Gutenberg was a Catholic printer working with the permission of the local Ordinary. Martin Luther’s German Bible came later than something like 34 Catholic editions in German. Luther proposed to substitute his version of scriptural interpretation for the Church’s interpretation. Neither party proposed scripture as un-interpreted, unexplained, read-it-for-yourself-and-decide-yourself-what-it-means; just ask the peasants in the Peasant’s Revolt, so brutally put down. With the dissolution of monasteries and the decades of war, the numbers of students dropped who were able to study in monasteries and become literate. Luther, a conman, passed off a truncated edition of the Bible, his 66 Books, as the authentic version, which is actually Polycarp’s original 73 Books, shared by both Catholic and Orthodox for 1500 years. Luther derailed the Church’s ongoing publication of Scripture in Germany. Luther’s Reformation was a step backwards.

    • “By the 15th and 16th century, the Catholic Church, by now closely aligned with the state, was largely corrupt. The offices of bishop and pope were traded and purchased for favours or gold. Many of the popes, bishops, and priests of the time lived immorally and much of the activity of the Church ran counter to scripture. More and more men became disillusioned with the Church, especially after Johann Gutenberg’s printing press enabled the spread of different ideas and interpretation of scriptures; these writings were often in contrast to the official Church teachings.”

      see: http://www.hutterites.org/history/luther-the-reformation/

      • Dennis Larkin

        I grant you that the Hutterites have a low opinion of the Church. But what do they make of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and the armies who plundered Church land and property? The seed capital of capitalism came from the confiscation of Catholic Church property. That property was not distributed among the people, among the peasants. They remained as poor as ever during the Reformation. The Church’s property was confiscated and reserved for nobles and the new capitalist bankers who loaned it at usurious rates to the people. Capitalism arose in Reformed countries, not because the new capitalists had saved enough money to begin loaning at interest; capitalism arose because the local nobility and their money-lender friends rode down to the local monastery, evicted or slaughtered the monks there, took away everything of value, and used it as the seed capital for their usury. That is how capitalism arose at the time of the Reformation. Though there were faint glimmers of capitalism among the Doges of Venice earlier, it was the usurious lending of fabulous amounts of confiscated Church wealth that was the seed capital for capitalism in Reformed lands.

        • If you are trying to make the argument that a corrupt, centralized Roman Catholic Church was preferable to the evolution of the Reformation, with all its religious schisms, and ultimately the settling of the “new world,” and the founding of the first republic in 2000 years, we would likely disagree.

          • Dennis Larkin

            We would disagree over your characterization of the Catholic Church and the effects of the Reformation. We disagree on the usefulness of Hutterites as reliable historians of the Reformation. We disagree that a supposedly illiterate populace in Europe quickly became literate and scholars of Scripture in the bargain. We disagree with the notion that peasants in Protestant lands were free to interpret Scripture for themselves and to act upon it. We disagree that Protestant kings and nobility were not corrupt, not centralized, not venal, not thieves, not murderers, not given to buying and selling offices. We disagree with the notion that Protestant nobles distributed the wealth of the Catholic Church among the people; the Church owned perhaps a third of the wealth in Europe but the peasants did become enriched. The Reformation short-circuited the Church’s development of Scripture publication and caused an altered version of Scripture to enter the public arena as if it were complete Scripture. We disagree that the settlement of the New World was led by Protestants. We disagree that Protestantism was morally superior to Catholicism where it became ascendant. We disagree that while confiscation of your own wealth is abominable, a grosser confiscation of Church wealth was wonderful. Americans are taught to celebrate Puritans and other English settlers; but we need not subscribe to such jingoism. History is written by the victors; we not need believe in English Protestant histories.

          • Dennis Larkin

            Correction: “the peasants did not become enriched.”

  • One of the most brilliant observations of our time ever made by Anthony Wile (the originator of the DB), which ultimately made me a follower of the site, hoping this clarifying lightning would strike again at some point.

    And yet, much like a SJW throwing in an out-of-context dig at white male privilege in the midst of a movie review, the new owners can’t help but add a dollop of Intellectual Property Communism; acting much like the teaspoonful of feces slipped in by the local sociopath, spoiling the lobster bisque.

