Should One Man Have The Power To Control Internet Access

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  1. GA Anderson profile image84
    GA Andersonposted 5 months ago

    "Should One Man Have The Power To Control Internet Access"

    This question was asked, relative to Elon Musk's control of Starlink internet access in Ukraine.

    As an ideological question with an understanding of how Musk gained that "power" in Ukraine, and specific to that situation,  yes, it is acceptable that one man has that power.

    However, from a pragmatic perspective, this one is asking a lot.

    In our current times, is internet access a consumer product choice or is it a necessary utility product like electricity? Is this question similar to the monopoly perspective of the Standard Oil situation of the early 20th century? That answer could define the monopoly rationale of the claim.

    In today's societies, and realistically speaking, internet access has become equivalent to a public utility and the rules of free market capitalism aren't unassailable if it is a public utility commodity. Considering oil as a utility commodity of the early industrial era, Standard Oil may be a good starting analogy for framing the question.

    Do the advantages of an access provider's industry lead, in this issue, keep other provider entities out of the market without a realistic choice, or is it the 'other' providers' choice not to challenge that industry leader? The first makes the monopoly point, and the latter weakens it.

    Do specific issues of the moment vs. general issues of the concept, ie. in a time of war vs a time of peace, bear on the monopoly point, as in only one choice in the Ukraine example but several choices in a non-war example? 

    In the Musk example, the answer is yes, war changes circumstances. Musk didn't start Starlink as a tool to gain the power to control internet access, he started it as a service product, the changed circumstances of the war gave him that "power."

    Given the known history of Musk and Starlink, it seems to border on being an anti-Musk conspiracy theory to cast shade on his efforts.

    GA

    1. tsmog profile image83
      tsmogposted 5 months agoin reply to this

      It seems some of what is said is to a broad market and some to a narrow market in regard to a monopoly. In the Ukraine, a narrow market, though Starlink has competitors, it is much less costly and more convenient to use. Add to that Musk's generosity for funding the terminals/etc. and operating costs.

      That is his sticky point now of funding the endeavor. One 'may' surmise a monopoly there. So, Musk does hold sway over the Ukraine with their war effort.

      But, regard the broader market most certainly they are not a monopoly. Here, there is Comcast and Cox Communications for two entities to compete with. Amazon will become a big competitor soon with their own satellite service.

      Everything you need to know about Project Kuiper, Amazon’s satellite broadband network by Amazon (Oct 30, 2023)
      https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/innova … ect-kuiper

      Conspiracy? hmmm . . . Seems there is plenty to read on the internet about Starlink and its place in Ukraine. As to the controversy surrounding Musk one only has to read what he posts on 'X' to know his position. No conspiracy there.

      "I think everyone agrees that if there’s a reasonable cost-based argument that paying for use does make sense,” Farrar said. The problem, he said, is that the company’s “numbers are constantly changing. … I think Elon has made that more difficult rather than less difficult because you don’t normally negotiate your weapons contracts on Twitter.”

      A Musk monopoly? For now, Ukraine has few options outside Starlink for battlefield satcoms by Breaking Defense (Oct 19, 2022)
      https://breakingdefense.com/2022/10/a-m … d-satcoms/

      1. GA Anderson profile image84
        GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        Maybe setting the stage of the conversation can shed some light.

        The question came at the end of a conversation criticizing Musk for all things. From starting his business life flush with a fortune from his father's emerald mine(s) to X to his power over Ukraine's internet access—as in, no one man should have the power to turn a nation's internet access on or off.

        In the context of the conversation (specifically to Musk/Ukraine), my first thought was an immediate yes. But, the question wasn't put that Elon Musk should not have that power (even though that was the vehicle of the message), it was that no one man should have that power. For me, that changes the consideration.

        In our current times, I view internet access as more of a utility than a consumer product. I equate it to our use of electricity—you can live without it, but . . .  So my "yes" to the Elon-framed question would probably be a "no"  to the anywhere/anytime/anyone scenario. Also, the question wasn't relative to what access would be used for, or by whom, but simply to having access.

