Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blogs, Freedom of Speech, and Threats to the Status Quo

This is - interesting.
"Will Washington's Failures Lead To Second American Revolution? "
Ernest S. Christian & Gary A. Robbins, Perspective, Investors Business Daily blog (July 30, 2010)

"The Internet is a large-scale version of the 'Committees of Correspondence' that led to the first American Revolution — and with Washington's failings now so obvious and awful, it may lead to another.

"People are asking, 'Is the government doing us more harm than good? Should we change what it does and the way it does it?'

"Pruning the power of government begins with the imperial presidency...."

"...Bill Clinton lowered the culture, moral tone and strength of the nation — and left America vulnerable to attack. When it came, George W. Bush stood up for America, albeit sometimes clumsily...."
The bloggers' view of America's current administration is somewhat less than favorable: understandably, in a publication devoted in part to the idea that owning private property is okay.

The bulk of the post concerns economic issues which I believe are important, but which fall outside the purview of this blog. The point of interest, for Another War-on-Terror Blog, is in the first paragraph:
"The Internet is a large-scale version of the 'Committees of Correspondence' that led to the first American Revolution — and with Washington's failings now so obvious and awful, it may lead to another...."
(July 30, 2010)
Before writing what I think about the Internet, information gatekeepers, and change, a few points:
  • This is not a political blog
    • I occasionally discuss politics because that's how America selects its leaders
    • I am not "for" or "against" the president
      • Particular policies are another matter
  • I do not call for the overthrow of the American government
    • That would be
      • Illegal
      • Messy
      • Likely to give us something even less acceptable

What are Information Gatekeepers? Why are They So Upset?

I've discussed this before:
...According to Princeton's WordNet, an gatekeeper is literally a doorkeeper or doorman: someone who guards an entrance. "Gatekeeper" may also be used as a metaphor:
"gatekeeper (someone who controls access to something) 'there are too many gatekeepers between the field officers and the chief' "
(Princeton's WordNet)
So, an "information gatekeeper" is someone who controls access to information.

Information Gatekeepers in America

For several generations, the traditional information gatekeepers in American culture included
  • Newspaper editors
  • Teachers and organizations of teachers
  • Leaders of colleges and universities
  • Entertainment industry executives
  • Publishers of books and magazines
There are others, like politicians and military leaders - but I'm inclined to think, "...if you will let me write the songs of a nation, I care not who makes its laws...."1

A problem I see with America's traditional information gatekeepers is that, by the 20th century, a very small group of people had a great deal of control over what the rest of us were allowed to know. I don't think this was (entirely) intentional....
(August 14, 2009)
That's the way it was for most of the latter part of the 20th century. Then people started using the Internet, and now we've got blogs - including this one - publishing ideas that haven't been approved by America's traditional information gatekeepers.

I don't mind the way things are, in terms of freedom of speech: but I'm not part of America's established order, either. My ideas are not politically correct: I even think it's okay for people to use dangerous technology like guns, LP gas and computers. (June 27, 2008)

I think America's traditional information gatekeepers are very concerned that people like me are free to share ideas with others.

They should be.

It seems that many folks who are not part of America's power structure now realize that they're not the only ones who are fed up with the status quo.

Back in the 'good old days,' it was possible to convince many - perhaps most - folks who didn't entirely agree with the establishment's way of thinking that their only allies were inarticulate crackpots. (A Catholic Citizen in America (April 1, 2010))

Today, not so much. Some bloggers are crackpots. Some aren't - and there isn't any way of making sure that anti-establishment ideas are presented almost exclusively by crackpots.

No wonder folks in the establishment are concerned.

Saving a Spunky Girl Reporter, Retaining Our Freedom

At least, America doesn't have a way of filtering what "the masses" see on the Internet - yet. That may change.

Earlier this week, a attractive ESPN reporter made an emotional appeal for the government to do something about those awful people on the Internet. (Apathetic Lemming of the North (July 29, 2010)

She's got a point. What happened to her wasn't right. Stalking is a bad thing, and people shouldn't do it.

But I'm very concerned that, months before an election, an attractive young woman makes an emotional cry for help - pleading that the government save her from nasty people online.

As I said, she's got a point: existing laws against stalking should be enforced, and perhaps the penalties are insufficient.

But that's not what she asked for.
"...She said, 'If somebody could think of something, I mean, they'd be a hero because, you know, there's just a lot of stuff that needs to be policed; that needs to be looked at. No one's held accountable for what they put on the Internet.'..."
(Erin Andrews, quoted on CNS News, via Apathetic Lemming of the North (July 29, 2010))
'Will no-one save her?!' My concern that the American Congress will rush to rescue this fair damsel - and set up regulations that will keep unsavory characters away from the American public.

Unsavory characters like stalkers, terrorists, and Ron Paul supporters.

Related posts:Baqckground:


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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.