THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
– Thomas Paine, The Crisis, December 23, 1776
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"
– Esther 4:14
These are interesting times. Under President Obama and the most liberal Congress since 1965, the United States government is expected to borrow a trillion dollars per year for the next decade while the size and power of our federal government will grow at the expense of our liberties.
In this environment, Democrats in Congress are working on a bill to give President Obama emergency control of the Internet (S.773) which would permit the President to seize control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency. Meanwhile, the President has appointed Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor, to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Prof. Sunstein support controls on free speech on the Internet. He views the Web as a Wild Wild West that needs taming and wants new laws to corral wayward bloggers. His book, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
(not to be confused with Noodge) urges employing the force of government to make us all better persons (“New Soviet Man
” anyone?). In his latest work, On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done
, the Harvard professor, now top Information apparatchik, worries about “...institutions (being) harmed by the rapid spread of damaging falsehoods via the Internet.”
Of course, one man’s “falsehoods” might be another man’s facts. Czar Sunstein’s extreme concern likely grows out of his acute understanding that our postmodern President
simply speaks reality into existence; words are
reality in the Obama White House.
Into this breach come the bloggers. There are about 120 million blogs today. Many of them are political, most are not.
America’s political bloggers trace their heritage, their place in the body politic, to the Colonial era. Most of today’s political bloggers would have been quite comfortable defying the British Stamp Act of 1765, were they around 244 years ago. The Stamp Act was designed to impose government content control on the then 23 newspapers which served about two million Colonialists. Not one Colonial newspaper bought the properly stamped paper. In fact, the political content of the papers increased, to the alarm of the British authorities. On the eve of the Revolution, there were 31 papers in the Colonies, by the time of the Constitution’s ratification, there were 92, and by 1835, there were 1,200 newspapers serving 15 million Americans.
Political bloggers became a force to be reckoned with in 2002 with Sen. Trent Lott’s comments on Sen. Strom Thurmond and again in 2004, when Little Green Footballs
took down Dan Rather and Mary Mapes (ironically, Mapes writes for the Huffington Post
now) over CBS’ airing of forged Air National Guard documents purporting to show that President George W. Bush avoided service in Vietnam.
With many blogs attracting more readers than daily newspapers while newspaper circulation plummets and experienced journalists are being laid off, we can see why Professor Czar Sunstein is worried – no longer do like-minded liberals in the major media have a lock on what passes for truth in the news. (This brings to mind the cynical critique of the former Soviet Union’s main papers, Tass
(News) and Pravda
(Truth) “Ni pravda Tass
. Ni tass Pravda
“There is no truth
and there is no news
There’s a certain urgency in today’s blogosphere – an understanding that we are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history. Conservative bloggers, mostly unpaid – concerned moms, talented lawyers, activist students – are acting as a potent counterforce against the attempted rapid remaking of America under Pres. Obama’s direction. As such, today’s bloggers are the most visible manifestation of the Conservative Movement. And this, as the Republican Party largely tracks aimlessly in opposition to President Obama, but without any apparent objective, other than to regain power for power’s sake in numb repetition of the errors of 2006 and 2008.
Were Thomas Paine and Alexander Hamilton (Publius
) around today, they would surely be blogging right alongside the likes of the paid and unpaid authors of NRO’s The Corner
, Michelle Malkin
, Hot Air
, Big Government
, Big Hollywood
, Flopping Aces
, Infidels are Cool
, Riehl World View
, Red County
, Ace of Spades HQ
, Right Wing News
, and many others
Let the blogs bloom, for they have come for such a time as this.