Victory for Martha; Will We All Win Too?

Martha Payne; A Study in Power

How often does a nine year old Scots girl force the government to back up in public? Victory for Martha Payne explains one such event while suggesting too that our world has changed from under us. Martha’s local government banned her blogging about school meals; it was picked up by a celebrity chef via Twitter; he took Martha’s side and it went viral from there. The government fell all over its own feet backing down in response. End of story…

But let’s stop for a minute and consider this. Scotland is not a neighbor of Hollywood, New York or London; it has no Silicon Valley. Nine-year-olds have not been known before for photo shoots of timely news items broadcast on their own facilities to a world-wide audience. Corporate CEO’s, actresses, senators and politicians would cheerfully murder their mothers for such access; they pay big bucks to pros to acquire a pathetic fraction of it. But Martha Payne, nine, got it almost without effort. Almost.  Nine-year-olds now don’t surprise with photo  shoots via their omnipresent cell phones nor with internet blogging of their opinions. And the internet is organized to collect and collate everything, tying it all together and putting it to the attention of all who show interest.

Martha got to that celebrity chef through internet organization; he decided to use the item and Martha was off to the races. In the past, it would have required the Queen to visit Martha’s school and ask the youngster about the photo she was holding. That’s an escalation of individual potential by many orders of magnitude. In the right time and place, anyone might do the same on most any subject. That hasn’t been true before and it will change things at a hugely increasing rate. It puts truly enormous power into individual hands. Individual opportunity has expanded beyond anything we’ve ever conceived before.

Government of course, has noticed; power is its business, after all. And the more power lies with individuals, the less remains available to government; it’s a zero-sum game. Government does not feel good about that; China has replaced Twitter with its own tame house version; the U.S. is attacking its churches. Nobody is allowed to compete or disagree with government so far as that government can arrange it, anyway. That’s why U.S. government has already reached for internet control and will always continue to do so under every possible pretext. Nine year old Martha frightens the socks off government: an ordinary human being with that kind of power, followed by God knows how many more as this world-wide interpersonal communication develops.

If government gets hold; it will assure continuation of the status quo and thereby, its own power. If it is somehow prevented, use your imagination to multiply all the Marthas and all the possibilities they bring by a new access to possibilities never available before. The development of Western civilization with its industrial revolution is going to look like a quaint tea party in the Orkneys compared to what may come.

And since we’re just now busily engaged in the final destruction of our world-wide economy, we’re going to need whatever we can get by way of progress. Perfect timing, if we can keep government away from it…

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
This entry was posted in Freedom, Future, Liberty, Private Property, Science and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Victory for Martha; Will We All Win Too?

  1. Argus says:

    I’ve had the argument before (often with dyed-in-the-wool Libertarians) with nice folks who state that the net is too big, too disorganised, too spread out, and too ubiquitous for government(s) to be a threat.

    They are wrong. The net is as vulnerable as anything else, and by paying ever more extortionate taxes we are funding our own executioners—if the net is a hydra, the first heads to go will be unapproved blogs.
    All it would take would be for a mandatory licence to use the web, with access controlled thru Govt approved servers, and a few exemplary vilified (how dare they!) victims to be fed through Gitmo (as terrorists—free board and lodging, all the water you can eat; all at taxpayer expense … how bad is that?) and the rest will quickly fall into line. The Government can out-wait a few Marthas.

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