The Digital Dissenters
For the first time in man's history, freedom of speech has truly transpired, though it is in the non-corporeal ether of the Internet. No Government, no Corporation, no individual is capable of censoring the denziens of the digital world. This is due to the Net's decentralization. Servers like pinpricks of light form a vast nervous system of binary electricity that stretches across the derma of this planet. From Paris to Beijing, from New York to Mombassa no thought can be stopped, if it is blotted out on one one server, it flits to another in a distant country.
We take this freedom for granted, a gentle amnesia wraps around us as we type of dream and taboo. We would do well to remember that it was not always like this, it will not always be like this.
So, what should we remember about our freedom of speech in order not to become complaisant.
What should we remember so that we are not clothed in the newspeak of the state, which tells us we are free while they manufacture the plastic cuffs that hold us down when our coporeal mouths voice dissent?
Here are a few of the words that I remember.
“The state can't give you free speech, and the state can't take it away. You're born with it, like your eyes, like your ears. Freedom is something you assume, then you wait for someone to try to take it away. The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free...”
— Utah Phillips
“You cannot put a rope around the neck of an idea; you cannot put an idea up against the barrack-square wall and riddle it with bullets; you cannot confine it in the strongest prison cell your slaves could ever build.”
— Sean O'Casey
“If large numbers of people believe in Free Speech, there will be freedom of speech”
— George Orwell
“Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.”
— Howard Zinn
“..it does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority to set brush fires in people's minds.”
— Samuel Adams
“The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”
— Stephen Biko
“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”
— Ben Franklin
Peace and Hope