It Tolls for Thee

I will leave you by saying that it seems that a widely predicted outcome of digital culture has come true: that all of the new means of interconnection serve as a vast system of mutual surveillance, that there is now nowhere for us to go where we are not constantly observed and thus constantly judged by everyone around us, that the internet’s great power is not for more human diversity but for more human conformity, that we are now all constantly under supervision, supervision of the bosses and the government and the great Puritan effect of other people’s attention, that we are training generations to fear that people with power are always watching, that the necessary and inevitable effect will be a culture of docility and fear, that the constant guilt by association leads us to relationships that are prophylactic and insincere, that the future is the fascism of the HR department, the totalitarianism of our own grinding uncertainty about who might be offended by what we’ve done, and why, and of never knowing why we’re in trouble but always being keenly aware that we are, where only the wealthy and the connected enjoy the privilege of candor and indifference to offense, our country a democracy of fear.

~ Freddie de Boer, “It Tolls for Thee”

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