        GA

        1. tsmog profile image83
          tsmogposted 5 months agoin reply to this

          After reading the thread itself, I understand the jest of what is being presented, I hope. First, the internet in my mind is an abstract concept as it is illusive as being concrete. The question as I see it being proposed is not the internet, but access to it via some mechanism i.e. DSL, cable service, dish satellite, and etc.

          Then comes along the question are those utilities as in the same as electricity, natural gas, water, trash, and etc. In Calif dial up services for the internet via phone lines is a utility. But, broadband is not, yet. In 2023 there is a push to make it so. (Link following)

          California Bill Makes Push to Regulate Broadband as Public Utility by Bloomberg Law (Mar 10, 2023)
          https://news.bloomberglaw.com/tech-and- … ic-utility

          But, what is broadband? It is; "Broadband or high-speed Internet access allows users to access the Internet and Internet-related services at significantly higher speeds than those available through "dial-up" services. Broadband speeds vary significantly depending on the technology and level of service ordered. Broadband services for residential consumers typically provide faster downstream speeds (from the Internet to your computer) than upstream speeds (from your computer to the Internet)."

          What are the forms? Broadband can be provided over different platforms:

          ** Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
          ** Cable Modem
          ** Fiber
          ** Wireless
          ** Satellite (Musk and Starlink)

          Back to Starlink and the power Musk has being the owner with final control of it. It comes down to money does it not? Musk donated the hardware initially and has paid for the services with his generosity. He petitioned the Pentagon to take over those service costs.

          "WASHINGTON, June 1 (Reuters) - SpaceX's Starlink, the satellite communications service started by billionaire Elon Musk, now has a Department of Defense contract to buy those satellite services for Ukraine, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

          "We continue to work with a range of global partners to ensure Ukraine has the resilient satellite and communication capabilities they need. Satellite communications constitute a vital layer in Ukraine's overall communications network and the department contracts with Starlink for services of this type," the Pentagon said in a statement."

          SpaceX's Starlink wins Pentagon contract for satellite services to Ukraine by Reuters (Jun 1, 2023)
          https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp … 023-06-01/

          Or,

          Pentagon awards SpaceX with Ukraine contract for Starlink satellite internet by CNBC (Jun 1, 2023)
          https://www.cnbc.com/2023/06/01/pentago … ernet.html

          But . . . and that is a big 'But'. Seems Musk denied Ukraine the usage of Starlink for a military action. That may be more pertinent to the question being asked.

          Elon Musk’s refusal to provide Starlink support for Ukraine attack in Crimea raises questions for Pentagon by PBS News Hour (Sept 11, 2023)
          https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/el … r-pentagon

          "NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (AP) — SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s refusal to allow Ukraine to use Starlink internet services to launch a surprise attack on Russian forces in Crimea last September has raised questions as to whether the U.S. military needs to be more explicit in future contracts that services or products it purchases could be used in war, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said Monday.

          In that case Musk did exercise his personal control over Starlink, right? For whatever reason he denied its services in an act of war, though overall the services are being used with war in general. Why? Does it have to do with his solution to ending the war? In other words, making a point?

          Musk’s plan to end Russian war infuriates Ukraine on Twitter by AP News (Oct 4, 2022)
          https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukrai … 7ac71e0ed5

          Or,

          Elon Musk Offered A Solution To Ending The Ukraine War On Twitter – Is Social Media The Place To Shape A Country's Future? by Fortune (Oct 5,2022)
          https://www.forbes.com/sites/petersuciu … 80b94e4eba

          Like I said in the earlier post, just keep an eye on 'X' for what Musk is doing. He has a history of it.

          1. GA Anderson profile image84
            GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

            Yep, the direction of the OP is about providers of internet access.

            Relative to the Ukraine example, I didn't know Ukraine had other choices until I read your posted link. The other choices aren't very practical, but they are choices. That doesn't change the reality of Starlink's value to Ukraine, it simply chips away at the monopoly argument.

