Keith Olbermann from MSNBC's Countdown is brilliant again in his Special Comments, this one focused on presidential hopeful and formerly disgraced Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's insistence that free speech must be curbed, starting with the Internet first. Big snip here, read it all there and likely, Crooks and Liars will post the video tonight.
...“It will lead us to learn,” Gingrich continued, “how to close down every Web site that is dangerous, and it will lead us to a very severe approach to people who advocate the killing of Americans and advocate the use of nuclear and biological weapons.”
That we have always had “a very severe approach” to these people is insufficient for Mr. Gingrich’s ends.
He wants to somehow ban the idea.
Even though everyone who has ever protested a movie or a piece of music or a book has learned the same lesson:
Try to suppress it, and you only validate it.
Make it illegal, and you make it the subject of curiosity.
Say it cannot be said, and it will instead be screamed.
And on top of the thundering danger in his eagerness to sell out freedom of speech, there is a sadder sound, still — the tinny crash of a garbage can lid on a sidewalk.
Whatever dreams of Internet censorship float like a miasma in Mr. Gingrich’s personal swamp, whatever hopes he has of an Iron Firewall, the simple fact is, technically they won’t work.
As of tomorrow they will have been defeated by a free computer download.
Mere hours after Gingrich’s speech in New Hampshire, the University of Toronto announced it had come up with a program called Psiphon to liberate those in countries in which the Internet is regulated.
Places like China and Iran, where political ideas are so barren, and political leaders so desperate that they put up computer firewalls to keep thought and freedom out.
The Psiphon device is a relay of sorts that can surreptitiously link a computer user in an imprisoned country to another in a free one.
The Chinese think the wall works, yet the ideas — good ideas, bad ideas, indifferent ideas — pass through anyway.
The same way the Soviet bloc was defeated by the images of Western material bounty.
If your hopes of thought control can be defeated, Mr. Gingrich, merely by one computer whiz staying up an extra half hour and devising a new “firewall hop,” what is all this apocalyptic hyperbole for?