“To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone-to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of double think — greetings!” — Winston Smith
We are entering a new age. It is not the age of the hopeful future that poor Winston suffered for, where men are different from each other and truth exists, but the age of uniformity, solitude, and doublethink. We are entering the age of Big Brother.
My goal with this site, is to make war against this coming age; to preserve, as best I can, the lost thought of the last few free men of the ending age; to provide a record of our lives, and our demise; and, to offer some insight of my own along the way.
The name of the site, “Samizdat Philosophy“, is explicitly intended to evoke the memory of the totalitarian Soviet state, and the brave dissidents who labored in the dark, with few resources, and thin networks, to keep the flame of free thought alive.
These images of Winston hiding from the all-seeing eye of Big Brother, and dissidents secreting hand-typed pages in dark alleys may seem overwrought to you. You may even think of me as silly or slightly paranoid. Maybe you are correct. But I would challenge you to look a little closer, at your own society, and at the rising tide of social fragmentation, and the increasing tendency to use our new tools of communication, as implements of war. Social media has increasingly become a means by which dangerous political actors can marshal the emotions of large mobs, capable of manipulating the sentiments of unprincipled politicians, business leaders, and energetic technocrats, to the point of actual repression and censorship. That is dangerous, and as far as I can tell, its only going to get worse, because (perhaps like yourself) nobody can see the danger when they are swimming in it.
As a result of the ways in which the internet had been capable of disrupting the way we work, learn, socialize, organize politically, and entertain ourselves, we were on the verge of a social, cultural, political transformation the likes of which humanity had never seen before. As it has for our material conditions, that transformation had the potential to be a spectacular boon also to liberty across the western world, and perhaps even the world.
But something had gone terribly wrong. Instead of expanding the boundaries of human liberty, human dignity, and human flourishing, what the internet has facilitated is the organized centralization of power on a scale no one could have imagined 50 years ago. That centralization of power, and the army of bureaucratic psychologies that have been drawn to it, in order to satisfy their lust for control, has brought with it ever-increasing pressure to silence the dissident, impose conformity, and severely punish anyone who fails to satisfy the social demands of this new ubiquitous finger-wagging technological nanny. Every single day, there are new stories of individuals being hunted, hounded, persecuted, and even threatened with violence, all right out in the open for everyone to see. And yet, most of us do nothing about it. We accept it, as though the entire world is now a giant corporate office we all inhabit, and everything is NSFW.
I don’t have much in the way of answers to what caused this transformation to sour, why it seems to have happened so rapidly, or how we escape from it. But I hope, over the coming months and years to try to answer at least a few of these questions. I don’t pretend to be anything special in trying to resist this change. I am just a studious documenter, not a hero. But the pages of this site will include as much documentation as I can muster, of those who actually are the genuine heroes, fighting to keep liberty of thought alive.