            Musk explained his reason for not activating Starlink over Crimea. He states that Starlink was never active in Crimea and that turning it on for Ukrainian attacks would make Starlink an active participant in the war. That works for me.

            However, there are claimed excerpts of an upcoming biography that say he "secretly" ordered his engineers to turn it off in Crimea. Who to believe? Until the excerpt's claims are validated I will trust Elon's explanation.

            GA

          2. Sharlee01 profile image90
            Sharlee01posted 5 months agoin reply to this

            Early on Ukraine was quickly losing internet capabilities. They certainly did have many internet companies providing the country with service.

            "Ukrainian vice prime minister asks Elon Musk for Starlink satellites as Russia invades"
            https://nypost.com/2022/02/26/ukrainian … a-invades/

            "The battle to keep Ukraine connected to the internet amid Russian missile attacks"
            https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/202 … /102009234

            From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

            "Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir with delivered Starlink terminals during the Battle of Kyiv on March 15, 2022.[1]
            In February 2022, two days after Russia's full-scale invasion, Ukraine requested American aerospace company SpaceX to activate their Starlink satellite internet service in the country to replace internet and communication networks degraded or destroyed during the war.[2][3][4] Starlink has since been used by Ukrainian civilians, government and military.[3][5] The satellite service has served for humanitarian purposes, as well as defense and attacks on Russian positions.[6]

            SpaceX provided and funded Starlink services to Ukraine largely on their own in the beginning.[7][8][9] As of June 2023 Starlink expenses for Ukraine are covered by the US Department of Defense through a contract with SpaceX.[10] SpaceX executives have declined to extend Starlink availability at the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine like Crimea.[11][6] This stance was criticized by Ukraine as it prevented them from carrying out military operations in those areas.[12][13][14]"  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlink_ … ainian_War

            Clearly, Ukraine had many internet providers before the war and lost some of these services due to the war.  Not sure if any are still operating now.  Perhaps some have survived.

          3. Ken Burgess profile image72
            Ken Burgessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

            I appreciate, the research regarding Space X - Starlink, I admit to being to lazy to do it myself and relying on memory.

            I had not realized a contract had been granted specifically for Starlink to Ukraine, or their terminal purchases, which is pretty much (though not entirely) the same thing.

            I do remember Musk complaining about having to front the costs, etc.

  2. Ken Burgess profile image72
    Ken Burgessposted 5 months ago

    I do know of what has occurred regarding Starlink and Ukraine and Starlink and the Biden Administration rescinding his billion dollar grant for Starlink (probably in response to his Ukraine restriction in addition to X).

    But I am uncertain as to why you pose this question and frame it around Starlink/Musk.

    The Internet is only as useful as what is allowed on it (what can be accessed).

    Google Search for instance, becomes more and more restricted, without many people realizing it... deciding which sites you see appear in your searches and which sites do not appear.  Not because they are protecting you from risk/virus/scam, but because they are selecting which scientific, political, historical information they want you to see.

    1. GA Anderson profile image84
      GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

      The question was put to me as a criticism of Musk. The 'obviously correct' inference was that one man should not have the power to turn off access to the internet for any society — as Musk does now for Ukraine.

      The OP addressed the issue of internet access from the perspective of the details of the Musk/Ukraine example and also from the 'in general' perspective of anybody, anywhere, and anytime with the view that internet access is now more of a utility service than a consumer product choice.

      GA

      1. Ken Burgess profile image72
        Ken Burgessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        Got it.

        I suppose one could look at the Ukraine matter in another way... if not for Musk and Starlink, Ukraine would have never had internet to work with or the ability to resist Russia as it has.

        Russia has the ability to block all other means of communication technology that America could provide, however, Starlink's low orbit satellite technology was/is not within their abilities to shut down at this time.

        I suppose it is a good sign that our government didn't just seize Space X and Starlink and do with those companies and that technology what it wanted... for this war effort or other uses, of course, I have no idea what they may have threatened to do, or how they otherwise ensured Musk's continued support.

