Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Don't Get Cocky, Kid

In the flush of victory after victory, bloggers ought to pay attention to an ancient history. Dramatic episodes of free exchange and freedom are often followed by equally dramatic episodes of repression. Fifth century Athens was such an explosion. Once the enemies of freedom knocked them down, Athens never recovered its position as a center of enlightened thought and action. Glen Reynolds, the author of An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths, is clear-eyed about this.

I've been writing about Internet free speech for a long time in Internet years. I've written about the new communications media's effect on old media, the challenge it poses to dictators, and its effect on U.S. elections. But the truest thing I've ever written on the subject was this: You want to keep this media revolution going? Be ready to fight for it...That's been brought home by events both abroad, and in the United States...Abroad, we've seen the World Summit on the Information Society, held in Tunisia....

Bloggers and lovers of freedom should study this piece by Reynolds and do some serious thinking about the future of the Blogosphere. Whether Senators McCain and Clinton, the UN, or big commercial interests, opponents of individual, independent reporting and opinion are varied, numerous, and powerful. Franklin's admonition bears repeating in a slightly different context: "We have a republic; now let's see if we can keep it."


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