I have been spending a lot of hours driving in the last couple of days as we are on a road trip to the kids’ summer camps. Inevitably when driving long distances my mind starts wandering. In particular I have been thinking about how political change has become so incredibly difficult.
We have big issues that we need to address but the political systems here and elsewhere mostly seem in a kind of stasis. Historically there were several opportunities for a new start as people migrated to new territories and set up new governments there. Now we no longer have new places to go to and neither space travel nor colonies at sea will make a big difference here any time soon.
On the other hand, the Internet has sometimes been referred to as a new continent. Yet all of us who consider ourselves citizens of the Internet are also citizens of specific countries and need to adhere to the rules of those countries. That’s a real dilemma as it doesn’t allow us to innovate politically in the same way.
But there is also be an opportunity here. The opportunity is to define what exactly it means to be a Citizen of the Internet. We need big and bold thinking here because for the first time we have more or less all of humanity connected to each other. So to be a Citizen of the Internet could and should mean to put the world and humanity first. Potentially people could start to identify themselves this way explicitly. If enough people do this and if they converge on a set of principles (both admittedly *HUGE* ifs), then the true declaration of Internet freedom would be written from the citizens perspective and not a note to law makers. It would declare our independence from our existing governments.
I suspect that it will require a crisis of epic global scale (sadly) to get people to take this perspective. And of course such a crisis will result in nations trying to flex their power. That’s why Citizens of the Internet is a movement that needs to gather momentum before such a crisis really hits.