I believe that nothing describes the intellectual condition of our world – as opposed to the economy – better than a look at the accessibility of information. We live in an information age – and, as I have argued in the post “What works and what does not – Government 101” – pertaining to Occam’s Razor it would be in the interest of every country to maximise that access for economic and intellectual gain.
Thankworthily, Wikipedia presents an extensive information page on the subject. Perhaps it is suitable if the reader keeps this page open in a separate window when reading this post, for the frequent references to this page.
The page first presents the alphabetical list of countries with an index ranging from “10” – which indicates the absence of censorship – to “100” for the worst case; although the perfect 100 is not reached, the list of the, er, usual suspects includes such delightful countries as Cuba (91), Iran (92), Belarus (93), Eritrea (94), Uzbekistan (95), Turkmenistan (96) and our perennial champion North Korea (97), whose internet consists of some thirty government-run websites and maybe fifty foreign propaganda outlets.
Four world maps provide information on Freedom of the Press, Internet Censorship and the blocking of You Tube by country. Alas, what we see is all but surprising – the situation is pretty much as expected. Freedom of the Press remains a Western idea, as remains unhindered internet access. The blocking of YouTube follows the predictable pattern – Muslim countries being mortally afraid of people making fun of their most serious religion (1) or not being scared enough of the next stupid terror act (which, however, in their infinite wisdome they mostly address at their own folks – of slightly different sacred persuasions) and China scared of any reference to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacres or investigations of how exactly they treat minorities, Ugurs or Tibetans.
This is all hardly surprising – but since its very un-entelechial (2) – we must ask for the reasons underlying this timidity, nay, fear, of their own people – does it reflect on the true inner stability of these countries?
I think it does. By definition, limitations on information are limitations on the development of society, and that explains well the intention of censorship – it is a defensive mechanism, born out of fear.
Its the cowards amongst the tigers who rely on censorship – afraid of their own people, insecure of their stability, precariously timid. Hence, dear Lords of China, Arabia, Africa and South America – why don’t you grow a pair of balls?
(1) I may quote the Ayatollah Khomeini here on the holy creed: “Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.”
(2) “Entelechy, (from Greek entelecheia), in philosophy, that which realizes or makes actual what is otherwise merely potential. The concept is intimately connected with Aristotle’s distinction between matter and form, or the potential and the actual. ” Encyclopedia Britannica. In this context, it means “productive” – the withholding of information by definition restricts productivity and impedes progress – hence it can be justified only by an all-pervavise interest, which, I assume, lies in the preservation of the state – in its present status-quo.
(© John Vincent Palatine 2019)