1. Bibliographic Entry. The Net Delusion

2.  Author : Morozov

3.  Context:   Does the internet really cause political change?

4.  Scope:  21st century popular uprisings, or lack thereof, and the influence of information on these events

5.  Evidence/credibility:  Historical vignettes

6.  Central Proposition/Thesis:  The internet isn’t a flip-of-the-switch freedom machine.  It has to be part of a strategy to promote freedom and the progression of democracy.  Left to its own devices, the internet can be used by anyone, including authoritarian regimes, to promote their agenda.  Policy makers have misunderstood this, lazily accepted a falsity, and irresponsibly left the internet to take care of the business of advancing freedom and democracy

7.  Sub-themes:

a.  “The internet doesn’t topple governments, people do.” (19).  Best line of the book.

a.  The fundamental issue is people yearn to be free.  We believe this (or at least should believe this) as Americans.  It’s an old a notion as Exodus, and has been in existence long before the internet. 

                                               i. Twitter was just the 2009 tool, like Poor Richard’s Almanac was the 1749 tool.

b. The I in DIME is just one aspect of national power.  Policy makers need a whole govt approach to promoting democracy, and failed to support the Green movement in Iran with the rest of the DIME.

c.  Hedley Bull spoke of security, integrity, and possessions as elementary goals of man and society.  I argued against this, as these goals in of themselves are valid, yet incomplete as they don’t account for man’s desire to be free.  Individual liberty will inspire a man to sacrifice security, possessions, and allow him in clear conscious to break promises in the pursuit of the cause (just ask the King of England).  Morozov suggests that because the internet failed to deliver on Iranian desires for revolution, then somehow freedom has failed.  I believe that the desire to be free from authoritarian regimes is fundamental, despite twitter working or facebook conspiring, and will overcome totalitarianism – but it may take more time than the author or the internet generation would like.

b. Author makes an argument that communism was dead, structurally, before the popular uprisings of 1989. Further claims that the uprisings were just the icing on the cake, and this expression of individual liberty was just the icing on the cake. Disagree in principle.

a.  Communism failed, structurally, because it was a poorly construed concept in the context of Squeeze’s elementary goals (as in, freedom as a primal need of mankind).  People opted out of communism long before the popular uprisings, and it was structurally dead, IAW the author’s thesis, because people no longer bought into it.  Corruption, graft, bribes, inefficiency, lack of production, poor innovation, all contributed to communism’s structural failures, and were the manifestation of man’s ‘opting out’

                                               i. This again bolsters my argument that it’s about man’s need to be free, and less about the tools he uses to achieve said freedom – ie, the internet

c.  One size fits all technological applications of information don’t work in every case.  Iran’s movement fizzled because it was working against an idealogical authority, not just an economically based authoritarian system (communism).  Information alone is not enough to topple this sort of idealogical authority.  

d. The internet goes both ways (sts).  A tweet can be used to organize a protest, and it can be used to entrench a populous into the regime’s way of thinking.  A facebook profile can promote a way of thinking for rebels just as easily as the govt.

e.  Again, cyber space is just another form of comms, if not a bigger collection of comms and indeed nothing terribly new or revolutionary.  Just faster, further reaching, more powerful.  The internet is no different than the telegraph, telephone, or message in a freakin bottle.  The effect on political discourse is the same – just faster, more powerful...  Point is, if not used properly, managed carefully, integrated accordingly into a grand strategy, it’s no more useful than a freakin message in a bottle.  Just has it’s useless, or negative, effect take place faster…


Xvii The premise of this book is thus very simple: To salvage the Internet's promise to aid the fight against authoritarianism, those of us in the West who still care about the future of democracy will need to ditch both cyber-utopianism and Internet-centrism.

13 This was globalization at its worst: A simple email based on the premise that Twitter mattered in Iran, sent by an American diplomat in Washington to an American company in San Francisco, triggered a  worldwide Internet panic and politicized all online activity, painting itin bright revolutionary colors and threatening to tighten online spaces and opportunities that were previously unregulated.

