Trying to make sense of the gloomy and chaotic world political scene requires evaluating the likely outcome of the massive conflict between the entrenched forces of organized irresponsibility and the growing forces of an emergent global networked intelligence. To my mind, the best metaphor for what appears to be happening is the electronic warfare phenomenon of “burn through.”
In electronic warfare, radar is a primary sensing system for determining target location and movement. To deny the adversary this information, electronic jamming is used to interfere with accurate radar returns. However, as the power of the search radar increases relative to the jammer, the false signal created by the jammer is overwhelmed and accurate radar information is obtained.
Consider Iran. Ten years ago, the authoritarian regime could easily have suppressed reporting from the streets showing massive protests. But the advent of ubiquitous image-gathering cell phones and wireless Internet access have made censorship in Iran nearly impossible. The power of the Internet has “burned through” the jamming of a sovereign state’s propaganda apparatus.
In America, a similar phenomenon is occurring with regard to reporting of economic conditions. Dozens of independent bloggers are posting grim statistics and analysis indicating that economic conditions are bad and worsening, while the corrupt commercial press and our Wall Street-owned government keeps talking about the end of the recession and “green shoots.” Again, the Internet is burning through the propaganda jamming.
This trend will continue until propaganda and disinformation tactics are thoroughly discredited and a new paradigm for institutional leadership is established. Honesty will become not only the best policy, but the only available option. The force driving history now is the steady, irresistible assault of the collectively gathered truth on the ancient tactics of deceit that have been the basis of concentrated power since the first political lie was told.