Thursday, November 29, 2007

Why It’s Important To Blog

I'm finally getting around to reading Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture, which you can download for free by clicking the above link, and you should read this book. Read a fucking book. Read this fucking book. Here's an excerpt to give you some perspective on why you should read this book:

But democracy has never just been about elections. Democracy
means rule by the people, but rule means something more than mere
elections. In our tradition, it also means control through reasoned discourse.
This was the idea that captured the imagination of Alexis de
Tocqueville, the nineteenth-century French lawyer who wrote the
most important account of early "Democracy in America." It wasn't
popular elections that fascinated him—it was the jury, an institution
that gave ordinary people the right to choose life or death for other citizens.
And most fascinating for him was that the jury didn't just vote
about the outcome they would impose.They deliberated. Members argued
about the "right" result; they tried to persuade each other of the
"right" result, and in criminal cases at least, they had to agree upon a
unanimous result for the process to come to an end.
Yet even this institution flags in American life today. And in its
place, there is no systematic effort to enable citizen deliberation. Some
are pushing to create just such an institution.16 And in some towns in
New England, something close to deliberation remains. But for most
of us for most of the time, there is no time or place for "democratic deliberation"
to occur.
More bizarrely, there is generally not even permission for it to occur.
We, the most powerful democracy in the world, have developed a
strong norm against talking about politics. It's fine to talk about politics
with people you agree with. But it is rude to argue about politics
with people you disagree with. Political discourse becomes isolated,
and isolated discourse becomes more extreme.17 We say what our
friends want to hear, and hear very little beyond what our friends say.
Enter the blog. The blog's very architecture solves one part of this
problem. People post when they want to post, and people read when
they want to read. The most difficult time is synchronous time. Technologies that enable asynchronous communication, such as e-mail,
increase the opportunity for communication. Blogs allow for public discource without the public ever needing to gather in a single public place.

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