Suppression of Free Speech

The Agricoli are fans of the Blogosphere.  We believe that unfettered access to multiple points of view, on any topic, is the only way for a concerned citizen to become better informed and perhaps arrive at his/her opinion.  We have long said, privately and publicly, that honest, respectful debate is the best way for people with disparate opinions to arrive at a conclusion that, mostly, satisfies all parties.  We understand that some points that represent fundamental tenets of belief cannot be discarded, but discussion, fairly conducted, usually allows for the respectful consideration and valuation of other’s beliefs.

We generally find that it is most difficult to hold such honest, respectful discussions with those whose philosophy seems to begin and end with clever slogans decrying the intelligence, motives, and beliefs of the party or persons they oppose.  Anecdotally, one of the prime blogger rules is foregoing any attempt to change a reader’s mind; rather, state your case and move on.  Getting bogged down in fruitless attempts to convert a political/philosophical opponent is a waste of bandwidth.  Sometime, however, we all must yield to temptation and assume the role of educator to the mis-informed, the ill-informed, and the just plain stupid. It is a temptation to be avoided, unless both parties seem genuinely interested in a good discussion.  And then the Blogosphere provides the opportunity for both sides to gain a little more understanding of the other side. What a great thing!

Today, we find a gross violation of blogosphere principles in a place where, sad to say, we have come to expect such behavior. Courtesy of The Adventures of Chester, we are directed to the news that Organs of the State have banned certain bloggers whose opinions may run counter to the beliefs of the Gate-Masters.  The Organ of the State in question, which Soviet-bloc nation, you ask? Why the US Department of the Interior.  See the facts here.

It is a sad day when official US policy openly blocks free speech from any source. Are any of you non-conservative bloggers as upset as we are at this news?


6 Replies to “Suppression of Free Speech”

  1. Maybe I’m under-reacting to this news. Perhaps the Dept of Interior just doesn’t want employees reading blogs on “company time”?

    My employer blocks many things. For instance, typepad is blocked. Blogger is not, but the comments section is.

    If only certain blogs are being blocked, this is very wrong.

    If they are blocking entire servers (not sure if that’s the correct technical term), then I’d lean toward thinking they are just trying to get employees to stop reading blogs at work.

  2. JanetLee – That was the point of the commenter at Gates of Vienna…..he could get Kos, MoveOn, etc., but not his and my favorite conservative sites. That still gores my ox……….

  3. It’s a sad day when an arm of the government blocks its own employees from content merely because of its viewpoint, and right now that appears to be exactly what’s happening. Very unfortunate. So yes, this non-conservative blogger is quite concerned…

  4. This concerns me too. Just a side note: I work in a federal building on a federal computer, and as far as I know, nothing is blocked. But this makes me want to ask our IT guys tomorrow about this. They’d confess if they were blocking something.

  5. Agricola, Sure, this is upsetting to First Amendment purists like us. When a workplace bans a site it should be for employment policy reasons or for practical technical reasons. For example, a workplace w/zero tolerance to sexual harrassment might ban its employees from viewing porn. Or a workplace with not enough bandwidth (like mine) can ban stuff to avoid the system crashing. I still think a workplace should know its employees well enough to know whether they’re following policy or not.

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