>So, I’m not sure if 1984 is required reading in Jordan the way it is in American high schools, but of it isn’t, I think there are some folks who need to pick up a copy and see what the fuss is all about. For those of you who have not read this forward-thinking novel about mind control and government censorship, you should. It’s one of the few selections that was required reading that I think really should have been ;). Oh, and it didn’t bore me to death. So, here’s the thing… just because you can control what people say (through fear or intimidation or grey areas large enough to drive a semi-truck through) doesn’t mean you can control their thoughts. Really, it doesn’t.
In fact, I would stop and take a really hard look, were I in a position of authority, at what the effects of discouraging free speech in blogs will be. Bloggers carry on the most interesting conversations, whether with themselves, their readers, or even their split personalities. A blog is actually an amazing and unique invitation to find out how people think. What could be more awesome than that? And, as a government, what could be a better tool? Which is better, knowing the hot buttons and mood on the street by “listening in” on conversations or being taken by surprise when the street rises up?
And actually, the irony to me is that most of the bloggers that I read and follow are exactly the sorts of voices that any government would want to have. They are people who love their country, want to improve it, and are willing to take stands that may make things difficult for them socially to do so. So, people of conviction who want the best for their home. I can not imagine a group I would rather hear from, were I in a position of power.
So, rather than trying to shove and fit the square peg that is existing laws into the round hole of the Internet, it seems that governments around the world should be trying to understand what the Internet is, how it functions, and how to best utilize and manage it. Applying print regulations and laws to bloggers is beyond silly. Someone out there needs to think long and hard about what they hope to accomplish and how they can best do that, because the one thing I am certain of is… this is NOT it. No government will be able to wrangle the herd of cats that are bloggers into a registration process. No government will dedicate the manpower to monitor all blogs from their country. And no government should. They should embrace the conversation and learn to read the signs that they provide. And they should seek new technologies to help them communicate more effectively with their citizenry. And, so now you know why MommaBean says that censorship just doesn’t work…