Precinct 333

Saturday, March 19, 2005

An Oath Of Defiance

There has been much discussion lately regarding the possibility of the FCC attempting to regulate blogs as political contributions under McCain/Feingold. This would have the effect of eliminating political speech on the internet during the weeks leading up to elections.

Let's set aside the fact that this is blatantly unconstitutional. Heck, the whole McCain/Feingold speech suppression scheme is unconstitutional, but has been upheld by the Supreme Court anyway. In short, the courts are not going to protect us, the Congress isn't going to protect us, and the FEC is part of the executive branch so that tells you the likelihood of help from that part of the government. In other words, all three branches of government are arrayed against the free speech rights in the blogosphere. Ain't no help coming -- the only thing available to us is the personal decision on compliance or defiance, and our mutual solidarity.

Patterico has called upon bloggers to sign on to the following statement.

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.

I wholeheartedly subscribe to it, but find it a bit bland as a rallying cry. Doc Rampage has a much more colorful version of the pledge.

I'll stop blogging when I've got nothing more to say. Or when I move somewhere that I don't have Internet service. Or when I get bored with it. Or if I find something else I like better. Or something like that. But I stand firm on this! I shall not stop blogging just because someone passes a law telling me to. Screw you.

That comes a bit closer to my point of view, and I wholeheartedly subscribe to that formulation as well. My problem with this version is that it is, like so much of the internet, very individualistic. That's great, because we each need to make our decision as an individual, but I still find myself looking at it as being centered on the self and not the greater good. There is not solidarity in either of the two oaths -- each of us is, in effect, a rugged individual going it alone. Unfortunately, that independence makes us easy to pick off. We need to be banded together for mutual support.

That said, I propose the following, and ask others to offer constructive criticism. If you like it, please sign on to it.

We are the blogosphere, brothers and sisters, friends and foes, united together in support of freedom. We are diverse voices united in the pursuit of a multiplicity of goals and ideals, based upon our many divergent sets of beliefs and principles. Despite our differences, we together hold firm to this single unifying principle -- freedom of speech is the cornerstone of liberty, and we reject as tyranny efforts by any entity, be it religious, economic, political, or governmental, to regulate or forbid the free exchange of ideas on the internet. We pledge to resist, to the best of our respective abilities, any regulatory scheme which seeks to inhibit or prevent the publication or dissemination of facts and opinions on any matter of public concern, and promise our support to one another in that resistance. We are the blogosphere, and we will not be silenced.

And don't worry, folks, you will not be assimilated.


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