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ISIS Signs Them Up

10:11 AM, Sep 4, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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NBC news reports that:

At least 28,000 Twitter accounts supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have been set up since the beheading of American journalist James Foley, according to a Web intelligence firm.

The news should come as a surprise only to those who believed that the Internet and social media were digital vehicles that would carry us to the promised land.  That we would somehow Twitter our way to freedom and plenty. The belief that new technologies would somehow liberate us from out old, primitive ways is an old temptation.  One which Orwell dealt with in an essay called Wells, Hitler, and the World State and which he captures cleanly in this passage:

Hitler is all the war-lords and witch doctors in history rolled into one.  Therefore, argues Wells, he is an absurdity, a ghost from the past, a creature doomed to disappear almost immediately.  But unfortunately the equation of science with common sense does not really hold good.  The airplane, which was looked forward to as a civilizing influence but in practice has hardly been used except for dropping bombs, is symbol of that fact.

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