Be careful what you beg for

It has been rather depressing to watch people get exactly what they want.

In South Africa in March, people begged to “be lead” through the COVID crisis – and they were. Crop-bottom pant regulations, arbitrary prohibition and all. They are now number three on the global misery index.

In the UK, people demanded schools were shut down – and they were. Now their children are being graded by grade-inflating (on average) algorithms that reward the average at the expense of the excellent. (Of course, that is what equality of outcome always entails; sacrificing the over-achieving / over-earning outlier for the sake of the median – flattening a different sort of curve, if you will – but that is another story.)

The people demanded that government censor their ideological enemies on social media to protect the ignorant from “fake news” – and they did. South Africans may soon need to get their government to pre-approve (for a fee of course) every tweet, TikTok and YouTube video before uploading to the Big Bad Web. British Citizens could find themselves criminalised for (subjective) hurt feelings. (Of course, the centralised, coordinated top-down propaganda directing the moral panic around “fake news”  into the acceptance of censorship and privacy restrictions, could end up being more sinister than actual user-generated bottom-up “fake news” – hinting the subject of “fake news” could, ironically, be “fake news” itself.)

Now, all across the world, people are demanding their governments track and trace their fellow citizens, who they do not believe will act in their own best health and safety interests. Well, in more nations than not, people are getting exactly that. And, if they want a glimpse of the dystopia they are demanding, they only need to look to China, where their dreams (or nightmares) are already a reality.

Look at the future you are begging for. Look at it. And pray it never arrives.

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