The third in Margaret Anna Alice’s series about democide and dictatorship. From Margaret Anna Alice at margaretannaalice.substack.com:
Part 3: Yuval Noah Harari: Not the Man We Think He Is?
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.… To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”
Given the zest with which Yuval Noah Harari pontificates about global digital surveillance dictatorships, you may be inclined to think he is advocating these scenarios. When you see the context that has been excised from these clips, however, it becomes clear he is actually warning against such nightmarish outcomes.
As enticing as it is to paint Harari as a diabolical mastermind, it requires a dismissal of the unexpurgated footage in which he reflects on how we can veer off the nearly inevitable path to totalitarian dystopia.1
He frequently suggests, for example, that engineering and computer science programs incorporate an ethics curriculum, and he recommends books such as Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality & Threatens Democracy, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, and Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism.