Manzi is impressed by the power of Twitter, but concludes (too gloomily, in my view):
As a wise man once put it, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force.”. In the end, if some group of people has operational authority over a preponderance of the military, and is prepared to use it, nothing else really matters. You either have to divide the military, capture its loyalty or create a greater opposed armed force; otherwise, all you have is a bunch of dead bodies that used to be idealistic people.
Fortunately, this kind of government nihilism is part and parcel of dictatorship, which tends to underperform freer societies not only in communications technology, but in lots of ways relevant to military competitiveness. Hence we can protect ourselves against them, and incidentally provide various tools to their internal opponents.
The really tragic thing, of course, is that even when rebellions within nations without the social capital required for limited government like what we are seeing right now in Iran succeed, they mostly succeed in replacing once bunch of thugs with another.
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2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan