Monday, February 1, 2021

Censorship: How the West is becoming more and more like the old Soviet Union

 

A message I received from Facebook on Jan 29, 2021. Five of my posts were deemed "spam" and erased. Some were somewhat "political" although non-partisan, but two were purely technical. That these posts were erased is an indication that censorship is by now applied to all forms of dissent, not just political ones. It was not unexpected, but it was still somewhat shocking after decades of propaganda that had convinced most of us that the Western world was a place where you could enjoy "freedom of expression." But we are quickly moving toward a Soviet-style management of public information, as Dmitry Orlov noted already in 2013. It had to happen and it did.

 

Last year, a Spanish climatologist, a friend of mine, had his Facebook page erased. Apparently, it was because it was deemed as too "catastrophistic" (or for whatever reason had caused the opaque fact-checkers of Facebook to take it as a target). He protested and he also tried to convince other climatologists to start a boycott of Facebook. 

The answer was a little disappointing, to say the least. It may be best described as a resounding worldwide "meh." Those climatologists who bothered to reply to him expressed the concept that, yes, censorship is bad, but, you know, you can't allow deniers to diffuse their fake science around. 

It was on that occasion that I discovered that most people like censorship. It is just that it should be applied to those they disagree with. In that case, they actually love it and protest because Facebook doesn't censor enough (you can read that, for instance, here).

The problem with censorship is that it is a little like playing the apprentice sorcerer: once you start the mechanism, you don't know how to stop it. What's happening now is that censorship is becoming widespread, wide-ranging, and pervasive. Everyone can be affected and it takes unexpected forms. I was surprised when Facebook decided to erase two rather technical posts of mine, apparently because they were critical of the concept of a hydrogen-based economy. Apparently, censoring doesn't just apply to political dissent. Any dissent is now considered bad

Of course, Facebook is not the government, but it would be silly to dismiss the whole story by saying "it is a private company." Facebook has now almost 3 billion users, close to half of the world's population. No other entity in the world -- governments included --has such a reach over so many people. Do governments have any power on Facebook? Or does Facebook own the governments?

It was expected, we knew that it was coming. Already in 2009, Dmitry Orlov had noted in his book "Reinventing Collapse" how the Soviet and the American Empires had been moving along parallel tracks, with the American Empire poised for collapse just a few decades after the Soviet one. In a later book, "The Five Stages of Collapse" (2013), Orlov described the mechanisms of censorship in the Soviet Union and discussed many remarkably prescient concepts on how electronic surveillance in the West would dwarf anything that the old and clumsy Soviet system could do to spy their citizens. 

And so, there we are. Covering the whole story of the Soviet censorship would be very interesting exercise that not even Orlov attempted in his books. I can't claim to be an expert in these matters (*), but let me just note that censorship in Russia was a nuanced story, not just a clumsy dictatorship dictating to people what they had to believe. In part, yes, censorship was imposed by the government but, in part, it was also enforced "from below." Russian newspapers often carried comments by the "korrespondents" (Корреспондент), people who were not professional journalists. They seem to have had a certain leeway in criticizing the government, of course only as long as they didn't express doubts about the founding myths that kept the state together. They were similar to our commenters on newspapers and social media who have a list of no-no's that's probably as long as they had. The Soviet Union had an efficient trolling system that could demolish a dissenter, just like our trolls can. (the story of how Boris Pasternak was demonized for his "Doctor Zhivago" novel is a good example of the mechanism)

Overall, it is clear that censorship is developed by societies under stress to try to keep the social fabric together as much as possible. If you think that Russia had been invaded 4 times by powerful Western armies over less than two centuries, you can also understand that the fear of the West was not paranoia, but a reasonable attitude for Russians. And many of them preferred to support a bad government rather than risking that the US would bring democracy to them by the usual methods.

About the West, nowadays, I don't think we need to note how stressed we are. And, as a result, we are clearly heading in the direction of a Soviet-style management of public information. Is it unavoidable? Most likely yes. It is a desperate, last-ditch effort to keep together a political system that's rapidly crumbling away, but which is doomed in the long run (perhaps even in the short run). But it is probably unavoidable: we'll have to live with censorship because it is the simplest way to try to stop the forces that lead to the disgregation of society.

So, what should we expect for the future? The analogy with the Soviet Union holds only up to a certain point. In Soviet times there was no Internet, or it was in its infancy. The new communication technologies are disrupting everything, as we saw in the recent "Gamestop" story (see this interesting discussion by Chuck Pezeshky) and we may well be moving toward some completely different information exchange system that, for the time being, remains difficult for us to understand. Maybe it would be something like the glasnost (transparency), that Mikhail Gorbachev introduced in the Soviet Union in 1986. But glasnost didn't prevent (and perhaps eased) the collapse of the Union. Eventually, if collapse has to come, it comes.

 

Additional note: A commenter defined this post as a simplistic way to cry, "but free speech!" I understand his point, but that was not what I wanted to say. By comparing the US with the old Soviet Union in terms of censorship, I tried to explain why playing with it is like playing the apprentice sorcerer. Once you decide that it is your duty to suppress lies, where do you stop? And who decides what's a lie? I think that the experience of the Soviet Union can tell us a lot on what is in store for us in the future. They did suppress dissent rather efficiently. But the result was a rigid society that eventually crashed very quickly. It is always the same story: The Seneca Effect. The more you try to stave off collapse, the faster it is when it arrives. 

 

(*) Russians and people from other areas formerly being part of the Soviet Union are welcome to correct my interpretation of censorship on the other side of what once was called the "Iron Curtain." I did my best to inform myself, but I never lived there.


93 comments:

  1. Facebook is blocking Cassandra’s Legacy. I can’t post any text that contains cassandralegacy.blogspot.com

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    1. Just insert a few spaces within the URL...FB is silly.

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    2. I did, it worked.

