There are many topics which I have sat down to write about and find that they are sitting unused as drafts. Why? Because I realized that in order to do so I would end up referencing organizations and people that take pleasure in monitoring the communications of everybody on the planet, use government agencies to harass and attack political opponents and put 5 year olds on no fly lists as suspected terrorists. If children can be put on such lists what kind of list could an adult be placed on? The kind that gets you strip searched with a complimentary rectal exam, or maybe the kind that gets you sent to the lovely Guantanamo resort and country club in Cuba? Forever.
More and more writers and commentators have expressed how genuinely concerned they are at how the powers that be will respond to their musings and speak of actually having not written about somethings out of fear of some sort of reprisal. This is frightening to think of. If this trend is not reversed, it could eventually lead to the stifling of truth itself and the creep of government oppression over the lives of not only ourselves but our children.
Recently in the US congress Nancy Pelosi and others have pushed for a bill that, in the name of protecting the media and their sources from laws that they have passed, would actually determine who can be called a member of ‘legitimate’ press and be eligible to be protected under the first amendment which, I quote, “is guaranteed to every citizen of the US.”
the first amendment. the amendment that states explicitly that “congress shall pass no law abridging freedom of speech, or of the press….” Does anyone else see the irony of senator saying that the congress, in order to protect freedom of the press, must make a law to determine who is legitimately ‘press’? Surely to say that in order to be legitimate press you must have graduated from certain institutions or work for certain ‘media’ companies is to restrict a free press. It is to crush independent and alternative media.
According to the founding fathers anyone who could write and publish their writings was a reporter and was press. the freedom of such is necessary to keep the powers that be honest and in check just as the second amendment was necessary to keep the power of the state in check and to protect the exercise of the other amendments and rights.
Liberty can only exist in a balance. Liberty for the individual requires restriction of government authority by law but also self-governance or self-discipline on the part of the individual. Unrestricted government results in tyranny and oppression while unrestricted individualism results in societal anarchy which necessitates tyranny. In Canada the way government gets around the Constitution is by creating unelected Human Rights Tribunals. These inquisitorial panels are an indirect assault on freedom of expression by introducing nebulous hate crimes and defining unpopular or offensive speech as hate speech. How can one possibly speak out against something or someone if disagreement alone is considered hate? Unoffensive speech does not need an amendment.
So a sure sign of the death of liberty is when an individual who would, under normal circumstances, think nothing of speaking his/her mind under the protecting restriction of law now agonizes whether what he/she is about to say would bring some repercussions from offended government agencies or principles.
How much easier is the governments job if instead of reading everything to find objectionable ideas, they can create an atmosphere whereby people will limit their discourse to government approved thoughts?
So, what is it that I am afraid to say? It’s that