    Pray tell what information has been throttled by this copyright you rail against?! …Oh, right, NOTHING. Pfft.

    https://strangerousthoughts.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/the-economic-principles-of-intellectual-property-and-the-fallacies-of-intellectual-communism/

    • Samarami

      As I see it, copyright and patenting are products of monopoly state enforcement. Without state there would be no intellectual property as we define it today. I’m not saying it will not exist. I’m saying I don’t know how.

      Because none of us have seen (or can even envision) a completely free marketplace — a total absence of central political authority. Yet.

      But use of terms such as “intellectual communism” is out of whack, and the author’s “fallacies” are moot. Communism (as are most “ism’s”) is central political authority. Freedom is not. The author kinda sorta tries to address that in his “Fallacy #17”

      Will a totally free marketplace indeed find a way to protect intellectual property? Will there develop means by which to combat plagiarism in freedom? Let’s watch for a free market to see. Sam

  • I wrote into your Youtube Stockholm Syndrome on the Net of freedom or control:
    http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/youtube-stockholm-syndrome-while-un-takes-over-internet/

    But in terms of sorting the true from the false – the harvest is of personal choice, with collective reflections.

    A reversal in consciousness is reaching its zenith (or nadir if you look at it right ways up). This is a natural waking opportunity for those who are moved to accept or choose it, and is not framed in power struggle narrative – being a conscious integrative movement of embrace to the segregative movement of exclusive and rejecting self.

    Not the carrot of a fantasy gratification, nor the stick of penalty and denial.

    Using the ‘world’ to waken from a false framed narrative identity is seeing it from a different perspective. If we change our mind about our mind we can open to more inclusive and illuminating perspectives. The ‘mind-set’ of a false and self-defeating (and self-destructive) sense of ‘control’ is being shown in every more exposure – as is the reaction of seeking to deny and control it with the same mindset.

    Narratives are like page turners – in that they are designed to engage or indeed capture your attention and pull you back if interrupted. “What happens next…?

    Stepping out of a game that is not worth the candle is not trashing it or proving it is unworthy to anyone else – but a self-honesty of one’s own timing and acceptance.

    The capacity of seeming to change while actually redistributing the same, is a way of justifying the unjustifiable – or maintaining a narrative by which to make some aspects of pain seem less painful and thus defined as pleasure or joy – not unlike Stockholm syndrome where not being hurt by power becomes interpreted as love – and allegiance. This is also the aligning under terror to appease and win favour from the gods (the sense of power over life). It is much deeper in our consciousness than we realize – and already active as the ‘mind’ as defined and divided in conflict or power-struggle. Not being exposed to raw negative outcomes is the inducement to fragment or dissociate and within which is everything framed to survive in the set terms, until and unless there is a willingness and acceptance for a change of what seems set, real and un-changeble – to the fearfully defined sense of self. The stirring or prompting is from within or beneath the level of perceived and believed reality.

    Therefore the evaluation of the Internet in socio-poitical or cultural terms is itself within a narrative of persisting self-conflict or awakening self-responsibility. These are like channels one can tune to and the fruits are of different orders – and yet I don’t assert any superiority in this – but simply that private reality and shared reality are of different orders and I use private here as secret agenda and hidden denials – not the gift of privacy extended in honour to what is none of my business to intrude upon.

  • Samarami

    “…compare the 20th century to the 21st
    and, if you are old enough, the expansion
    of your knowledge as a result…”

    This, my friends, sez it all. I lacked a basic “awakening” to have participated in forums such as this one just a few years back — in spite of having relatively high education (thanks — but no thanks — in part, to GI Bill).

    More people know more than ever before — and are showing it with such as the “Brexit” and “Trump” (and “Ron Paul”) phenomena. Far beyond what we always looked upon as higher education, more people of average formal book-learning are informed as the result of the internet.

    To use your words, “…more and better information is preferable to less information provided in a manipulated fashion…the Internet will continue to upset the old order in obvious and unforeseen ways that will continue to make the world a freer place in
    many ways…” Sam

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