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    3. Yes, of course. It works, but you can't just click on that and go. Most people won't understand why.

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    4. A few that understand is better than block all at FB - agree? Maybe those who understand are those I hope to reach.

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    5. It is possible to post the links in Facebook using tinyurl.

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    6. Yes. But eventually they'll catch you.

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  2. Have you noticed how much our informational environment resembles that of a small town dweller of the early Middle Ages? We know what we see, what trusted friends tell us and what travellers from far away lands tell us, of the rest it’s rumours and darkness.

    This sounds absurd in what is called the information society, but with massive evidence that most of the information we see is corrupted, ours eyes and instincts telling us that reality is not what is reported. So called conspiracy theories are in many ways, attempts to figure out the real events out of a corrupt and misleading information stream.

    In the past few days I had the experience of finding out that I could access more reliable information on the Harem Conspiracy that lead to the assassination of Ramses III, with court records and autopsies of bodies, allowing a good picture of events, compared to say, 911 which occurred 20 years ago, some airplanes crashed into a building, the reliable information begins and ends with this, nobody truly believes the official accounts, who was Bon Laden? Is he a made up character? What is the real story? Was the whole thing a false flag?

    The economic reports, suspect. The science, did they lie on the grant proposals? The electoral promises, broken. The news reports, conjured. The most defining characteristic of today’s information society is the extreme shortage of reliable information! How can good decisions be made in such an environment?

    I wrote how the Romans created a power system in which nobody, least of all the Emperor was secure. I think that the elites, in their eagerness to engineer consent, to shape opinion, to make their own reality created an illusionist’s world that imprisoned them just as the Romans imprisoned themselves in their power system. Look at how fearful and delusional they have become, they walk in a dark, demon infested forest were the light they shine breaks up into ghostly images... The higher you are are, the richer you are, the more people will lie to you, just as in Rome, the more power, more assassins to worry about...

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    1. Quite right: a first-hand report from an intelligent and reliable person, news from a distant source but one with patent, well-argued integrity.

      For the rest, I ignore what is said and look at body-language: that is what first alerted me to the true state of affairs, and the certainty that certain people who pretend to be 'philanthropists' are no such thing.....

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  3. I have this video, it’s a scathing allegory of today’s world:

    https://youtu.be/LczGSoibRe8

    Our problem is far more than simply censorship, it’s a massively corrupt information ecology that leaves reliable information in very short supply. Ultimately collapse because it’s impossible to make good decisions.

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  4. There is a discussion here that needs tob be had.
    Are lies that undermine freedom and democracy protected by free speech?
    Is it censorship to suppress such lies?

    The right has weaponizes free speech. It has undermined science and it has blurred the public perception about so many topics where facts are indisputable.

    Blatant lies are not published to start a discussion, they are a way to unite the followers behind their Führer.

    I always thought that our scientific method could survive the onslaught by the crazies. I am not sure anymore. As flat earthers, Q-Anon trumpists and Corona deniers become mainstream I feel overwhelmed.

    It is clear that the Digital Capitalists from silicon valley do not have a mandate to decide what is truth and what is not. the discussion should be, why dont we have a public mandated organisation that keeps criminal liars out of the public sphere. Why is it capitalism that makes those decisions for us?

    Capitalism is at the heart of this problem. If I feel marginalized, if world is under attack, if the future is frightening, if I loose my job during a world wide epidemic, capitalist ideology telly me "Its Your fault".

    Trumpists and their ilk are told "Its not your fault its immigrants, the jews, gay people and antifa" who are at fault.

    In a cmplex frightening world the need for simple explanations is abused by those who want totalitarian power. Somehow we nee to find a way.

    Crying: "But Free Speech!" simplistic in exactly the same way as describing the world as flat. The world is complicated. This Post (and some before) are a huge dissapointment for an over 10 year follower of this blog as me.

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    1. I don't think my post is a simplistic cry of "Free Speech!" I tried to explain why censorship is becoming unavoidable. My point is that playing with it is like playing the apprentice sorcerer. Once you decide that it is your duty to suppress lies, where do you stop? And who decides what's a lie? I think that the experience of the Soviet Union can tell us a lot on what is in store for us in the future. They did suppress dissent rather efficiently. But the result was a rigid society that eventually crashed very quickly. It is always the same story: The more you try to stave off collapse, the faster it is when it arrives. I added a note to my post on this point

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    2. "I always thought that our scientific method could survive the onslaught by the crazies. I am not sure anymore."

      I feel exactly the same. I used to be a "true believer" in science. I'm starting to realize that scientists are just men and women. They have power. Where there is power there is corruption. No method can resist to it. And this story is as old as humanity. Science makes me think of the joke of the man looking for his keys under streelight. He can't find them because they are in the dark where he cannot see. Scientists are staying under the light (which represents money) and they stay where they can see something, but not find what they are looking for.

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    3. "I always thought that our scientific method could survive the onslaught by the crazies. I am not sure anymore." Now I am certain.

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    4. Ah Yes! The scientific method, is that the skills of manipulating reviewers and grant committee while deceiving oneself that you are actually doing real science?

      I’ve read in Fortune Magazine that last year has seen the creation of 56 Covid billionaires, that I think is quite an incentive for scientific simony.

      And no, science isn’t self regulating, indulging destructive nonsense like Social Darwinism and lobotomies went on for decades, even in the face of objections by other scientists, it was only when non scientists got organized and put their foot down in front of the mad scientists and said Enough! that it stopped.

      Today you have the scientists who have been promising fusion twenty years down the line for seventy years, is it about time to declare this experiment a failure? I would point out that it’s professional death for any physicist to express doubt on the Promise.

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  5. For me the epiphany was the day a main tv news reader blamed two young girls
    because they posted a video of an empty road in front of an hospital,
    The girls aimed to show there was no ambulance come and go traffic.
    The news reader argued the girls were filming a rear entrance.
    Maybe he was right. But should a mainstrem newspaper worry about such a thing?

