Should the government shut down Steam, Netflix and Spotify?

Should the government shut down Steam, Netflix and Spotify?

Consequentialism is fun and intellectually stimulating. I’m not *really* making the case for this governmental overreach, but the mental exploration of the argument can reveal some interesting aspects about our society. From an entertainment standpoint, internet based services such as gaming platform Steam, movie and series content hub Netflix and music streaming service Spotify have provided mountains of enjoyment to millions upon millions of people. Through such services, people have access to a significantly greater library of content, than they could easily access beforehand. If we are only talking in terms of personal enjoyment, such services have been a great leap forward.

That being said, the draw on people’s valuable and limited time is also great. Many people spend hours upon hours using these services. They have in a sense become the modern equivalent of wasting hours channel hopping on the couch. While entertainment has become more effective, time sinks and time wasting have also improved markedly in efficiency. Being disengaged from the goings on in the body politic is easier than ever before. The alternatives to staying informed and engaged with the world are becoming more and more seductive. And in this lies the true danger of these services. The world and the West in particular is facing an existential threat in the form of demographic replacement.

For my own amusement I will refer to the collective of net-based entertainment services as the entertainment industrial complex. The escapism enabled has in a sense become weaponized. Politicians that depend on low-information voters rub their hands together with glee at this societal development. You need a great deal of self-control and discipline in order to focus and devote time to purveying the news and getting an accurate picture of what is really going on in the world. Many modern Western political systems are designed to resist radical change or change in an anti-establishment direction. The departmental bureaucracies and intricacies of governmental rules and procedures act as bulwarks against muchly needed change.

For change agents concerned about the current direction of the West, changing course is a momentous task. You not only need to get into power in the executive branch, you also need to overcome the legislative, judicial branch in addition to the establishment politician boot-licking media and finally the unofficial fourth branch of government, the bureaucratic empire. The effort and energy needed to push this change is sucked into the above-mentioned time sinks. If they were shut down, people would be “forced” to get up from the couch and get their fat asses in motion. Only a mass movement with significant numbers of people will be forceful enough to overcome the institutional inertia of the system.

We can thus make a consequentialist push for shutting down the entertainment industrial complex. Their goodies are the dessert that we aren’t entitled to until we eat the broccoli of political reform. Although, the people getting up from their couches might not be the people we want to join us in our efforts. Perhaps we are better served with having them pacified, rather than having them be captured by the siren song of low-information voter gullibility in the face of snakelike politicians with their empty promises.

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