        1. GA Anderson profile image84
          GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

          With all of the details in the specific example of Musk/Ukraine there are a lot of justifications for believing that, as dangerous as it is for one man to have that power, Musk has earned it, used it responsibly, and there is no history that he can't be trusted with it.

          The answer is a no-brainer for me. However, even with the question originating as meaning specifically Musk, it was packaged as a generic—Musk shouldn't have that power because no one man should have that power, so, an answer has to include any scenario. My 'yes', relative to the Musk example, is vulnerable, it leaves a door open.  There are scenarios where my answer would be a 'no'.

          GA

          1. Ken Burgess profile image72
            Ken Burgessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

            In the larger scheme of things, I agree, I do not believe a person should hold the ability to deny internet to a nation of individuals.

            That is in line with the type of control Xi has over China and its internet.

            The particular of Elon and Ukraine... it is a sign of how almost everything is jaded by politics that anyone even viewed it that way and posed it in that light.

            To be more clear on the matter, Ukraine would not have internet if not for Musk.  He diverted his Starlink, which at the time was still in its start up stages for sure, to aid Ukraine.  He didn't have to. 

            Musk was not required to help, or sacrifice his limited resources (satellites, technicians that had to constantly combat Russia's efforts to thwart Starlink, etc.) to help Ukraine.

            Ukraine would not have internet if not for Musk and Starlink.

            1. GA Anderson profile image84
              GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

              Yep. But I'm still wrestling with that 'open door.'

              As long as the access provided is still a consumer service product and not a regulated utility, I haven't thought of a theoretical example that would be a 'no.' It feels like there must be the possibility of one but I can't think of it.

              Ukraine might be a better example than thought. As Tsmog's link noted, Starlink is not the only access portal for Ukraine. It's just the best and most practical.

              GA

  3. Nathanville profile image90
    Nathanvilleposted 5 months ago

    No single person, organisation or government controls the whole Internet; albeit some may have considerable power over sections of it e.g. China and Russian governments’ control of the Internet in China and Russia, and maybe Elon Musk’s Starlink over Ukraine.

    Other than my ICT days in the civil service it’s not a subject that I’ve studied to any great depth, and not one that I want to spend a great deal of time on as I’ve got other things of more interest to do.

    However, as quoted in Wikipedia “No one person, company, organization or government runs the Internet. It is a globally distributed network comprising many voluntarily interconnected autonomous networks. It operates without a central governing body with each constituent network setting and enforcing its own policies.”

    The Wikipedia article is a worthwhile read for anyone who is genuinely interested, as it does go into some great depth into ‘Internet Governance’, past, present and future.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_governance

    1. GA Anderson profile image84
      GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

      Yes, owning the internet and controlling access to it are different things. The Starlink example was the illustration of controlling access. It was an imperfect example because the are other access services available, but it does frame the ideological concept of one entity controlling access for the many.

      GA

      1. Nathanville profile image90
        Nathanvilleposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        I don't think I mentioned 'owning the Internet'; I only mentioned controlling it, which was the title of this forum!

        1. GA Anderson profile image84
          GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

          Nope, the title and OP were about controlling access. Your information was about the thing being accessed. My comment was simply a bit of clarification. You wasted an exclamation mark.

          GA

          1. Nathanville profile image90
            Nathanvilleposted 5 months agoin reply to this

            I suggest you re-read my post, and read the Wikipedia article on the subject which I gave in that post (link below); both my post and the Wikipedia article, as far as I can see, is about control, not access!!!

            1. GA Anderson profile image84
              GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

              First, let me set the tone by saying "Good morning" (my time). The "exclamation" point was a friendly poke at emphasizing a misunderstanding. (I still think you misunderstood the title and OP)

              I did review your post and wiki link (It was a lot more information than I needed for this "access" point) and still think my clarification response was correct: you were talking about control of a thing and the title and OP were talking about access to that thing, not the thing itself.

              Maybe my use of "own" was sloppy, but when talking about a 'thing' it is not unusual for "own and "control" to be synonymous within the context of the discussion.