    He blamed the girls so harshly, even envoking the procurator to make an
    investigation (!?!?!)

    When I hear the word "procurator" I always associate it with "Pontius Pilatus".
    I don't know if Pilatus really washed his hands in Christ judgement as they say.
    But I am sure he would have laught out loudly hearing this accusations.


    You cannot pretend to appear sane,
    impartial, balanced and sober
    and quarrel with the first teenager.
    So maybe we cannot discern the truth,
    but I begin to percieve
    some dissonant jarring chord at least.


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  6. I'm reminded of the great 50's science fiction movie, "Forbidden Planet". It had ground breaking effects, and remains one of the best sci fi movies ever, but its message that we can never escape our dark side was what I thought most significant. All our technology can be used for good or ill, and no matter our best intentions, the bad will come out.

    Social media is one more technology that has good and bad effects, the bad of which which we are powerless to eliminate, only struggle forever to minimize.

    I left facebook two years ago, but see that it or similar is here to stay (as long as the grid stays up!).

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  7. P.S.
    Maybe even the young girls laughted, I wish so, but I am afraid they didn't. This I regret cause I'm sure they sincerely seeked truth, they surely didn't look for money for their act anyway. Of course young people may inconsciously aim to deny the desease, to match for what they need, fun, sociality, dating and - why not? - love. Is this a sin? A crime?
    They are young, they feel untameble, they have time to learn it's not so.
    Science numbers says virus is there and we have to act. Well we acted. But if there is all this scientific evidence, why matter about the opinion of unqualified young teenagers?

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    1. Imagine if the two girls had filmed comrade Stalin in an embarrassing situation....

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  8. I'm reminded of the great 50's science fiction movie, "Forbidden Planet". It had ground breaking effects, and remains one of the best sci fi movies ever, but its message that we can never escape our dark side was what I thought most significant. All our technology can be used for good or ill, and no matter our best intentions, the bad will come out.

    Social media is one more technology that has good and bad effects, the bad of which which we are powerless to eliminate, only struggle forever to minimize.

    I left facebook two years ago, but see that it or similar is here to stay (as long as the grid stays up!).

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    1. Indeed, Steve, "Forbidden Planet" is a good metaphofor what's happening to us. Fantastic movie: so well done, so fascinating...

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  9. Can you share the content of the posts blocked by FB? It would be interesting to see what they found so disturbing.

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    1. They were just a few lines and a link to the posts on Cassandra Legacy.

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    2. Might be that it's more a matter of not wanting people to direct discussion to other sites then. "Few lines plus link" may be threatening to fb regardless of the content.

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    3. I don't think so,NN. It is being done all the time all over Facebook. Nobody says there is anything wrong with that.

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  10. There are several fundamental requirements for democracy:
    Democracy needs participation, the right to decide or to vote for representation.
    Democrazy needs the living conditions that provide the ability to participate in society.
    Democrazy needs security, not being in dangers for life or limb is a very important requirement for democratic societies to function.
    Democracy needs the possibility for a rational discussion that is based on factual arguments.

    Totalitarian systems, like the soviet union, dont need those things to exist, in fact they need them not to exist.

    Totalitarian systems control the available information and hate facts, free press, intellectuals and science.
    Totalitarian systems usually threaten (and take) people's lifes to ensure their power.
    Totalitarian systems only provide wealth for the leader and his close followers and exploit everybody else.
    Totalitarians obviously do not discuss facts, they give commands and there is no participation.

    In the Soviet Union democracy was never under attack by totalitarians, like it is today, because there was no such thing. The lies the right use to bring about the end of all rational fact base discourse on the other hand are targeting democracy and want to bring about totalitarianism.

    Obviously this is the main issue, because its not the only attack on democracy that is happening today. When police officers kill the people they are supposed to protect, when citizens are not offered public health support in a global pandemic, when people are forced to work or suffer food insecurity, then democracy surely is under severe attack.

    This is where your argument fails. There is a fundamental difference in silencing dissidents and protecting the public space from the lies of those that are about to destroy it.

    There are those in our own government and in the digital capitalist enterprises that do not understand that difference and are rather helping to destroy democracy (in which they have never been really interested anyway) this is true (Mark Zuckerberg).

    So I will rephrase the argument you try to make.

    We need to protect free speech from censorship while at the same time protect democrazy from its enemies. This can only be done by democratic means. We all fail at it dismally at the moment. and the right is winning the argument because people mix up democracy with tyrrany.

    The strategy of the right is to make it look like protecting democracy from its enemies, means silencing dissent. While we still have a democtracy we are not the ssoviet union!

    By falling for that trap we will loose our democracy.


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    1. Alien, I think we have a deep disagreement, here. You think that we risk losing our democracy, I think we already lost it long ago. There never was an exact date for the event, but I think it came with the "Committee for Public Information" that was formed in 1917 by President Wilson with the specific purpose of convincing the American public to go to war against the Central Empires, in Europe. It was the start of the career of the apprentice sorcerer. Once propaganda started being used, it wasn't possible to stop it again. And now we are deep in the hole that our leaders started digging for us more than a century ago. In short, I stand with Orlov's argument that there is no substantial different with the US as it is now and the Soviet Union as it was after WW2.

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    2. Actually, modern propaganda was introduced in the US by Randolph Hearst and his yellow journalism. The story of the sinking of the US Maine was a template that was repeated over and over in history. But Hearst was not the government. He was playing the role that today Facebook is playing. When the US government learned Hearst's trick, they applied it on a large scale. Now, wait for when the government learns Zuckerberg's trick. I think they already did in China.

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    3. This is essentially the argument of the right. That is what dissapoints me.

