Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Here is an urgent and meaningful defense of the right to free speech. It seems quite applicable to our own country, though the author is writing from Scotland. I urge you to consider the arguments at The Woolamaloo Gazette.

I recently read Russka -- or the first part of it, anyway -- for a book club. I found the viewpoint of a character who seemed glad to style himself "the slave of the tsar" completely alien. Much weirder than a Klingon, Vulcan or Ferengi. Why would you want to yield your individuality to an autocrat? The tsar in question, Ivan, went on to kill vast numbers of his own people, as Stalin would do later. Which comes first -- being willing to accept a bad leader, or getting one?

Yes, there are situations in which it is right to follow. But how many people who have posted those "Freedom isn't free" bumper stickers have realized that we must equally resist our own government when it is oppressive as fight against other nations who threaten us. The American Revolution _was_ a resistance against our own government at the time. It has taken popular action at personal risk to obtain the civil freedoms we hold dear. And it may require a price for us to continue to enjoy them.