              Even more affirming for me is your closing: ". . .  both my post and the Wikipedia article, as far as I can see, is about control, not access!!!" And with three exclamation points no less. (I resisted an exclamation point here) That's what I said. (my resistance is strong)   ;-)

              You are talking about one thing and the thread is about another. Am I still misunderstanding your original post?

              GA

              1. Ken Burgess profile image72
                Ken Burgessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                What about the ability to censor, limit what you see and who you can communicate with?

                Everything You Need to Know about the Government’s Mass Censorship Campaign
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRYSKaS-XtQ

                This gentleman is a fount of information, regarding the internet, censorship, the 2020 election, Brexit, Crimea, going back as far as the Arab Spring.

                The impact that the internet and social media had, and the interventions government agencies like DHS and FBI took in conjunction with all big-tech social media sites.

                He spits out information like a machine-gun, I will have to watch it a second time to look into a couple of things he brought up.

              2. Nathanville profile image90
                Nathanvilleposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                I’ve read your feedback, slept on it, and re-read it; and I think I might understand what you are trying to stay! 

                So I’ll start again, and see if I can get any closer to understanding?

                Question:  “Should one man have the power to control internet access”?

                If I understand correctly, then you are giving Elon Musk’s Starlink control of Internet access across Ukraine, as a valid example.

                On carefully reading your opening statement to this forum, I get the impression that you are talking specifically about the ISPs (Internet Service Providers)?

                If so, then I assume it’s the same arrangement in the USA as in the UK e.g. open competition, and each person chooses which ISP they sign up to for Internet Access?

                Although I’m sure in times of war, Governments can instruct the ISPs to do the government bidding?

                Are we getting any closer to understanding each other?

                1. GA Anderson profile image84
                  GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                  Yes, you have it now. The one that posed the question did so from a general ideological opposition to Musk — in all things.

                  Considering what I knew/know about the Starlink arrangement I thought the inferred slam was wrong. I had a first answer that said, yes, in current circumstances Musk could legitimately hold control over Ukraine's internet access through Starlink. However, I needed to rethink the question in the context of "any man, any time, any population" circumstances. That one needed some thought. Although I gave that first answer at the kitchen table, I needed time to think about the other.

                  Imagine if a street pollster asked you the question without any specific references. I would say no. It would be an ideological no, and I bet most respondents would also say no. Yet, with the circumstances and details of the Musk example (he does have the power to turn off Ukraine's Starlink access), which, in reality, is Ukraine's only practical access to the internet, my answer is a yes.

                  A 'yes and no' answer is hard to defend. I pondered this for a couple of days and then sent off a Final answer'. Until access to the internet is considered a utility like electricity or water, my answer is yes, specifically and ideologically.

                  GA

                  1. Ken Burgess profile image72
                    Ken Burgessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                    ya coulda just said that the first time. wink

                  2. Nathanville profile image90
                    Nathanvilleposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                    Having slept on it, in my opinion; in the UK at least, and I suspect in almost all Industrialise countries, access to the Internet has become a ‘utility’ like electricity and water.

                    In the UK within the last 10 years virtually all Public and Private ‘Customer Services’ have become almost exclusively only available via the Internet; so much so that anyone without Internet access are screwed e.g. long gone are the days when you could just simply pick up the phone or send a letter in the post to get things done – most things have to be done online these days: So in that sense, in the UK at least, the Internet has become an essential ‘utility’.

              3. Nathanville profile image90
                Nathanvilleposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                Further to my previous reply to this post, while having a coffee break (at 09:30am GMT) I remembered about the fact that 10 years ago 25% of the world’s Internet traffic went through Cornwall, England e.g. undersea Internet cable from America joining undersea Internet cables from the rest of Europe and India etc. at Cornwall, England. 

                The upshot is that 10 years ago GCHQ was caught illegally (and without the Government’s knowledge) tapping into that Internet Cable between America and the Europe; which at the time caused a lot of controversy in Britain, and elsewhere.