      Democracy is in very bad shape in western industrial countries. Especially in the USA and Italy. I think here in germany its still a little better, but far from perfekt. But the USA is not the soviet union, germany is not the third reich and Itally is not Mussolinis fascism. Whatever is left of democrazy needs to be defended.

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    4. Putting a label on an opinion doesn't make it right or wrong.

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    5. That being said, the "democrazy" lapsus clavis (slip of the keyboard) is quite fitting… When under stress and becoming dysfunctional, democracy tends to degenerate into a "democrazy" - and to resort to ever increasing surveillance and censorship of its citizens, among other things…

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  11. You know, folks, now that "Cassandra's Legacy" is tainted, I was thinking of closing it. Not that I am giving up, not at all, but it makes no sense to remain in a position that the enemy has identified and can shell at will. I was thinking of moving to another blog that I had started, but never really used. https://thesenecatrap.blogspot.com/

    Give me your opinion, how would you see that?

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    1. Some of us are not on FB and couldn't care less. As for yourself, how does FB censorship hurt you exactly: do you still rely on it to reach readers?

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    2. Been following your blog for I don't know how long and would not like to see it go, which it won't, unless the Blogger platform closes it. Your regular readers can still read but not share your posts to FB. So what? However I will now look at the Seneca Trap, too.

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    3. Well, many people normally use only facebook. So, if something doesn't exist there, it doesn't exist at all. Few people seem to be able to use such simple things as feed readers that provide so much more freedom to explore the things you are interested in. I performed some tests: if I didn't announce a post on Facebook, it had about half hits than normal. It is no tragedy, anyway

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    4. I would try an alternate medium completely. I left Blogger a couple of years ago and moved to Dreamwidth.org. Nice folks, and it is off the beaten track enough that I kinda doubt that any of the big boys will notice you over there.

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    5. Haven't found the perfect platform, yet. I'll try your suggestion.

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  12. Ugo, I must say that I am deeply troubled that you as a really deep thinking scientist (that might of course come to deeply troubling insights) was censored in facebook.
    We all know about the Seneca cliff, that you directed us to and we know, that if it came (cough) we would all need to work together as all humans and help us out of this mess in the best possible ways.
    While I think that facebook is not the best place to discuss a different path for humanity, still it encompasses a lot of humans.
    When the discussion about these topics is rendered impossible a lot more suffering will follow that is not necessary.
    Alas I also understand that allowing these discussions can heat up rebellions and conflict. A predicament. Very sad.

    MM
    PS: I would rather die in my boots than sleeping in my bed would be my advice for changing the site. Although some bad things might happen. Very difficult.
    Undergound is a strategy. But to get this started, you should not post it here ;-)

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    1. I don't think Cassandra is so important that they would really watch what we are writing in the comments. So, with a little care, we can move to a more shaded platform. We must learn from how Soviet citizens coped. Orlov described it in his book, the five stage of collapse. And it has to do with teapots!

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  13. E' bene vigilare ed indicare una direzione di fuga, indispensabile al primo sentore del ridestarsi del principe della notte nella sua bara foderata di rosso. S'intravede il male strisciare, diffondersi e crescere nei recessi nascosti del bosco. Già s'evoca l'ombra severa di un compagno feroce, dalle mostrine rosso feretro e dal volto fiero. Il catalogo dei musi non lo censisce oggi, ma domani? Sarà il campione di un altro "-ismo", altrettanto disumano e brutale? Il pescatore giapponese diffida. Cerca vaticini, interpella l'oracolo principale che per ora non tacita la voce riecheggiante della profetessa. L'umile iniziato attualmente non presagisce conseguenze peggiori di un eventuale imposto comandato oblio. Se l'oracolo di Delfi taciterà la profetessa (e non consentirà più alcuna veduta da quella montagna, la fuga di Enea dalla città in fiamme, sembrerebbe ancora possibile. L'eroe raccoglierebbe degnamente l'eredità di Cassandra e le radici di Seneca. Dall'altro il mito insegna che quando le profetesse hanno cupi presentimenti ... tramandano misteri ancora più arcani scegliendo luoghi appartati, perché restino sconosciuti agli indegni.






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  14. Not a joke, if it involves a risk, okay!

    But, she already knows, like in zombie movies.

    I want to enjoy every last moment of intelligence that I can.

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  15. It could be the influence from that US Institute,...who knows!

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  16. Tried to share on FB. No go. Contains material that may be offensive to some readers.

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  17. Edward Bernays was working for the US govt in WWI. He is the modern father of this story, even if Hearst preceded him in some measures.

    We lost any semblance of "democracy" with the deterioration of education. But long before all of this, see The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World. Self censorship changed important stories to perpetuate ignorance and protect evil and shape history to the pleasure of the powerful. I just sent someone the wikipedia piece on Bernardo Sagahun https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernardino_de_Sahag%C3%BAn
    Note the last line from the Histories of the Conquest section: Sahagún's 1585 revision of the conquest narrative, which included praise for Cortés and the Spanish conquest, was completed in a period when work on indigenous texts was under attack. Sahagún likely wrote this version with that political situation well in mind, when a narrative of the conquest entirely from the defeated Mexicans' viewpoint was suspect.[44]

    The edition I own is the revised ed, bought at a Biblioteca book sale. I wonder if there is any place on the web where the original even exists for comparison.The Scandals of Translation is a serious work detailing a different form of this tragedy through history.It gives some perspective.

    In other words, this has happened many times over. I cannot even imagine the publication of the true story of the covid narrative and the Great Reset will ever be allowed, or at least put forth so the public will be willing to grasp it. The public is heavily complicit in supporting propaganda by wanting to deny what it doesn't want to believe...because...it's too evil. Yes. It is and the effort and courage to know and understand reality is heavy, very hard, isolating.

    I ran across a definition of the C word...Republicans...conspiracy...Democrats...coincidence, but Barzun in Dawn to Decadence would say the loss of "common sense" is the c word that has destroyed the Western world and its culture and I agree with him.

