Scragged Accepts the Internet's Nobel Peace Prize Nomination

Well, why not?

The Internet is among a record 237 individuals and organisations nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

BBC News

Since Scragged is on the Internet, who better to graciously accept this nomination than yours truly?

There are those who might question the wisdom of this nomination.  Can an electronic medium truly bring about world peace?  Certainly it makes the folks back in Hoboken more aware of exotic foreign cultures, but National Geographic magazine has been doing this for generations, most notably in the area of ladies' fashions in the tropics.

But then, we must not be too hasty at judging a book by its cover.  The Nobel Peace Prize has been about anything but "peace" for a long time; it has been granted to unrepentant terrorists, international thieves, the chief perpetrator of history's greatest hoax, and even people undistinguished by any visible accomplishments whatsoever.  At least nobody can argue that the Internet has accomplished nothing.

What has it accomplished, though?  For every benighted village in Africa which now has an educational link to the wider world, there is a hate-spewing madrassah in some Middle Eastern hellhole which can now spread Koranic evil worldwide.  For every beautiful and fascinating subculture now revealed to appreciative view, there is a loathsome villainy equally exposed.

Sometimes getting to know your neighbor makes you live them more; other times, it simply reinforces existing repugnance.

The Internet is the same mixed bag at a higher level of geopolitical governance.  Internet forums and blogs have broken the back of America's liberal media monopolies and allowed the truth about widespread government corruption to be spread widely, but those same tools have provided a means for the totalitarian government of China to keep track of its critics and run them to ground.  Twitter was lauded for helping Iran's youth plan protests against their brutal theocracy but the only real result was bloodshed and brutality.

There have been revolutions against tyranny prior to the Internet.  Not many, no, but it seems like they've been more permanently effective ones.  Perhaps overcoming the challenges of a traditional secret police and communications barriers is a necessary prerequisite to effectively overthrowing and replacing them?  Does the Internet make it all seem too easy?

What the Internet and modern computer technology in general certainly does make easy is to keep track of an endless panoply of data records.  One hundred years ago, it would have been deeply impractical for even the most intrusive government to keep track of who read which library books other than perhaps keeping tabs on the very most subversive volumes.  Today, every library of any size has a massive borrowings database from which can be gleaned a complete picture of each patron's borrowings.

Actually, library records are a tiny example.  Credit card companies know where you shop and what you buy; Amazon knows what books, music, or anything else you have bought.  Phone companies know who you have called, and your ISP knows what websites you've browsed.  All these data are near-instantly available to any Fed with dark glasses, a suit, and a badge, or to any shyster lawyer with a subpoena; as they get tied into the Internet one by one, access for snoops both authorized and unauthorized becomes still easier.

What's more, the Internet has brought about a noticeable degradation in our culture.  There has been pornography since the first savage molded river clay into a lascivious figurine.  There has not, however, been an infinite supply of every conceivable sort of smut and many inconceivable ones as well piped into every home at megabytes per second.

Is it possible to imagine that society will not suffer for it?  Arguably, our plummeting marriage rate shows that it already has.

Does the Internet make us better informed?  It certainly can do so for those who choose to use it thus - like you your own self, who is reading this informative and enlightening article rather than Facebook.  Alas, comparing our traffic statistics reveals discerning readers to be much the minority.

Rather than read Shakespeare, the Bible, and other great works of Western literature, since that's all that was widely available in times gone by, we moderns are more likely to guzzle down Twittered inanities or while away the hours trawling through ten million terabytes of incomprehensible dreck on YouTube.

The Internet is a tool for good.  It is also a tool for evil.  More than either: it is a tool, nothing more, nothing less.

A stick can be the means of digging an irrigation canal, or murdering a neighbor.  A gun can be a way to enforce tyranny or to drive it off.  The Internet is no different; like all other of man's invented tools, it simply magnifies what's already found in the heart of whoever uses it.

Is that magnification likely to bring about world peace?  The way you answer to this question tells us more than words can say.

Only if humanity in general deserves the Nobel Peace Prize does humanity's greatest and most far-reaching invention, the Internet.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments
Good or bad, the internet has the power of linking people above the Globe.
March 18, 2010 5:25 PM
hey how else would I have met ppl like those at 'scragged' to patiently expose my chinks, well at the same time fortifying my own views on function, dysfunction, and the grand cosmic function?
Peace out~!
March 18, 2010 11:41 PM
Internet is the work of men who originally made for the good, but man it was good qualities and bad qualities. With the Internet these two properties will be channeled. Now we just want a good human or not?
March 19, 2010 12:37 AM
Nice article regarding contribution of internet to humanity. But regarding the statement---------
"there is a hate-spewing madrassah in some Middle Eastern hellhole which can now spread Koranic evil worldwide." Both madrassah and Koran are highly valued establishments of Muslim community. You, by categorizing them as evil, are branding every Muslim as terrorist, which is a false. Kindly rectify If possible
March 20, 2010 8:29 PM
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