                This video gives an overview: https://youtu.be/BN744Pcr3W4

                I don’t know if it’s still 25%, but it could be, or even greater in that in 2021 Google laid an Internet cable between New York and Cornwall, England that’s far more powerful than any previous cable laid:  https://www.elandcables.com/company/new … data-cable

                This video (8 years old) show a comprehensive map of all undersea Internet cables across the world that carries 99% of Internet traffic around the world. https://youtu.be/IlAJJI-qG2k

                I appreciate that I may not be answering your question directly, but perhaps there maybe aspects of the above that’s links into your questions in some way?

                1. GA Anderson profile image84
                  GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                  A capacity more than all others combined—in one cable. Technology is awesome.

                  GA

                  1. Nathanville profile image90
                    Nathanvilleposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                    Yep, the speed of technological advance these days is breath-taking smile

  4. Sharlee01 profile image90
    Sharlee01posted 5 months ago

    Certainly yes, I believe that monopolies are inevitable, given the nature of capitalism. However, in today's world of innovation, such monopolies are likely to be short-lived. 

    Starlink doesn't maintain an exclusive monopoly, as there are competitors like Viasat and Hughesnet. However, Starlink distinguishes itself by employing a groundbreaking network of thousands of satellites in low orbit, offering superior internet coverage globally. This technological innovation places Starlink in a unique position, essentially monopolizing the market for this specific approach to high-speed internet provision.

    Amazon's Project Kuiper, with its recent satellite launches, exemplifies capitalism's role in fostering competition against Starlink. Hence, the concern about Starlink monopolizing the industry might be inflated by media coverage. Amazon is on Elon's heels...  Capitalism is alive and well in all that is technology.  Is there not always "the first"? 

    In my view, It's crucial to acknowledge the positive aspects of technological advancement and the entrepreneurial spirit driving individuals and companies to innovate. Without such initiatives, we would stagnate.

    Elon Musk, despite criticism, has demonstrated a commitment to altruism, exemplified by his provision of free service to Ukraine. However, his subsequent request for payment from the Pentagon after an extended period of free service has attracted scrutiny.

  5. tsmog profile image83
    tsmogposted 5 months ago

    Just for giggles I sought the IP address for Starlink in the Ukraine meeting success at doing so. The link next shares that information. I was just on a quest of curiosity, so what is shared may not be pertinent to the OP.

    https://db-ip.com/all/193.105.70

    Take note when reading it is a range of IP Addresses. You can scroll to see all the different IP addresses. Click one and the info will be provided. How they use them I have no idea or if/how they can be controlled by Starlink/Musk.

    Of interest in my mind is a discovery of Musk not allowing Starlink to be used with drones.

    SpaceX curbed Ukraine's use of Starlink internet for drones -company president by Reuters (Feb 9, 2023) Admittedly it is a dated article with the possibility that it was resolved.
    https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp … 023-02-09/

    What about the downside of things? An article by Defense One, Using Starlink Paints a Target on Ukrainian Troops shares there are some negative elements.
    https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2023 … ps/384361/

    And, seems an article by Reurters quoting the WSJ, says "Feb 15 (Reuters) - Russian troops in Ukraine are using thousands of Starlink satellite communications terminals made by Elon Musk's SpaceX, the Ukrainian military intelligence chief told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Thursday."

    https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ru … 024-02-15/

    That article may be pertinent to the OP. How does Russia get access to the service?

    1. Ken Burgess profile image72
      Ken Burgessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

      Going off of memory here, so take it with a grain of salt.

      Starlink cannot be used by Russian troops, possibly if they are in Ukraine, posing as Ukrainians (using captured COMSEC to do so)... using stolen/captured terminals.

      But Musk has denied Russia (especially the Russian military) the use of Starlink and its terminals.

      HOWEVER

      Ukraine leadership is pissed with Musk, his denials for them to be able to use Starlink to direct attacks into Russia, etc.

      AND

      The negative press Musk is going to receive, is only going to increase, he is public enemy #2 right behind Trump.

