Robust democracy and free speech for all

Civilization's best defensive measures against war, terrorism, technological stagnation, and economic ruin

A Presentation of jrm&aFLUX

by J.R. Mooneyham
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B. Support the spread of robust democracy and free speech across the globe, for everyone.

Remember both these things mean taking the bad with the good. Just because a country is a democracy doesn't mean it'll automatically like us or others. Especially if it's a new born democracy, in a largely illiterate region which has been effectively plundered by our own people or businesses for decades or centuries in the recent past. Yikes! It's true, folks. We (USAmerica and other developed countries today) are far from perfect, and have done plenty of things to be ashamed of-- just like most all other nations in the world. We usually put our own interests ahead of anyone else's, as is human nature. And wherever we've been bigger, stronger, or felt smarter than another state, we've often bullied them as well. So we've got to expect plenty of mistrust and anger and belligerence from some of the other nations in the world. We've got to make our way into a peaceful and prosperous future with these folks the hard way-- by earning it. There'll be plenty of bumps along the way-- but suffering all of them will be infinitely preferable to the entire world going over a cliff, into chaos or extinction.

The historical record indicates that democracies don't go to war with one another nearly as often as other sorts of states. And in true, mature democracies governance and economic power is spread over the entire population well enough to usually prevent many other extremes in sum behavior as well-- which is almost always a good thing for everyone.

Of course, there's lots of factors involved in baking a peaceful and prosperous democracy. As of late 2001, even our brightest minds might not realize all the complexities involved. Look at how difficult it's been for the USA and Europe to help Russia make the switch from communism to a capitalist democracy. But free speech seems to definitely be one of the most important ingredients.

Like democracy, free speech means taking the bad with the good. Free speech means others have a right to publically express their opinions or observations, and sometimes those opinions will be things we definitely don't want to hear. No matter. If you don't allow the bad stuff to be aired, you won't have any good stuff either, pretty damn soon.

Free speech is a major support pillar of true democracies, individual freedoms and civil rights, and economic opportunity. Allow free speech to be squelched and you might as well forget about having a true democracy. Squeeze free speech enough worldwide, and you lose true democracy worldwide. As of late 2001 it appears both free speech and true democracy are under the most severe threats not from war or terrorism, but from their own native governments, and multi-national corporations which operate within their borders. A tiny handful of giant corporations are managing to buy up all the major media sources worldwide, thereby turning them more into public relations and merchandising channels rather than distributors of objective news and information. At the same time many governments are delightedly seizing upon new technological breakthroughs to realize goals of ubiquitous surveillance and tighter control of their citizenry that could only have been dreamed of in previous decades.

"Americans ... need to watch what they say..."
-- White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, 2001

-- White House whitewashers By Jake Tapper;; Sept. 27, 2001

Ari Fleischer's stunning comment was missing from the official transcript afterwards, though the White House said that was due to an error. As of October 4th however the transcript still hadn't been corrected.

-- Spin-Off by Ryan Lizza; The New Republic; Posted date 10.04.01; Issued date 10.15.01

-- Rhetoric Check By Josh Gerstein; Oct. 11, 2001

Among other things free speech offers to individuals the opportunity for financial or other advancement if sufficient others find your speech entertaining or enlightening; it also offers protection for the public from shoddy merchandise or services, and poor or incompetent management of governments, companies, and institutions; for such is much more readily and sooner exposed where free speech is present, than where it is not.

Thus, true free speech is to democracies what canaries once were in mining operations-- an early warning mechanism against dangerous excesses or depletions in both natural and man-made environments.

What's worse, the corporate giants and modern governments are increasingly seeing much commonality in their goals of controlling public perceptions, and synchronizing their actions in ways reminiscent of the worst combinations of church and state in past ages. Nations like USAmerica essentially wrote into their Constitution a wall of separation between church and state centuries ago-- but today it appears a similar separation between business and state is necessary too. Even some churches are now using the business/state loophole to get around the the church/state barrier.

Unfortunately for we Americans, we don't presently have a Constitutional protection against business and government convergence, and it looks unlikely we'll get one anytime soon.

"We're in the worst possible time to have to rely on our government to do the right thing. Government has been captured..."
-- Lawrence Lessig, 2001

-- The Accidental Activist by Brendan I. Koerner; March 20, 2001;

Thus, George Orwell's scary vision in his book "1984" may still come to pass during our lifetimes. Maybe sooner than we expect. If that does occur, it'll likely lead to a new Dark Ages from which we'll never be able to emerge, due to the super advanced technological tools arrayed against us. A tiny, powerful elite will bask in awesome levels of luxury and technology, while everyone else toils in obscurity and relative poverty. Human civilization will stagnate, and due to its increasingly frail and vulnerable state, eventually fall prey to one of any number of ills, to finally revert to a pre-industrial society. Sometime after that, it'll likely revert still further, to the anarchy of the beasts. Extinction will be a blessing, in that scenario.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face--forever."

-- George Orwell, in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, circa 1,949 AD

-- Journey to the Center of Jules Verne by EDWIN STEPP

To see more about how young technological civilizations like ours may usually bring about their own doom rather than salvation, please refer to The rise and fall of star faring civilizations.

To see more about the ultimate stuggle between good and evil through which perhaps all technological civilizations must ultimately pass, please refer to Ragnarok: The war for our destiny.

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The above article(s) come from and make references to a collection copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 by J.R. Mooneyham (except where otherwise noted in the text). Text here explicitly authored by J.R. Mooneyham may be freely copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes in paper and electronic form without charge if this copyright paragraph and link to are included.

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