Very fine talk by Ben Hammersley addressing Britian's security elite:
It’s another example of a network beating a hierachy, and it’s all pervasive in the national discourse. We are used to having our opinions matter, and so now, at the one end, politics is more shrill – more rabble-like – and at the other end, we have rioting.
Indeed, a small part of the trigger for the London riots can be understood as the gap between the respect given to peoples’s opinions by the internet, and the complete disrespect given by the government and the ruling elites.
What I get from this, and it is a point Ben makes later, is that government is now a product (an experience) to be created by dream merchants and consumed by consumers formerly known as citizens. Where we have rabble, we will have rabble rousers, such as Fox News, and funders of rabble, as with the Tea Party. As for educating an electorate in critical thinking, we have what? Oxbridge in England and the Ivies and Little Three in the US. For the rest we have "test every ninny every year for compliance with dogma and authority." The end product is a consumer, and an employee, and a stunted opinionated human. "Liberals think you are stupid," sneers Hannity. I think, on the contrary, that you are educable and have been defrauded of your birthright by those who pander to your prejudice.