Citizen disempowerment

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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.


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


  • 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!"


Filed Links

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  • 2009-12-04 [Talk|Index] Are Americans Too Broken for the Truth to Set Us Free? § “Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not "set them free" but instead further demoralize them? Has such a demoralization happened in the United States?”
  • 2009-09-29 [Talk|Index] Hanging citizen journalists out to dry - shield-law amendment excludes unpaid bloggers § The Free Flow of Information Act is intended to prevent journalists from being forced to divulge confidential sources, except in cases such as witnessing crimes or acts of terrorism -- but specifically excludes citizen journalists (aka bloggers) from being considered as "journalists", and would enshrine this definition in federal law.
  • 2008-03-11 [Talk|Index] GoDaddy Silences Police-Watchdog Site § [2]“A new web service that lets users rate and comment on the uniformed police officers in their community is scrambling to restore service Tuesday, after hosting company GoDaddy unceremonious[ly] pulled the plug on the site in the wake of outrage from criticism-leery cops.”
  • 2007-06-07 [Talk|Index] America's War on Science § “The Consumer Product Safety Division has made it a point to outlaw chemicals that can be used to make illegal fireworks. Chemicals like sulfur and potassium perchlorate, that would have been standard issue in any lab experiment of yesteryear are now contraband. The CPSD, best known for its issuing of recalls for consumer goods, claims that this ban is in effect to reduce injuries from home made fireworks. The fact of the matter is that 98% of all firework related injuries are caused by off the shelf fireworks. All of this CPSD nonsense is to cut down on the other 2%.”
  • 2006-07-11 [Talk|Index] Officers arrest men for videotaping them § “On the day that Terri Schiavo died – victim of a court order condemning the brain-damaged woman to death by thirst and starvation – Representative Tom DeLay of Texas did what few politicians have the courage to do these days. He spoke his mind.”