    Facebook can only exist with power because people are complicit,giving up their freedom happily, following money and narcissism. It's only been here a short time and if people stop using it, it will go away. I've never been on it, always understood it was bad news.

    I'd be sorry to lose this blog...I really appreciate it. I understand the discouraging situation and even then, with the very circumspect care you write with...they are trying to silence you. So sad. Watching the lights go out again, in our time.



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    1. Very interesting, Christine. I knew it only vaguely about Sahagun, but thanks for bringing our attention to this story. If you like to send me something on this matter that I could publish on this or another blog, I would really love to do that. And, yes, maybe the lights are going out, but they will came up again. There is always a crack in everything.

      You ring the bells that still can ring
      Forget your perfect offering
      There is a crack, a crack in everything
      That's how the light gets in

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    2. I'll think about what I might send. There were many brave Spanish priests in Mexico who fought the "censorship" of the crown and conquistadors as they could, especially for the good of the indigenous. There are fascinating stories. Hidalgo, the priest hero of the War for Independence is one of them, but there are others. As I run across them in the reading I'm doing now I'll try to pull them together for you. Thanks for your work.

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  18. Ugo,
    I was tempted to write a scathing reply to the ideologues that immediately jumped in to criticize you for supporting free speech. I didn't, because unlike you I gave up.

    But I will say this. I think you are wrong. I grew up in a communist country and there are some big differences to US today.
    First, the commies had censorship but they also had guaranteed jobs, good communities, free healthcare and free education for (almost) everyone. So the social contract was much more balanced than in US today, where the poor have no freedom of speech or assembly and almost no social safety net, not to mention they are atomized as people.

    So why is the system still standing? I wish I knew, but I think the ideologues in this thread suggest the answer - people still believe (or can be made to believe) that the ideology is "good" and the goal justifies any means necessary, despite the fact that the goal changes from day to day (a la "1984").

    I have talked to people in person and I can tell you that their beliefs are unshakeable.
    Maybe is just a matter of time (there were people that believed in communism too in the beginning) but I don't think so.
    I have seen the same blind religious belief twenty years ago in the republicans that supported the Patriot Act never imagining that it can be used against them.
    Just like them the people today are going to be surprised when censorship is used on their ideas or candidates. But will that change their minds? History says no.

    I think the Seneca cliff will "solve" the problem in a way by reducing the scale of the economy, governments and private CIA "enforcers" like BookFace.
    Until then, staying quiet and not volunteering for anything is probably the safest approach.

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    1. I don't think you gave up, NomadicBeer. We all keep doing what we can.

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    2. Only a strong regime can maintain an effective system of censorship, a weak one cannot make itself strong with it. Near the end of the Soviet Union, the censorship system unraveled as the regime’s legitimacy eroded, samizdat was distributed openly before the fall.

      When a weak regime imposes censorship, the resulting resentment will accelerate its decline, there’s no example of any being strengthened by it.

      Free Speech isn’t simply an abstract right, it’s indispensable for effective error correction within the system. An elite which poisons all the wells of information will find it cannot drink without being itself poisoned, it will make mistakes after mistakes due to its ignorance of what is truly happening, the society itself will disintegrate for lack of accurate information to properly organize and regulate itself. In the Soviet Union, pervasive censorship concealed the corruption that was corroding state authority from the leadership itself, by the time of glasnost the rot was so deep that reform turned out to be impossible.

      I will hazard a few predictions for the coming times, that before the end of the current year the Covid official narrative will be as credible as the official narratives for 911 and the JFK assassination, I expect the current administration to lurch from crisis to crisis while its authority crumbles like the Soviet government in its final stage. The collapse will extend to its satellites in due time.

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  19. Ugo, busca una alternativa a blogger, no se te haga raro que pronto Google también se "encariñe" con tu blog.

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    1. Have been thinking about that. In any case, I have a full backup!

      Delete
  20. See this censorship, perhaps, as a badge of honour, Prof Bardi, for such it is.

    A couple of years ago I had my nose in ancient Chinese poetry - in translation - and it seems a common scholarly theme was 'Whether to be the unyielding oak, or the bending grass' in a corrupt age.

    The oak gets battered by strong winds and may therefore risk breaking or being uprooted: the grass bends and sways but stays true to itself all the same.

    The winds must blow, and cannot be redirected or calmed.

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    1. Maybe yes. A badge of honour. Someone, at least, noted my blog.

      Delete
  21. I have heard this story often enough. Usually from nice people that have a tendency to also fall for some esoteric superstitions (like Orgon Accumulators). the propaganda tale is a simple way to explain the world. The world is bad because "propaganda" and a few evil people behind it. It is a conspiracy theory in an all ways that matter.

    A sinister cabal of powerfull people use "propaganda" to totally control the public. Those technologies of manipulation of public opinion are so sophisticated that we are all helpless against that.

    Somehow, in many such narratives, the sinister cabal controlling those propahganda tools, are faceless and remote at first, but pretty soon, the usual supects are projected onto this canvas. Usually its "the jews".

    I am sorry, but this is not how the world works. Snap out of it. Ironically You are actually really falling for manipulative narratives of the right that have been used since the beginning of the 20th sntury.

    The Nazis had read Edward Bernays book. Has propaganda used to some success? Certainly. Can it be used as an excuse to blame the holocaust on the Nazis alone? The Nürnberg trials argued that ALL Germans have been involved, but some have been gathering more blood than others. Social science recognizes the power of tools, but we are to blame for believing propaganda. In the end ALL governments ar only as powerfull as the people make them, even the Nazis. All germans have been held accountable by all of the world, and still are.

    No propaganda conmes even close to the way ideology controls our behaviour. Ideology is the propaganda we tell each other all the time because we want to believe it instead of questioning ourselfs and our practices.

