The coming of the true millennium
Ever since the American public told the U.S. Senate it was more interest in a stock-market rise than the fall of Bill Clinton’s shorts, you haven’t see much serious thought in this space. But now it’s time.
And, the first thought occurring to this weary, world traveler is that the world’s problems are due to a shortage of three things: freedom, capitalism and accurate information.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the resulting collapse of the Soviet Union, we have seen the rebirth of freedom in many parts of the world. We are beginning to see some capitalism in newly freed nations and we are starting to see a rise in affluence – not just for the political elites, but among ordinary folks as well.
But these gains cannot be sustained without the free flow of accurate information. Every dictator worthy of the name has known that control of the organs of information is essential to the establishment and the maintenance of dictatorship.
In 1989, we toured the Soviet Union where it was evident the Iron Curtain was being riddled by the satellite transmission of information against which missiles and border guards were no defense. We saw fax machines spitting out reports of what was actually happening across the USSR – reports at variance with the official communist-party line.
Paraphrasing Victor Hugo, Wonder Wife turned to me and said: “No regime can withstand this rush of free expression of ideas and information.” Less than a year later, her prediction came true.
There are, however, two dictatorships close to home that deserve toppling and the weapon that will do that is the Internet. They are the dictatorships of the liberal public-education establishment and its handmaiden, the liberal media establishment.
For most of the 20th Century, the vast majority of Americans have gotten their knowledge of the world around them via the liberal media establishment. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with liberal bias provided there is a free market place of ideas where conservative bias can be heard or read as well.
Today, the Internet is making that possible. Just as Victor Hugo said, “No army can withstand an idea whose time has come,” no amount of liberal or conservative bias can withstand our newly found and unfettered ability to get at the truth via the Internet.
Walter Cronkite used to sign off his CBS-TV news program with: “And, that’s the way it is. Goodnight.” In those days, we had no way of knowing if that was the way it really was or not. For example, Cronkite completely misreported who won during TET ’68 in Vietnam and altered the outcome of the war.
Within a decade, virtually any event that occurs will become almost instantly known around the world without being run through the filtering screen of a media establishment that can decide what you get to know and how it will be slanted.
Now, instead of being fed a constant liberal litany about the need for more government, readers and viewers will have the opportunity to make up their own minds. Perhaps, we will see the actual attainment of the Fox News Channel’s motto: “We report. You decide.”
The Internet will also lessen the grip of the liberal public-education establishment. When this observer was in college, the professors assigned material promoting their liberal view of the world. There was little time to read anything else. Now, with a click of a mouse, students have fast access to other points of view.
Pity today’s ill-prepared teachers who must now contend with students who are quicker with a mouse then they are. They say learning is just memorizing a bunch of stuff that is fun to know. The computer and the Internet make learning fun and when students know as much or more than the teacher, the liberal education establishment’s ability to inflict its “group-think” on students will end. That will be the true millennium.
William Hamilton is a nationally syndicated columnist and a former newspaper editor and university professor.