      For a better understanding of this watch the link in this thread I left for GA

      "Everything You Need to Know about the Government’s Mass Censorship Campaign"

    2. GA Anderson profile image84
      GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

      Good information in your links. They add credible support to Musk's reputation.

      GA

      1. Ken Burgess profile image72
        Ken Burgessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        Watched this clip, and they talked on subjects like Yuri Bezmenov which you made a thread about and Enlightenment, in this case, the removal of it from Universities... and it got me thinking...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm8dRCVDraw

        I think you have a better idea than most where we are at and why.

        1. GA Anderson profile image84
          GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

          I saw no linkage to Musk, but I only watched about half.

          Confirmation bias is a real thing, so I'm always cautious around stairs and dark corners. Finding a kernel of truth is the first step. Finding it in the context of a thought you agree with is the second step. The third step is acceptance of the thought. That's where things get iffy. The dark corners are the sources and credentials of the thought promoters.

          I have seen the Yuri interview (was it in the linked video?) where he explains the concept presented in the video. But agreeing with the apparent truth of the outcome (today's academia) doesn't mean agreement with the specific attributions for the (a nod to W. & Eso's fondness for the argument) causation.

          On some topics, I have found myself susceptible to it, so I stopped halfway. ;-)

          GA

          1. Ken Burgess profile image72
            Ken Burgessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

            Much of what they discussed revolved around the changes on University campuses and what Yuri discussed in that interview...

            Yes, they showed a portion of that Yuri clip, and when I saw it I thought of you linking to it in one of your threads not so long ago.

            They also talked about how Universities have stopped teaching about Enlightenment, and all those "dead white-men" concepts that led to "Western Liberalism" and I thought that was an interesting observation.

            They went further and said... if you have no background in what Western Civilization is really about, and the thinkers that led to Enlightenment, and you are only indoctrinated in CRT, Social Justice, etc.  well... you can see why we have the world we do now, and the young people have nothing else to compare/contrast their 'teachings' to.

  6. Ken Burgess profile image72
    Ken Burgessposted 5 months ago

    The American University and the End of the Enlightenment

    America is arguably the most magnificent manifestation of the Enlightenment that transformed the world after 1500. Our nation was discovered and settled by adventurers and risk-takers embracing change and discovery.

    Founding Fathers such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were curious about the world, innovative and creative, and believers in the emerging democratic ideal who also promoted fact-based scientific advance. Within three decades of the first American settlement, the first college (Harvard) was established, and by the time of the American Revolution, there were nine—roughly one for every 280,000 people.

    Our Founders believed in the democratic and scientific advances of Enlightenment thinkers like Locke, Hobbes, Smith, Hume, Galileo, Newton, Descartes and Voltaire.

    Our colleges, besides promoting Christian virtue, spread modern Enlightenment thinking that transformed the world. As the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 so beautifully put it (engraved in stone at the entrance to the Ohio University campus where I teach): “religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

    That brings us to today. What about present-day university scholarship—does it continue the spirit of Enlightenment thinking?

    For many current academics, fact-based evidence is irrelevant. One increasingly must adhere to prevailing ideological interpretations of rather far left progressives or be labeled racist.

    Appeal to evidence is unacceptable and career-endangering. For example, a Berkeley historian recently published his politically incorrect but factually accurate views on recent events anonymously to avoid ending his academic career.

    The spirited campus interchange of ideas based on interpretations of factual realities is in decline. We have a Cancel Culture where academics with significant scholarly accomplishments are prevented the opportunity to speak.

    Within universities, resources and control have largely shifted away from scholars committed to Enlightenment principles of promoting truth, beauty, and virtue to apparatchiks with mediocre academic credentials and indifference for scholarly advances in knowledge.

    An increasing number are “diversity and inclusion” bureaucrats, unknown even a generation or two ago. Students are increasingly identified not by their field of scholarly interest, nor by their academic achievements, but rather by their race, gender, and even sexual orientation.

