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Does Technology Let The Loser Write Their History As Well?

September 24, 2010

In my last political science 101 discussion, we were trying to conclude if the winner was the one who always wrote the history books. If this is true, than certainly all judgements of morality can be thrown aside and we can only think in practicality. Obviously, Machiavelli would endorse this way of thinking. However another member of my class (I must give credit where credit is due) brought up a very interesting exception to the rule of the victors writing history.

This person stated that technology and new social media (cell phones, facebook, twitter, etc.) has created greater accessibility for any party in a conflict to better share their side of the story. Do these new innovations really negate Machiavelli’s arguments? I would argue yes. Just look at the Iranian election riots that started the summer of 2009.

After the reelection of Iranian president Mohamoud Ahmadinejad, protests began to spring up in support of the more moderate, pro-democratic, opposition candidate. Sporting green as the color or resistance, these protesters were able to send their message out using cell phone pictures and videos, twitter, and facebook. While the state of Iran has an incredible power of coercion and punishment, and the government banned the use of such technology and media presence during the protests, the resistance was able to overcome all this. The protests were eventually stopped, the actions of the pro-democratic riots in Iran serve as a perfect example of how a loser, using new technology and social media, can overpower a more dominant state.

4 Comments
  1. Kyle Bartrem permalink
    September 26, 2010 8:02 PM

    Does Technology Let The Loser Write Their History As Well?

    No, just because innovations and technological advances have enabled people all over the world to express their opinions to the masses, such technology does not accredit any of this opinions. Yes, technology allows everyones opinion to be heard, teenagers can get on facebook and let thousands of people know what they’re thinking about, and yet whether or not this information is taking into account depends on the audience. Unfortunately, we are trained to disregard information that our brain determines to be useless to us, so unless we see one of our favorite athletes or politicians making a statement about a political issue, we will probably disregard the opinion entirely.

  2. crorey permalink
    September 28, 2010 1:17 PM

    The loser does now have the ability to express their point of view, but what credibility do they actually have? The question now is how much credibility the loser actually has. Germany can’t complain about how we demanded retribution and didn’t help with their economic struggles, partly because they had no credibility by most other countries.

  3. taylorfields permalink
    September 28, 2010 1:46 PM

    Your idea that technology can allow losers to influence history as well as the victors is interesting, but sadly unrealistic. Their movements-such as the example you gave with the Iranian election- will be news headlines but temporary moments in the spotlight. They, 50, 100, 500 years from now will not be remembered. Rather the victors will go down in the history books, the losers movement forgotten regardless of the technology they utilized.

  4. blanchc permalink
    October 6, 2010 10:49 AM

    While I disagree that technology allows losers to have a real impact on the history books, I do believe that technology and social media certainly influence current events, which may influence who these so-called “winners” are. For example, many people have attributed Barack Obama’s victorious campaign to his successful use of social media and technology. So, while at the end of the day the winners will probably always be able to distort history in their own way, the history that they are distorting is certainly impacted by modern technology.

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