Whilst I have been idly traipsing around Europe the world appears to have woken up slightly in regards to the freedom which we don’t have. It’s apparent that the vast majority of human beings are completely unaware of the censorship which surrounds us. The catalyst(s) of this knee jerk reaction have been a number of bills which intend to redefine the golden age of technology in which we live, all with absurdist acronyms (my favourite being PIPA – which has more interesting connotations in a number of languages) designed to obscure the view of an ordinary man behind extremely broad legal bullshit.
Since the dawn of organised authority censorship has existed in one way or another. You only have to look as far as the best-selling book of all time. For around 1,000 years ordinary people were banned from reading the bible. From 500 ad to 1500 ad, average Joe was not permitted to read the bible. And it didn’t stop there. In 1536 a man named William Tyndale was strangled to death while tied to a stake and then his body was burned for being a heretic. His crime. Printing 6,000 copies of the bible in English. I am not intentionally trying to compare the internet to the bible. The point I am trying to make is that censorship has always existed in one shape or form. The problem is that we only notice it when we see it at close range.
In the UK you are not free to write what you want. If you write erotic fiction which the courts deem as not possessing sufficient literary merit you are liable for prosecution. Thankfully all judges have to take a mandatory phd in English Literature. In the UK the censorship of the theatre was only abolished in 1968. As late as 1977 blasphemy was a criminal offence. The Terrorism act of 2000 makes it illegal to collect or possess information likely to be of use to a terrorist. Does that mean Prince William’s Grandmother never tells him where she is going tomorrow? Is the boy scout who knows that rubbing two sticks together makes a fire a terrorist? The Terrorism act of 2006 makes it an offence to glorify terrorism. Unless of course you are making a film about it or standing for government.
It was only ever going to be a matter of time before governments starting glancing nervously at the internet. For me personally the evil in these bills has nothing to do with piracy or copyright infringement. The Arab spring has proved why the internet must be protected. Censorship in so many countries has kept people under control. The internet has given them freedom. The internet has been a tool which has enabled people to fight for their own freedom.
I cannot for the life of me understand why a Western democratic government would put their name to any of these bills. When our politicians sent our young men to die in Afghanistan they said it was to bring freedom to the people of Afghanistan. They said the same when they went to Iraq. They bombed Libya for the freedom of the people. It’s apparent that in the world in which we live the way to give people freedom is to kill, bomb and maim. Our governments talk of the great freedoms we enjoy yet suddenly they want to restrict our freedom of speech. Only such a grand contradiction could exist freely in the 21st century. Undoubtedly this blatant dishonesty only serves to make our leaders look like a bunch of (*this comment was deleted by SOPA,PIPA and ACTA. Instead here is the word FUZZY WUZZY BUNNY RABBITS written in block capitals.)
Censorship is a reaction of the nervous, and I for one cannot think of any reason why our leaders might be…. aside from the three words which they have been blasting at us day and night in a veiled attempt to prepare us for the worst. I will give you a clue. It has absolutely nothing to do with a Global Economic Crisis.
And seeing as I have written a post which mentions copyright infringement I best leave you with a quote. The words in question belong to a Dane who is starting to interest me more and more as time goes by. His name is Soren Kierkegaard.
People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.