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    sharia law in lebanon! sharia law in michigan!..., 2010-05-17 13:40:15 | Main | always remember! never forget... the extras?..., 2010-05-18 08:56:07

    just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not watching you:

    I was going to berate Dan Drezner for overlooking the extensive history of the dominant political class peddling idiotic conspiracy theories in his spectator article on grassroots paranoia, but then he made a joke at the end - the old you're-not-paranoid-if-they're-really-watching-you bit - and I forgave him:

    In a 2008 paper, the law professors Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule suggested that the ‘cognitive infiltration of extremist groups’ could disrupt the trend of epistemic closure among these groups. In particular, they proposed that, under certain circumstances, ‘government agents (and their allies) might enter chatrooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action’.

    Their argument, in effect, was that the best way to deal with paranoid citizens is to spy on them. This sounds disturbingly similar to the policies of authoritarian countries. Press reports indicate that China pays pro-government commentators 50 cents for every pro-regime post; Russia has implemented a similar programme. Not surprisingly, Sunstein and Vermeule’s paper triggered considerable controversy in the United States — particularly after Sunstein was appointed to head the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. In other words, a man who proposed intensive state-run surveillance now has the ear of the most powerful man in the free world. I’m sure that won’t make anyone more paranoid.


:: posted by buermann @ 2010-05-18 07:40:50 CST | link


      I can't get enough Sunstein. I love the guy. He's perfect. Who else but a liberal egghead would dream of helping paranoid people through state surveillance? and follow that up by attempting to brainwash them? It's almost too good to be true. The only thing nuttier is appointing this paragon of psychoceramics to an office where he has real power.

    posted by al_schumann @ 2010-05-18 18:22:19 | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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