Wednesday, April 01, 2009


I've decided to move. You can find me here.

Protesting the Protesters?

A story on today notes that "activists have a reputation for being early adopters of technology" and they use new communications methods "to disseminate information, connect with each other and gather en masse." From the article:

". . . Internet technologies -- particularly mobile technologies -- have made it dramatically easier to organize groups of people in protest -- and far harder for police to know where to target their defensive efforts.

"[Protesters] have made it impossible for the defenders to adopt a cut-off-the-head-and-the-body-will-die strategy," he told CNN. "[Technology] has made the idea of a frontline of protests almost completely amorphous."

So the police are crying because they can't figure out who is the leader or organizer of a particular protest? Don't we have the right to assemble peaceably in order to protest actions we find disagreeable? As long as the protesters don't begin to act out violently, it seems that the police don't really have any need to know who organized the protest. This complaint seems to me to be the government lamenting the fact that more and more people are dissatisfied with what our elected officials are getting away with and allowing their friends to get away with. These elected officials seem to be afraid that the people will remember that the government is supposed to be “by the people and for the people” and that when the government oversteps its bounds, “it is [the people’s] right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government.” The elected officials and police would like nothing better than to quell any opposition before it begins, and that’s why they’re lamenting technology that allows people to rapidly spread news and ideas.

The CNN article notes that the invention of the printing press “made broad dissemination of information possible” and was adopted by early civil and religious libertarians to help spread their messages. Maybe our political leaders would like to go back to the days before the printing press when the people learned the news of their government’s actions too late to do anything about it.