    We are living in a time when "the things we thougt are right" might just have been a mistake and the way we did the things an the past might have been wrong. We dont want to hera that. But if propaganda is to blame, and not us, everything is fine and the cognitive dissonance goes away.

    If propaganda is as powerfull as Ugoo and some others here seem to think, then actually germans are just victims of those few Nazis at the top. Do you really think so? If Propaganda makes us all helpless puppets, Göbbels and Hitler are the only ones to blame for 9 Million killed Jews.

    Blaming propaganda is "the easy way out". Its also stupid, childish unscientific and actually not worth any more words. If you believe that, I am waiting for the full Marjorie Taylor Greene crazyness from you.

    There is NO SCIENCE to back up ANYTHING said here. There have been Millions of scientist studying how societies Work. Saying that the existence of propaganda in the west is the equvalent of totalitarian control is as scientific as saying blue jewish lasers are responsible for the californian wildfires.

    This probably was it. This post and the answers have crossed the line into estoric, superstition wonderland for me.

    Also @momadicbeer:
    I ill not bne your straw man for that nonsense. I am a communist. I believe in the good things the revolution has done. But the soviet union, especially stalinism, was totalitarian. So please spare me this nonsense.

    I also have been about the only vocal ccritic of capitalism in this forum for more than ten years and the most open critic of the USA.

    But nevermind people. If fantasy wonderland of make believe is where you find bliss, go there, but I will never want to hear a word against climate change denial again.

    I would wish it ewas not so, But this has been one of the most dissapointing experiences ever for me. I have had utter respect. But seeing this Blog drifting into irrational Ggagaland is just terrible.

    If we want to save our climare we need to save democracy first. If your not up to that, shut up.

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    1. On the contrary, Alien, you are the truly 'superstitious one': your irrational belief is that the Right advocate Free Speech only in order to advance their own lies; persist in believing that virtue and good will lies solely on the Left; and that revolutionary Communism will, one day and despite all the evidence to the contrary, turn out well one day.

      What we are seeing with 'cancelling culture' online is not a noble fight against Right-wing lies, for truth and science, etc, but the suppression of all posts, tweets, articles and people (how soon before they are actually murdered or imprisoned? Not that long I suspect.) who in any way depart from the new orthodox narrative imposed on us by Big Pharma, Big Tech, and colluding governments working to an obvious programme, and which mendaciously self-identifies as both Progressive and Scientific.

      That is why our hosts negative, t non-partisan, posts on the hydrogen economy were suppressed: for going against the narrative which is being imposed on us.

      And you end by telling everyone else to 'shut up' thereby proving Prof Bardi's basic thesis!

      Forget the Left-Right smokescreen, it belongs to the 19th and 20th centuries: what we are seeing now is the first, rather brutal, stage in a global Techno-Totalitarian tyranny, aiming through coercion and elimination (of 'legacy'structures and ways of life and yes, whole classes of people) at achieving the Singularity.

      It has begun with creating what will turn out to be permanent mass unemployment, pushing hundreds of millions in the poorest countries into near-starvation,and the effective elimination of basic human rights and civic rights in the advanced economies, killing cities stone dead, forcing the bizarre and ineffective rites of the Mask Religion on everyone, all on the tenuous peg of a not-very-dangerous virus and its nebulous mutations.

      That it has begun like this tells us how it is likely to end for us.....

      Delete
    2. @ alien observer
      Conspiracy theories....
      signaling some posts are blocked by facebook,
      is just a fact. Undeniable. At least Mr. Bardi can be 100% sure of this.I am sure too, because I trust him much more than an alien or facebook or the wordpress or the tv. So I am doing my best for finding some landmark on which base my opinions and my choiches.
      I feel at peace with myself on this. I don't feel safe with society: one or two steps in the direction of censorship may seem harmless, but the road sign is very clear and it says "one way"
      So I am not happy to follow such a path. It's not the blog drifting on an "irrational Ggagaland", but society is sliding on a dangerous path. And I'm afraid. A very very rational concern.

      Delete
    3. So Prof. Bardi. I urge you to ask yourself what folk youd rather like inviting to a disussion.

      Thos who really challenge your arguments or those so far up your behind they can't they will never question your logic or science if you tell them what they came to hear.

      Anonymous here has left facts and logic behind a long tome ago and regurgitates the disgusting vomit of covidiots, trumpists and Q-Anons.

      I could not have wished for a better supporter for my arguments.


      Delete
    4. I know my critique is harsh. But I really love this place and since the start of covid you are getting out of touch with your inner critic. You know me.

      I have always been the proponent to "base your argument on the least untrustworthy source available a a time" and be ready to change your position when new facts present themselfs.

      So I urge you to ask yourself if you deserve readers like anonymous here.

      Delete
    5. Take it easy, Alien. Times are difficult, at least we should try to keep our livers healthy!

      Delete
  22. I am Sergio Nicoli I teach physics in a country that is on the very same path of Greece. Nice to meet you Alien. I kno I would be glad to mee Doctor Bardi too, would he invite me one day. This are earthers matters. Aliens advice is welcome, as long as they are polite.


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  23. I understand what you mean Alien but just look at one thing:
    "There is NO SCIENCE to back up ANYTHING said here". You can judge science only by its predictive capacity. Many theories were ridiculed before people realized they predicted facts with precision. Sometimes it takes time.
    What we say here is that the world is experiencing the most dramatic change in History. Of course no one knows exactly what will happen because of the high complexity of a globalized world. But there are trends that we are trying to identify. You should stay open minded and look for clues that confirm or contradicts Ugo's thesis. Then bring them to us and we could talk quietly.
    Give yourself some time to observe what is going on and check the facts.

    Just one more thing: are you not troubled by the occurrence of Covid19 at the time when we were just starting to see the effects of oil depletion? We were already facing a collapse, perhaps the worst humanity has ever known. The covid things are a perfect excuse to shut down some activities to protect some others, don't you think so? have you ever wondered if the virus was man-made? How easy is this to create a chimera in most labs in the world?
    We have much more questions than answers, but at least it is essential to ask them.

