Morozov, you delightful troll!

Evgeny Morozov has emerged as a penetrating and engaged critic of Internetism, a ruthless, trollesque critic ensconced in the history of philosophy of technology, unlike many of those he attacks. With essays that spew a vitriol than nearly undermine his arguments, he has staked out a lonely, important role as perhaps the premiere antagonist to the forward march of Internet-centrism. Though often overstated, Morozov’s importance is to coherently articulate why it is worth worrying about the idealized perfect technology fix that has become so alluring, as well as to link the rarely acknowledged neo-liberal, rational choice ideology smuggled into politics through a seemingly apolitical technocratic solutionism.

What I find troubling about Morozov is his penchant for attacking those that would seem to, mostly, agree with him. The fight for accountability and transparency in governance, as well as in the interconnected world of corporate competition and finance, seems to be a populist ideal to which many would subscribe. We want government to be more responsive and accountable in the actions it takes. We want government to explain what they have done on our behalf and why. To succeed in the initiatives, and to build a movement that might be able to follow through on ideals, requires some solidarity. This is not to say criticism is unwelcome but a more judicious use of the takedown might spare unnecessary internal divisions from undermining the larger goal. Now and then, where frauds and hucksters emerge amongst us, they must be exposed. But where disagreement about the best way to achieve largely shared goals prevents action, Morozov’s takedowns do nothing to bridge difference.

I’ve compiled a few links to recent work by Morozov and categorized it loosely into three categories: deserved takedown, questionable takedown, and totally uncalled for.

Deserved:

The Naked and the Ted

Why Social Movements Should Ignore Social Media

The Internet Intellectual

Questionable:

Passing Through

The Meme Hustler

Uncalled for:

?

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