Citizen disempowerment

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Overview

Citizen disempowerment is an ongoing, unofficial campaign by many governments (including that of the United States) to reduce the ability of citizens to act independently without special authority. It is the opposite of citizen empowerment, and overlaps to a large extent with the war on individuality. need to work out how they are different

The war on the internet is also largely directed at disempowering citizens.

Motivations

Members of the protector caste – and their superiors in government – tend to act in such a way as to reinforce existing authority, often actively preventing ordinary citizens from helping, leading to a less beneficial outcome overall. more needed on this

Examples

  • In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, ordinary citizens were often prevented from rescuing themselves and others; those who succeeded were in some cases punished for circumstantially trivial violations of law.
  • It is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain basic chemicals such as those found in chemistry sets and used in fields such as soap-making and candlemaking, making it increasingly difficult for individuals to manufacture these items for themselves and thus continuing the trend of making citizens increasingly dependent on mass-manufactured goods (this is also part of the war on individuality). This was highlighted by the discontinuance of Red Devil lye, a grocery store fixture for many decades, in 2005.
  • Ever-increasing regulations surrounding the sale and possession of basic chemicals has had a strong chilling effect on both teaching and research in chemistry.
    • 2006-02 Don't Try This at Home by Steve Silberman: "Garage chemistry used to be a rite of passage for geeky kids. But in their search for terrorist cells and meth labs, authorities are making a federal case out of DIY science." (related)
      • "With his eye-popping demonstrations and low-key midwestern manner, Mr. Wizard (Don Herbert) gave generations of future scientists and teachers the confidence to perform experiments at home. In 1999, [a couple of entrepreneurs tried] to re-create the chemistry set Herbert marketed almost 50 years ago. ... [However], few of the items in Mr. Wizard's cabinet could be included in the product. 'Unfortunately, we found that more than half the chemicals were illegal to sell to children because they’re considered dangerous.' By the time the [new] Mr. Wizard Science Set appeared in stores, it came with balloons, clay, Super Balls, and just five chemicals, including laundry starch, which was tagged with an ominous warning: HANDLE CAREFULLY. NOT EXPECTED TO BE A HEALTH HAZARD."
    • 2005-09-19 It's Not a Lye!: "When I read it, I didn't believe it! Red Devil Lye has been discontinued! For those of you who are just candle makers, not soap makers, this would be akin to wicks being discontinued. Without lye, there is no soap!"

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