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    1. Nope, not much understanding going on. You got me all wrong there.

      There is plenty of good data on collapse. I have had no problem at all with the main topics of this blog in the last ten years or so. I even think I might have somtimes contributed some insight or another.

      There is just not much data (and more "feeling") in social and political topics, like the "soviet union is jut like the west" thesis. Its when the topic is not collapse but politics, society or viral infections that things have been drifting towards wild theories and guesswork.

      I dont think that guesswork and wild speculations about power structures, (that we actually understand quite well today), helps us in any way.
      There is is science of society you know? (called sociology or anthropology).

      In the industrial world we tend to think there is a techno fix for every problem so we do not need the humanities anymore. It turns out that was wrong. It seems that knowledge about societal issues is sorely lacking.

      Delete
    2. The irony is that Alien thinks that he is an objective observer, but always insists on looking through his out-dated Left-Right filters which are no longer fit for purpose.

      He might just try take them off and look at things, instead of calling others crazy.

      But he has never been very rational,always highly ideological -and the new, very dark, world we are seeing take shape bewilders him.

      Delete
    3. Well, we all have our filters.

      Delete
    4. "There is science of society you know? (called sociology or anthropology)."
      This one makes me laugh! Science is corrupted but sociology and anthropology are amongst the worst ones. With History of course.
      I don't think they are even science. They pretend to be. I think you need to unlearn and throw away most things you have learnt. By now, you are not thinking by yourself. You think you understand power structures? Are you kidding? All the things you've said show how much you are driven by ideology imposed by the MSM and all the sycophants. The good (communists or whatever) vs the bad. Blue vs red. Right vs Left. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. The true story is power. Those who have it vs those who don't (the peasants). Always have been.

      Delete
    5. yeah right. Again thanks for making my point.

      Delete
    6. Hello it's Mon Seul Desir.

      My access to Cassandra's Legacy is being blocked, I had to switch to another computer to regain access, I saw it when the comments counter changed while the new posts failed to appear. Seem that Zuckerberg has defined me as a right wing extremist...

      I think pure mathematics is the least corrupt of the sciences, then there's theoretical physics, for the rest I'm in agreement.

      In history I've noticed a massive gap between the Late Roman period of the 4-6th centuries and the Romanesque Age of 10-12th centuries, there's classical style paintings and art pieces in the Romanesque but no classical style literature, just medieval chronicles, while there are late Roman fortresses built in Romanesque style, the late Roman Goths seem to do the same things as the medieval Varangians, could these two periods actually be contemporary and their separation is an artifact of 16-17th century historiography? It would explain why Romanesque Europe was building large masonry structures seemingly out of nowhere, the first Romanesque architects where actually the apprentices of the last Roman ones, building in a new style, their skills did not appear out of nowhere. The Renaissance art and literature would be direct continuation of the late Roman forms which were actually medieval and immediately preceded it.

      The Dark Age as a massive propaganda operation to discredit the Church? Lets not forget that the Centuriators of Magdeburg, who started today's historiography where an explicitly polemical operation, targeting the legitimacy of the Church.

      Delete
  24. Remember i.e. this discussion we had in the year 2017 ?
    https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-apple-and-ant.html

    I have warned time and again that Trump represents the rise of fascism.
    Now after fascists have stormed the US capitol in Trumps I wanna say, told ya so.

    Quote: "The most probable transformation that I see is that the far right (oligarchs) will take over more and more power and replace the democratic capitalist system in many countries with totalitarian schemes of exploitation and further ruin of our ecosphere. In doing so the legitimacy of the state as a benefitial institution to provide (democratic) communal services (justice, administration, social security, health, policing, schooling, universities ...) will be eroded.

    This path of action on "the right" will then result in dysfunctional failing states and upheavals that will in turn result in movements that seize local autonomy where the state has no longer any interest in functioning properly."


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pardon me, Alien, I have a rather poor perspective, but from over here in Japan it appears to me that the US right has been sent off to the dog house to ruminate and cringe. Perhaps you think Biden is right-wing. I sure do, despite quite a masquerade. Was Trump installed to pave the way for this?

      Delete
  25. I just started following this blog, but through email, not Facebook. I, for one, would hate to see it go, as I find it very interesting, intelligent and I like the back and forth of the commenters.
    I cannot imagine why Facebook would censure it. Seems most peculiar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary, it may be that it was the result of a bug in the algorithms, but I think Facebook has several good reasons to censor this blog.

      Delete
  26. If it;s not possible in the near future or perhaps the present uncensored using blogspot perhaps try https://www.subscribestar.com/

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  27. If this happened because of "hydrogen economy" criticism, then it's almost funny. Even Elon Musk would agree with you! (He supports batteries for storage of energy in cars etc and criticised hydrogen as "basically a bad battery" many many times).

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    Replies
    1. Funny if it weren't so serious, yes!

      It's similar with masks: anyone repeating now what the authorities said at the beginning of the pandemic -'Masks are useless, just wash your hands' etc - would be cancelled for 'medical disinformation'.....

      Delete
  28. Questa sera volevo rilassarmi e fare quattro risate con l'attore (comico) Natalino Balasso. E' leggero, resta in superficie, ma almeno guarda in profondità. Una sorta di snorkeling culturale. Sono veneto come Balasso e colgo tutte le sfumature della sua "comicità". Balasso è un bel pezzo che è sparito dalle televisioni italiane nonostante ci siano comici di minor levatura in circolazione. Il link a youtube sul suo sito https://www.natalinobalasso.it/ ad un "contro film di natale" risulta interrotto. Ho scritto all'attore per chiedere conferma di una eventuale censura, spero che mi risponda. In tal caso Hercule Poirot avrà tre indizi: la censura della Profetessa, del Sacro Re e del Giullare. Vediamo.

