History's End

History will end only when Man does

Location: United States
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  • Friday, December 10, 2004

    An Analogy

    Blogging is to Freedom of the Press as the Secret Ballot is to Democracy.

    Discuss. I will give my thoughts sometime Friday or Saturday.

    Update: here are my thoughts:

    Blogging, through the use of services of Blogger, provides a medium by which people can air their views while still maintaining their anonymity. This enables them to air views and beliefs which their family, friends or co-workers would find repellant. This "cover" allows people to speak freely, and participate in a community which they can't join in the "real" world. Those with similar views can work and connect across the globe, or on a more local level. They can coordinate, plan and cooperate without having to worthy about social pressure being directed against them. This is such a significant jump from the past that I think its effect cannot be accurately predited. The blogging revolution may very well change the nature of politics in America, and allow the creation of new parties and coalitions would could not arise under the old order. This change rivals that of the impact of the secret ballot in democratic states.

    Ballots didn't use to be secret, indeed, for a long time in American history when you cast your ballot, you did so for a party, and used a ballot (often colored) you received from said party. Thus everyone knew exactly how you voted. This created a pressure to vote the way the community felt that you should, resulting in areas which were overwhelmingly for one party or the other. It became inconceivable for someone to vote otherwise. The secret ballot changed this forever. Now, when someone voted, you could never know for sure whom they voted for. This left parties considerably weaker than the were before, and 'machines' had to adjust themselves for this change. The secret ballot, by providing cover for those who vote, actually increased the freedom of the citizen, as it helped protect them from social pressure directed against them.

    Blogging provides another such protection, and thus enhances freedom even more for citizens of democratic states. Now they can interact with those of similar mindsets and avoid social pressure in the process. There is no need to go to a convention, or party meetings, or anything like that. Blogs and utilities like IRC provide electronic meetinghouses that provide both anonymity and easy access for nearly everyone. The impact of blogging on Democracy has only just begun.

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