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September 27, 2017

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, by John Perry Barlow

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , — mikewb1971 @ 11:27 pm

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

by John Perry Barlow <barlow@eff.org>

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.

You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.

You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don’t exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract. This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.

Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.

Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.

Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge. Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.

In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.

You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.

In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.

Davos, Switzerland


NOTES

  1. Original article
  2. On Freenet

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January 31, 2011

Egyptian Tea Party

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 1:33 am

Egyptian Tea Party
By L. Neil Smith [ lneil@netzero.com ]
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

“They’re rioting in Africa,” as Sheldon Harnick put it, “la la la la la la la … “

As usual, what few, tiny scraps of solid information we receive fresh, at the very beginning of monumental events – before vested interests begin to cover up or distort the truth – is accompanied by plenty of disinformation, deliberate or otherwise, and above all, contradiction.

Suddenly Egypt, an erstwhile ally which, only days ago, seemed to be among the stablest, most modern nation-state in the Middle East, is on fire with noisy protest and violent rebellion, just like Tunisia, Yemen, possibly Syria, and potentially (one can only hope) Saudi Arabia.

As longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak struggles for his political – and probably his literal – life, he’s making all of the usual authoritarian mistakes, as well as inventing a few new ones. He has used his equivalent of the “kill-switch” that Barack Obama aches to have so badly (and let this be a lesson to us), to shut down his country’s Internet providers and cell phone service – which might have helped to coordinate the popular rebellion and keep it relatively peaceful.

He has declared curfews. His army has filled the streets of Cairo with tanks and water-cannon and is injuring and killing people while looting storefronts and vandalizing what may be the most important museums in the world – in an attempt, it’s said, to intimidate the opposition – while the police strip off their uniforms and join the protests. That, plus the widespread character of these events – not just in the capital, but in many other cities of Egypt – tell me that Mubarak is finished and so are a great many other of the planet’s despots.

The Old Media – not to mention Hillary Clinton’s comic relief State Department – apparently don’t have a clue what’s really going on. Conservative talk radio already assumes that the whole thing has been orchestrated by militant “Islamists”, in particular, the 80-year-old Muslim Brotherhood. Whenever you see that word, mentally remove the first R to get a clearer picture if what they’re really up to.

The Botherhood of Man is gonna gitcha if you don’t look out.

But I digress.

America’s home grown would-be dictators clearly believe “It can’t happen here”, as demonstrated by their reactions – dazed at first, then hysterical – to the far gentler rise of the Tea Parties and the results of the 2010 election, which they are trying to believe never happened. They’ve spent all of their time since, not changing so that they won’t be despised any more, but trying to shut their critics up by destroying talk radio and requiring individuals to have Internet permits.

They are mistaken. Thanks to so-called progressives and their pet media provoking it, America today is teetering on the brink of civil war.

Out of sheer habit, if nothing else, it is very difficult not make the same mistake as the pundits and politicians. As Robert A. Heinlein observed, every revolution is a freak. By definition there can be no rules to govern or even understand them, and we must avoid thinking collectively about them. There are as many reasons to rebel as there are rebels, and that’s the only important truth we’ll ever glean from them.

It’s also very difficult to say from what we know now, and I could easily be wrong (I have been before), but it seems to me that this is not a fundamentalist uprising like we saw in Iran a generation ago – although the fundamentalists are desperately trying to co-opt it – but an essentially secular revolt by the productive class against both fundamentalism and the fascist management states that dominate the region.

If I’m right about the character of the Middle Eastern revolt, and the right-wing pundits are wrong, there’s a way to tell. Iran, if not the source of the rebellion, will be one of the next dominoes to fall to it. Iran, too, is teetering on the brink. Most people there want to junk fundamentalism, join the 21st century, and the women are getting tired of wearing those damn silly clothes. What do they want? Just at a guess, all of those things we’ve come to take for granted in the West: freedom, peace, progress, and prosperity, with an emphasis on freedom.

The Age of Authority is coming to an end.

The Age of the Individual is dawning.


NOTES

  1. Original article
  2. Reposted –
    1. KCUF Media – Xanga / Yahoo!
    2. The Weekly Sedition


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