Publius 2.0

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If the physical world is but a reflection of Platonic Forms, and we are but Plato’s caveman witnessing the world as a shadow on the wall, then today we’re witnessing a life of shadows additionally removed and projected in 1280 x 800. E.M. Forster might have called them “Screens with a View,” but ever more of our lives are projected onto the walls of the digital Platonic cave. We’re subject to the accessibility of information, the caprice of self-projection, and the ubiquity of public opinion.  Online, Sophist arguments can dominate, and “Might can be Right.”  The loudest Blogger voice with the greatest links, or the “expert” with the most Twitter followers can direct discourse. De Tocqueville feared a “Tyranny of the Majority.” In today’s online democracy, such demographics can be quick to emerge.  Perhaps an emergent “Publius” -Madison, Hamilton, and Jay- ought to advocate for crowd-sourcing circumspection, lest offline patrons may fall victim to those “insidious factions” Madison would have enumerated in his 1787 Federalist Paper #10, version 2.0.

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“I’m not away from my computer”
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E.B. White’s “Here is Internet”

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