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  29. I was looking for some fun this evening, on the web page of a comic italian actor, Natalino Balasso. He uses to post videos on youtube, between theatre and cabaret. Generally his pieces are not "politically correct", but harmless I daresay. So I clicked on one of his links, and was redirected on youtube just to read "video is not available" (in italian). I wrote to Natalino and I hope I will answer me. In case, I will let you know if he thinks this is a further act of censorship or just a broken link or if he willingly decided to just remove the video for some reason. Thanks to everyone, here.

    ReplyDelete
  30. thanks for the good times and great Posts ocer the years Prof. Bardi.
    Bus as I dont think your new crowd is willing or able to have rational discussions I will probably say good bye for good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't get upset, Alien. We all have our disagreements, it is normal. And our disagreements won't do much to change the situation. Anyway, as a debate, this one was remarkably civilized. Think of what goes on elsewhere!

      Delete
    2. In any case, I'll move to a new blog, different title, not so different contents. I hope you'll be following it.

      Delete
  31. Well, that's sad about 'Alien': the first 'self-cancellation'that I've witnessed.

    It's hard when one's basic world view no longer functions adequately, we have all been there over the last year...

    I'm sure we all look forward to your new blog, when you move - 'Seneca Trap'?

    ReplyDelete
  32. May i wish you best of luck in your new blog and i look forward to following it. Although this is dependant on a reliable Electricity grid and in what was called the "First World" a reliable Electricity grid is not an absolute certainty in the near future. On a positive note Censorship by "Big Tech" may backfire by the speeding up of a creation of a decentralised Internet that allows freedom of Speech, freedom of protest more individual liberty, Also Advertising revenue for the Facebook's,Twiiter's,etc is bound by decline massively if they keep behaving like Dictators, So an educated Guess is most Big Tech Companies won,t be powerful and many will even have collapsed/go Bankrupt by year 2025. Thanks again Ugo for many interesting Articles.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Dear Hugo Bardi,

    Before starting an in-depth discussion on censorship and other perils surrounding FB censorship, I have a practical perhaps somewhat immodest question. How large is the readership of your blogs and what readership do you think you will lose due to FB censorship?

    I follow you blogs with some regularity and manage a FB site myself with over 10,000 readers, dozens of posts a day and hundreds of comments. As an administrator moderator, I have not been bothered by FB to date.
    I can see per post read rates and numbers broken down into all kinds of audience groups.

    I can imagine your frustration by the way but I note that the responses to your site are for the most part 'anonimi'.

    'For you perhaps not a problem.Yet I see you in your responses struggling to get a grip on what in fact should underlie any form of normal communication.

    Yet that is precisely what forms part of an 'ordered' and 'responsible' communication system. With 'anonimi' no publicist can establish a normal communicative relationship.
    I never do that myself! What do I care about 'anonimi'.

    Indeed, it is very important for any 'normal' exchange 'discourse' to be able to address the 'reader' about his or her 'life coherence' and his or her 'striving' of any kind.

    You refer to the "correspondents" from the "Soviet" period.I have a lot of experience with GDR 'censorship' for reasons that don't matter here.

    The comparison between FB and the fine-grained GDR control system 'das Leben der Anderen' hits the mark.
    The same applies to the 'censorship' of the Communist parties in the Soviet Union, Italy and other parties that moderate their message according to the principle of 'democratic centralism'.

    But anyway I digress. What are your viewing figures?




    ReplyDelete
  34. Ugo: This is not in any way directed at you, but at commenters.

    A quote from the Novel "Crytonomicon" by Neal Stephenson:

    “Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game because they almost always turn out to be—or to be indistinguishable from—self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.”

    ReplyDelete
  35. Dear Hugo Bardi,

    Before starting an in-depth discussion on censorship and other perils surrounding FB censorship, I have a practical perhaps somewhat immodest question. How large is the readership of your blogs and what readership do you think you will lose due to FB censorship?

    I follow you blogs with some regularity and manage a FB site myself with over 10,000 readers, dozens of posts a day and hundreds of comments. As an administrator moderator, I have not been bothered by FB to date.
    I can see per post read rates and numbers broken down into all kinds of audience groups.

    I can imagine your frustration by the way but I note that the responses to your site are for the most part 'anonimi'.

    'For you perhaps not a problem.Yet I see you in your responses struggling to get a grip on what in fact should underlie any form of normal communication.

    Yet that is precisely what forms part of an 'ordered' and 'responsible' communication system. With 'anonimi' no publicist can establish a normal communicative relationship.
    I never do that myself! What do I care about 'anonimi'.

    Indeed, it is very important for any 'normal' exchange 'discourse' to be able to address the 'reader' about his or her 'life coherence' and his or her 'striving' of any kind.

    You refer to the "correspondents" from the "Soviet" period.I have a lot of experience with GDR 'censorship' for reasons that don't matter here.

    The comparison between FB and the fine-grained GDR control system 'das Leben der Anderen' hits the mark.
    The same applies to the 'censorship' of the Communist parties in the Soviet Union, Italy and other parties that moderate their message according to the principle of 'democratic centralism'.

    But anyway I digress. What are your viewing figures?




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    Replies
    1. Hello, Gerard. Thanks for these notes. I am planning a post where I'll provide some details on the past performance of the Cassandra blog. Anyway, it was typically of the order of 2000 contacts per day. Successful posts could reach 3000-5000 views. A minor blog by all means, but I think it was a good result because I have some evidence that it was actively sabotaged by the main search engines.

      About the anonimi, well, I never saw them as a problem. It was, I think, mainly due to the fact that you a small step to register in order to comment with your name. And that was enough for many people to choose the easy way and just fire their comment in an anonymous manner. Or so it may be. The next post on censorship should appear tomorrow.

      Delete

Who

Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)