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A free and open internet is a threat to the establishment

Last week, a video clip of Francis Fukuyama went viral. In the clip, the political scientist called freedom of speech and a marketplace of ideas “18th century notions that really have been belied (or shown to be false) by a lot of what’s happened in recent decades.”

Fukuyama then reflects on how a censorship regime could be enacted in the United States.

But the question then becomes, how do you actually regulate content that you think is noxious, harmful, and the like—and do it in a way that’s consistent with the First Amendment? Now, I think you can push the boundaries a bit because the First Amendment does not allow you to say anything you want. But among liberal democracies, our First Amendment law is among the most expansive of any developed democracy.

And you could imagine a future world in which we kind of pull that back and we say no, we’re going to have a law closer to that of Germany where we can designate—the government can designate something as hate speech and then prevent the dissemination of that. But the question then is, politically, how are you going to get there?

Putting aside the fact that the censorship regime Fukuyama is talking about is already here, it’s important to consider the admission behind his words.

Francis Fukuyama is often associated with the neoconservative movement. And that’s for good reason. He was active in the neoconservative Project for a New American Century and helped lead the push for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But he later turned against the war and renounced neoconservatism, so he can perhaps better be understood as an intellectual proxy for the Washington establishment.

Fukuyama is best known for his 1992 book The End of History and the Last Man. The book argues that liberal democracy represents the endpoint of humanity’s ideological evolution and the final form of government because of its defeat of fascism and socialism and its supposed lack of inner contradictions.

If there was ever a time when this idea would resonate, it was 1992. The Soviet Union was gone, and the US government, fresh off its sound defeat of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, was the most powerful single entity in history.

But at the same time, an entirely new medium for information was quickly emerging. In 1996, a software engineer named Dave Winer decided to host his newsletter on the World Wide Web. The result was the first web log, or blog. He called it DaveNet. As blogs began to catch on, writers could reach their readers directly without filters, editors, or space constraints.

Full article: A free and open internet is a threat to the establishment 

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