Can the Internet save democracy?

David Weinberger is asking an important question tonight (Feb 14th, 2007) at the Berkman Center’s Web of Ideas series:

Can the Internet Save Democracy?

Here’s his blurb:

We’ve been through a few election cycles in which the Internet played an important part. What have we learned? Beyond being a fund-raising tool, has the Internet changed anything important about elections, politics or governance? Will it? Does the connectedness of the Net promise an invigorated democracy? Or more of the same? Or a polarized electorate? David Weinberger of the Berkman Center will present a discussion opener on this topic, to be followed by an invigorating—or polarizing?—discussion.

David says: “ I’ll probably open the discussion trying to stay as far away from facts and reality as I can”, so with that in mind I’ll provide my quip:

The internet IS democracy.

The internet is an open-ended discussion, where anyone (with access) can participate on almost equal footing and the best ideas (usually) win out. (You vote with your clicks?) Sure, it’s not perfect, but to paraphrase Winston Churchill said “the internet is the worst form of government except for all the others”.

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