Wikipedia - A Metaphor For Revolutionaries Clamoring for Authoritarianism?

The website IFL has a great story about Wikipedia that serves as a great metaphor for what usually happens in those revolutions so coveted by socialists, Marxists and Communists.  In those revolutions (for example, the Cuban revolution) the revolutionaries tell the people they're going to deliver them to the promised land - freedom, economic "justice" and the usual bromides offered by the deceitful.  Citing a new study in the open-access journal Future Internet, the online community of Wikipedia has become an “oligarchy,” where a select few elite editors hold all of the power and influence – no different to the systems of governments and corporations it was trying to get away from.

Wikipedia, not known for its accuracy, is a great example of how "revolutions" eventually devolve into the revolutionaries holding onto power to the detriment of the people the revolution was going liberate.  The one exception to this rule is the American revolution and the reasons for our revolution being an exception is a topic for another day.

According to one of the authors:

Speaking to Gizmodo, one of the lead authors, Simon DeDeo said: “You start with a decentralized democratic system, but over time you get the emergence of a leadership class with privileged access to information and social networks.”

He added, “Their interests begin to diverge from the rest of the group. They no longer have the same needs and goals. So not only do they come to gain the most power within the system, but they may use it in ways that conflict with the needs of everybody else.”

The researchers said their findings suggests that Wikipedia has fallen to the “Iron Law of Oligarchy.” This piece of political theory was developed in 1911 by Robert Michels to describe the idea that power will eventually and inevitably become concentrated among a select few individuals in every organization, regardless of how equal and democratic they start off.

When asked why this research was important, DeDeo explained, “We need to understand how these systems work if we’re going to understand how the economy of the future will run. They don’t have laws, they have traditions and norms” 

This "Iron Law of Oligarchy" accounts for much of the anger in the American electorate toward the ruling class.  But the lesson we should learn is this - you can be angry, but be careful how you direct that anger.  Clamoring for an authoritarian figure to disrupt the status quo is simply falling prey to proclivities of revolutions to eventually imprison the people in tyranny.

Authoritarian nationalism is moving through America, just as it moved through Wikipedia.  

And you see how well that worked out for Wikipedia.