Abstract - The Information Society 12(3)

Cybercowboys on the new frontier: Freedom, nationalism, and imperialism in the postmodern era

John Carlos Rowe

In Cyberspace and the American Dream: A Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age (1995), Dyson, Gilder, Keyworth, and Toffler argue passionately for new government regulatory practices in communications, new laws to adjudicate and protect rights to informational property, and a general reconceptualization of social and political life in terms of the "Third Wave" economy. Like other libertarian arguments, Cyberspace repeatedly confuses the individual with the people, assuming that civil rights and individual rights are the same thing. Such a strategic confusion is designed by the authors to reaffirm US nationalism of the sort that was invented primarily to legitimate the Second Wave economy they argue is on the verge of extinction. The social philosophy endorsed by these libertarians d iffers little from the liberal progressivism of 19th-century industrial America and threatens to repeat all of the sins committed in the era in the name of progress and individual rights.

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