THE ARAB SPRING — 21st Century Technology Does Not Mean 21st Century Liberation

For those readers who naively believe that technology will promote the greater good, just examine what has occurred since the "Arab Spring".  There were high hopes among Western progressives who passionately believed that the internet, Facebook, Twitter would bring the longed hoped-for breath of freedom and liberty in lands long oppressed by dictators.  21st century technology does not guarantee 21st century mentality or free expression.

Unintended consequences and the reality of a morally ambiguous technology has led to completely different outcome. The rise of religious fundamentalism merely supplanted those of prior dictators. For in fact modern technology was utilized by the religious fundamentalists to promote their agenda. 

In her article in September 2012 Discover Nina Burleigh clearly demonstrates this reality.  The hope of the more naive among us that democracy, personal freedoms, liberation of women would necessarily emerge along with 21st century technology were sadly mistaken. Instead Muslim fundamentalists embraced this technology to promote their religiously conservative positions.  As Burleigh states, "the Internet is poised to drop-kick Arab society back centuries in terms of women's rights and free speech".

The lesson here is clear–technology is morally and ethically neutral.  The same technology that printed the Bible printed Mein Kampf.  Perhaps this should alert those among us who live in the world of wishful thinking to be less gullible when it comes to technological advancements and seek to understand the underlying philosophy of those who utilize them.

Leave a Reply