I like the internet. I'm also afraid of it. | Teen Ink

I like the internet. I'm also afraid of it.

September 8, 2019
By Rorschach2002 BRONZE, Sydney, Other
Rorschach2002 BRONZE, Sydney, Other
4 articles 0 photos 4 comments

It cannot be refuted that over the last few centuries, humanity has made leaps and bounds in development of our societies, governments and technologies. The rise of globalisation as a world-wide phenomenon in the last few hundred years has caused major strides in the improvement of science, medicine, societal tolerance and quality of life.

With the recent upswing of internet technology, we are now more connected than ever. Loved ones can interact thousands of kilometres apart, and there is a wealth of information at our fingertips. Education, science, medicine and humanitarian aid have all benefitted significantly from the rise of the internet.  The world is, in many ways, better than it has ever been, and the internet will go down as one of humankind’s greatest achievements. It will come to define this very era as a powerful and omnipresent element of modern society.

We are now more intelligent than we have ever been. We live longer than we ever have. We marvel as our technology surges forward.

And yet, we must face the disturbing reality that there exists in every one of us, a truly venomous capability for hatred. A hatred that has, and will always, reside within. It is a mindless, blind hatred, and exactly what fascists use to their advantage.

Throughout history, people have suffered for the glory of politicians. Hitler, Stalin, Mao… what did these men all have in common? Through propaganda and hate speech, they united the people under the guise of nationalism. They took advantage of man’s innate, suppressed savagery and they directed it towards minorities and nonconformists. They began by amassing followers and targeting minorities. They used propaganda and hate speech to inspire intolerance and fear. They rose to the highest seats of authority and took power over the state. And then, the oppression and the killings began.

As the saying goes, history repeats itself. Fascism has risen again and again. There exists not one place, not one people or culture on the face of the Earth that has not, in some way, been scarred by the cruel hand of fascism. Perhaps the greatest danger of fascism is its ability for adaptation, for all that is truly needed to establish a fascist state is a single person willing to inspire hate.

And so, contemplation of all this has brought me to a distressing realization.

The internet is the next great tool of fascism.

It has and will continue to be used to incite fear and hatred among the masses. It is widespread, powerful, and instantly accessible, making it an ideal tool for the spread of misinformation and hate-speech. The emergence of social media and online news has made the transmission of hatred vastly faster, more efficient and more far-reaching than ever before.

Politicians around the world are making highly effective use of social media and internet campaigns. Facebook and Twitter have become the most powerful tool in their arsenal for propaganda and manipulation. One need look no further than President Trump in America or Prime Minister Modi in India for prime examples of leaders doing this. These are men who  seek to use this great tool against us. To divide us, to manipulate our baser instincts and create an echo-chamber of hate and intolerance.

Furthermore, messenger apps such as WhatsApp are, whilst less prevalent than Facebook and Twitter, widely used to spread hateful messages. There are countless cases of lynchings and mob-violence in rural communities in countries such as India and Burma, organised through the spreading of hateful messages over WhatsApp. In India, there have been over forty recorded deaths due to mob-violence spurred on by WhatsApp group chats in the last few years alone. In a number of these cases, the victims were accused of being child traffickers with no evidence, before being beaten to a bloody mess and left for dead. Muslims, Dalits (lower-caste Hindus) and the mentally-disabled have been targeted extensively.

Narendra Modi, a man who has not only demonized Muslims for the majority of his political career, but was also strongly complicit in the Gujarat Riots of 2002 in which over 700 Muslims were killed, has been elected the prime minister of India for a second time. This comes as no surprise, as India is a country in which racial and religious conflict has been breeding hate for decades. It’s history is steeped in blood, so nothing is new.

However, it is baffling that someone with almost a dozen sexual misconduct allegations, someone who has openly bragged about molestation, someone who advocates the deportation and mistreatment of immigrants could attain the presidency in America, a country that prides itself on freedom and acceptance.

Alas, such is the power of the internet.

It is a disturbing thought, and a sobering reality.                                                                                                                                         

The author's comments:

By the way, I'm not just bashing the internet here.

I like the internet. It gives me memes, and other shit. It's good.

I'm just raising a point, something that we should be wary of. It's a cautionary statement. 

Once again, the image is random, as the pictures wouldn't show up properly when I had to pick one. 

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