The real revolution
: Dan Henninger, deputy editorial-page editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal, spent last Saturday at the Harvard Internet conference soaking in words about the work of people bringing citizens’ media to the world and today he writes a wonderful column about the real revolution brewing:
“American influence” is the great white whale of the 21st century, and Jacques Chirac is the Ahab chasing her with a three-masted schooner. Along for the ride is a crew that includes Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Vladimir Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il, Kofi Annan, the Saudi royal family, Robert Mugabe, the state committee of Communist China and various others who have ordained themselves leaders for life. At night, seated around the rum keg, they talk about how they have to stop American political power, the Marines or Hollywood.
The world is lucky these despots and demagogues are breaking their harpoons on this hopeless quest. Because all around them their own populations are grabbing the one American export no one can stop: raw technology. Communications technologies, most of them developed in American laboratories (often by engineers who voted for John Kerry), have finally begun to affect an historic shift in the relationship between governments and the governed. The governed are starting to win.
Not that long ago, in 1989, the world watched demonstrators sit passively in Tiananmen Square and fight the authorities with little more than a papier-m