Freedom of speech has a number and it’s

Busy as I am at the approaching end of term, nothing could hold me away from spending 2 or 3 hours every morning reading freshly released cable dumps.

Say what you will, I am all for the Assange crew. Change is in the air, and this time it may be a real change – the end of belief in that the manager is the savior of everything. My country is all victim of this, adoring and deifying the corporate man, who will punish greed and restore justice all the way from Moscow White house to my university. Undereducated people with the philosophy of “I’m the boss, so you shut up” are lauded as ‘efficient managers’. Time will of course show how much they have abused the expectations and how really crude and distorted is the idea of ‘success above all’ and ‘victors are not to be judged’.

It’s amazing how people fail to see it’s the same style, everywhere across the suppressed societies. The Prime Minister remembering that have people have an opinion only when he needs a name for his new dog. The university, with classes cancelled because of heavy snowfall, fails to inform students & faculty via its official website, and when the information appears there, it’s in the form of another display of princely power – a scanned copy of the rector’s order, mostly dealing with who’s responsible for ‘controlling’ (?) the absense of students at class (!) The country, with one of the leaders directly ordering the attack on Google servers just because he finds some critical materials about himself (!!!) in his native tongue (!!!!) open for all people to see (!!!!!) Yes, Li Changchun, master of the discourse, you probably don’t like the sound of your name ringing all over the world.

We are witnessing a massive rollback from the openness of international community in the name of corporate success of a country or company. This totalist locking-in of societies will never do any good, as it stifles dissent and poisons minds with moral relativism of the sort that ‘everyone’s corrupt, so what can I do?’ Still, there is a certain distance between a king-size bed, a trip to Trinidad – and a cup of tea with polonium or a iceaxe in your skull. Nobody’s perfect, but it’s time to draw a line between those who accept accountability and free speech, and are thus ultimately ready to accept criticism, too, – and those prepared to stifle everything just to hide their abuses. The West now has a unique chance to prove its commitment to democracy and thus get impetus for another period of moral leadership – or join the rest in their ‘all-too-humanness’.

We cannot rely on time to show the wastefulness and vanity of our illusions. Things change so swiftly we may not be able to roll back. The grand edifice of ‘efficience’ will be shattered by people finding what they have been deprived of. As John Lennon reportedly said, when finally granted a green card, “Time wounds all heels”.

UPDATE: As the hour of Assange’s appearance at court is coming, I hope Hillary Rodham Clinton – whose hero Eleanor Roosevelt indeed did much to translate the ideas below into the Universal Declaration – I hope Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to stand by her words:

On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress. But the United States does. We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. And we recognize that the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it.

This challenge may be new, but our responsibility to help ensure the free exchange of ideas goes back to the birth of our republic. The words of the First Amendment to the Constitution are carved in 50 tons of Tennessee marble on the front of this building. And every generation of Americans has worked to protect the values etched in that stone.

And it’s not just about Assange. I’m wondering if 50 tons is enough for everyone to see and remember.

About beggingscholar

I am a scholar of Early Modern English literature and culture, teaching quite a number of English-related subjects at Kazan University, Russia. I am mainly interested in the formation of the Early Modern public sphere, scandals, subversion, non-literary discourses in literature and other forms of destructive creation.
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