Internet Usage

There is a very interesting list of countries here, showing what percentage of the population uses the internet. Australia has 70% penetration. Not bad! I would like to see 100% penetration, but I'm not sure that you can force the remaining stalwarts to get online.

I consider the internet, especially broadband, to be a major conceptual change. With so much of the world online, we can basically chat directly with our enemies, as the Israelis and Lebanese did during the recent war. The thousands of years of conflict in the world have reached the point where we can at least find out where we stand, and see where the other person is coming from. This has enabled us to identify exactly who our enemies are, so we can now begin the process of executing the final war to see which ideology wins. And then we need to maintain that victory by being in perpetual war, waiting to see when an enemy ideology (basically the latest dogmatic dictatorship) raises its ugly head so we can smash it. The price of freedom is eternal vigilence. Once again, this is not even something I made up. I'm just implementing well-known policy.

I think we should make a serious international effort to get the world connected up to the internet so that everyone can talk to everyone else, so that we can clear up the various misconceptions. Especially the world media has made whites out to be racist, and the only racists, on the planet, when the complete opposite is the case (in fact, I didn't even know I'd been fooled by the media until the Iraqi bloggers came online and I could see the Iraqis talking in racial terms). And ditto about the Christians being the religious bigots, when I know that as an atheist, no-one in Australia gave a damn about my religion, or lack thereof.

Quite frankly, I think internet access is coming pretty close to being a human right. I think everyone should be able to be part of the world, which is what this essentially is. It's almost part of freedom of speech. What's the point of freedom of speech if you can't even get your opinion to at least be accessible via a blog? I know right-wing people will have a heart attack about me wanting to have government-funded internet access, but that is why in those questionairres I come out as a centrist, not right-wing. I believe in a rational approach to the economy - ie using capitalism, the only system known to actually work - but I do think we have a collective duty to protect others, and to do research, things like that. So long as we don't endanger our economy, and so long as the burden is not too great. It should also work hand-in-hand with private charities. Basically social standing should be dependent on people working hard in the capitalist system and then using that money to help others, as Bill Gates etc do. Although I question where he is actually directing his money.

And it's not just a human right, but it's an integral part of our security. We need to increase contacts with the rest of the world so that people eventually realise that America is not trying to enslave the world. Although the number of people who hold onto their dogmatic opinions in spite of the evidence in front of them may mean that this is a forlorn hope. But at least we should try our best. It's exasperating when we try our best and that still isn't good enough, but nevermind. We can mostly work around this problem (e.g. by vacating Iraq at the end of the year and see if that stops the conspiracy theories). We will need everyone to be able to speak English for this to work though, but fortunately that seems to be happening.

Words can not express how happy I am to see the world come online and express themselves freely. Especially the Afghans and Iraqis. That is just so amazingly beautiful. If only I could get the other 50% of Australia to see that beauty. I don't really care if people don't have high-speed access. So long as they can access chat rooms, instant messaging, email and blogs, which don't require high speed, and hopefully be permanently connected, I am happy. Then let the wonderful free marketplace of ideas do its stuff!

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