18 Unless journalists fully commit themselves to scrutinizing and, if necessary, debunking such myths, the latter risk having a corrosive effect on policymaking.

19 Tweets, of course, don't topple governments; people do

26 Furthermore, giving in to eyber-utopianism may preclude policymakers from considering a whole range of other important questions.

30 r. The Internet does matter, but we simply don't know how it matters.

55 This is the great paradox of the Cold War's end: On the one hand, the structural conditions of countries of the Soviet bloc in late 1989 were so lethal that it seemed inevitable that communism would die. On the other hand, communist hard-liners had so much room to maneuver that absolutely nothing guaranteed that the end of the Cold War would be as bloodless as it turned out to be.

" The fall of communism was the result of a much longer process, and the popular protests were just its most visible, but not necessarily most important, component. Technology may have . played a role, but it did so because of particular historical circumstance  · rather than because of technology's own qualities. Those circumstances were highly specific to Soviet communism and may no longer exist.

59 Two theories explain how exposure to Western media could have democratized the Soviets. One claims that Western media showed brainwashed citizens that their governments were not as innocent as they claimed to be and pushed people to think about political issues they may have previously avoided; it's what we can call "liberation by facts" theory. The second asserts that Western media spread images of prosperity and fueled consumerist angst; stories of fast cars, fancy kitchen appliances, and suburban happiness made citizens living under authoritarianism dream of change and become more active politically. This is what we can call "liberation by gadgets" theory.

66 · The "liberation by gadgets" theory may thus have some validity. Perhaps, the adults, disappointed by the never-arnvmg socialism with a human face;' were much more susceptible to despair and thus easier to politicize with teasing pictures of Western capitalism.

70 Today's battle is not between David and Goliath; it's between David and David Letterman.

80 With a few clearly sadistic exceptions, dictators are not in it for the blood; all they want is money and power. If they can have it simply by distracting-rather than spying on, censoring, and arresting-their people, all the better.

82 · The decentralized nature of the Internet may have made comprehensive censorship much harder, but it may have also made propaganda more effective, as government messages can now be spread through undercover government-run blogs.

93 Because digital technologies are so critical today to modern economies, repressive governments would pay a high price for shutting them out completely, if that were still possible:'

has become known as "dictator's dilemma"

9S The danger of succumbing to the logic of "dictator's dilemma;' as well as other similar beliefs about the inevitable triumph of capitalism or the end of history, is that it suffuses political leaders with a dangerous · sense of historic inevitability and encourages a lazy approach to policymaking.  t Such unwarranted optimism inevitably leads to inaction and paralysis.

96 Governments have mastered the art of keyword-based filtering, thus gaining the ability to block websites based on the URLs and even the text of their pages.

103 The more intermediaries-whether human or corporate-are involved in publishing and disseminating a particular piece of information, the more points of control exist for quietly removing or altering that information. The early believers in "dictator's dilemma" have grossly underestimated the need for online intermediaries. Someone still has to provide access to the Internet, host a blog or a website, moderate an on line community, or even make that community visible in search engines. As long as all those entities have to be tied to a nation state, there will be ways to pressure them into accepting and facilitating highly customized censorship that will have no impact on economic growth.

202 "In terms of their impact [on the Arab world, new media 1 seem more like a stress reliever than a mechanism for political change," writes Rami Khouri, editor-at-large of Lebanon's the Daily Star, who fears that the  overall impact of such technologies on political dissent in the Middle East might be negative. "Blogging, reading politically racy Websites, or passing around provocative text messages by cellphone is. . . satisfying  for many youth. Such activities, though, essentially shift the individual from the realm of participant to the realm of spectator, and transform what would otherwise be an act of political activism, mobilizing, demonstrating or voting into an act of passive, harmless personal entertainment:' 

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