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Politics & Current Affairs

Henry Rollins: The Myth of Online Transparency

The Godfather of DIY Punk says that the internet has opened up new worlds of instantaneous communication, and new opportunities for media and governments to obscure and evade the truth.   

Henry Rollins is a champion of self-reliance and autodidacticism. These days, the self-educated person is an endangered species. We recognize the power of self-directed learning in historical heroes like Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln, but in 2012 America institutional education (preferably through graduate school) seems almost mandatory. 

What’s the Big Idea? 

But what school often fails to teach is the ability to think for yourself and outside of the social and political system it serves. This is especially problematic at a time when the explosion of blogs and information sources online has seriously muddied the journalistic waters. Readers today are subjected to a barrage of opinion, misinformation, and disinformation, and it’s up to us to sort it all out. For this we need highly sophisticated critical faculties and a healthy dose of skepticism.

Unable to afford college without taking on massive debt, Rollins had no real choice but to self-educate. Since early adulthood he has set his own curriculum, reading diligently and widely, and – perhaps because he left the system early – has never viewed education as something that ends the moment you enter the working world. 

Rollins – the kind of self-taught expert on truth-testing that everyone in this increasingly decentralized world needs to become – argues that the internet has opened up amazing new channels of communication, and that it has also opened the floodgates for new forms of moral cowardice and evasion of the truth. 

Henry Rollins on the myth of online transparency

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