    Outside the STEM disciplines, academic performance related to factual knowledge is often downplayed in assessing factual competence, while non-merit-based, mostly biological or ideological factors, are prioritized. This is not Enlightenment thinking. I often hear, “We must hire a black person,” or “we cannot consider hiring white males.” Politically correct racism.

    Full Article:
    https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2020/0 … ghtenment/

    1. GA Anderson profile image84
      GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

      In response to both posts . . .

      These show (me) why I am so worried about being swayed by thoughts I agree with.  Although surely not as eloquently (or scholarly researched), I  could have written the thoughts in the excerpt from your linked article

      But, I think we have done this to ourselves, so pointing to outside influencers as the cause (even if they helped) seems a weak argument.

      There used to be importance attached to the adage that 'actions speak louder than words' as a truth, but now I have the perspective that for our youngest generation words are all that matter. Now, words are what is important. Now, actions must follow the words when it should be the other way around.

      I also have the concern that my perspective is in the mold of what is said about all older generations — we're just curmudgeons moaning about a lost past. I don't think so, but it could be.

      One strong argument for the message of your link is the academic pursuits of Asians. Multiple studies have shown they work for academic achievement in STEM courses, not liberal arts or social justice courses. To ask why that is seems like a rhetorical question because the answer seems obvious; it's reality-thinking vs. wishful thinking.

      GA

      1. Ken Burgess profile image72
        Ken Burgessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        An excellent and accurate phrase... I may re-use it at some point.

        That, in essence may be the very heart of the battle ongoing in America today... dressed up in all sorts of labels.

        That may explain why the government expects women to accept men invading their showers and bathrooms if they claim they are a woman.

        Or Oprah telling her viewers that if Meghan Markle believes she is a victim we must accept it, what she believes is all that matters, not reality.

        Or the Biden Administration believing Iran is good, misunderstood, and wanting to do the right thing, they merely need to be funded a few hundred billion dollars and relations with America will be great, Iran will be happy.

        Is it as simple as there being a disconnect, between the well-educated elites that seem to believe 'wishful thinking' is reality... ... and the rest of the world that is actually dealing with reality and facts?

      2. Ken Burgess profile image72
        Ken Burgessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        After some more thought, the fact that Yuri Bezmenov came out in the 80s and all but laid out what we see today is too much of a coincidence.

        Convincing an entire generation of Americans that the Founding of the country was evil, that good is bad, that male is female, that reality is subjective and different to each individual...

        You could basically subvert and destroy a nation without ever picking up a weapon... one only has to look at what Universities focus their studies on today...

        Schools with Strong Programs in Social Justice

        Now, more than ever, there are opportunities to turn Social Justice into a career path by pursuing jobs at an NGO, as a community organizer, or in the political realm after graduation.

        Almost every college offers opportunities for community engagement in some capacity but, in recent years, some schools have also developed specific academic programs, majors, and minors to support students with a commitment to social activism, both in and out of the classroom.

        Bucknell University
        Tufts University
        Wesleyan University
        University of Connecticut
        Baylor University
        Harvard
        Yale
        Etc.

        It is pushed by the most powerful economic forces in the world today, for instance BlackRock.

        At BlackRock, we believe that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are critical to developing world-class talent and delivering for our clients in a rapidly changing world.

        In March 2021, we launched an ambitious global DEI strategy:
        https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/abo … ent-to-dei

        And throughout the government, enforced emphatically by the Biden Administration currently, for example:
        The IRS has a strong and steadfast commitment to ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion are integrated in the policies, procedures and practices used to carry out our mission.

        So, in this sense, it is completely systemic, being fed across the spectrum of Universities (Academia), fully supported and enforced by government rules and regulations, and pushed by the most powerful financial (Corporate) institutions.

        I don't think "we" have done it to ourselves so much as the effort is across the board, by those institutions and agencies that control "us".

        But that leads me back to the UN & WEF union I am always harping on ( https://www.weforum.org/press/2019/06/w … framework/ ) and the determination of the few to create their Utopian NWO... or was it Orwellian dystopia... I forget.

 
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