There are forces of madness; I have shown you that I make allowance for them. But they are only dangerous so long as privilege allies itself with hypocrisy. The task of the modern civiliser is to sweep away sham idealisms.
George Gissing - Born in Exile (1892)
Blogging is a privilege – I don’t pay for it except in time and whatever Gurgle gets out of it. It could be said that the internet has delivered this kind of privilege to billions, but if virtually everyone has something, how can the possession of it be a privilege?
In Gissing’s time, privilege included wealth, influence and a public voice where influence and a public voice were connected. In our times, we could say that a public voice and its potential for influence confer a tiny dose of that privilege on millions of us.
In this sense, the privilege of having a public voice is seeping away from the ruling classes - together with the influence perhaps. Seeping away rather than disappearing of course, but still a fundamental change for the ruling classes. Privilege has always allied itself with hypocrisy but when the privilege of a public voice became available to millions, maybe the hypocrisy became more obvious.
In which case censorship is at least partly privilege issue. Which we already knew, but it may be as well to view censorship as more than the simple suppression of unofficial and unpalatable opinions.
Defining the narrative is a privilege - right or wrong, true or false do not necessarily come into it. For the ruling classes, to be proved wrong would be a loss of privilege and this seems to be one of the forces of madness.