iPod liberalism [is] where we assume that every single Iranian or Chinese who happens to have and love his iPod will also love liberal democracy.
When someone at the State Department proclaims Facebook to be the most organic tool for promoting democracy the world has ever seen - that's a direct quote - it may help in the short run by getting more people onto Facebook by making it more popular with dissidents.
The Internet can empower groups whose aims are in fact antithetical to democracy.
A vibrant civil society can challenge those in power by documenting corruption or uncovering activities like the murder of political enemies. In democracies, this function is mostly performed by the media, NGOs or opposition parties.
I used to work for an NGO called Transitions Online, and I was their Director of New Media. I was a very idealistic fellow who thought that he could use blogs, social networks and new media to help promote democracy, human rights and freedom of expression.
'Solutionism' for me is, above all, an unthinking pursuit of perfection - by means of technology - without coming to grips with the fact that imperfection is an essential feature of liberal democracy.
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