Tuesday, December 11, 2001

THE SELF-RIGHTING PRINCIPLE: John Milton's contribution to free speech theory -- more than 300 years ago -- was that information and ideas need to be freely exchanged in order for man to gain knowledge and understanding and to discover truth. For Milton, the liberty of conscience was the fundamental freedom, necessary for all other freedoms to exist. Through the free exchange of ideas, he believed wise men would discover truth.

Wrote Milton: "Truth is strong next to the Almighty." ... "Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and falsehood grapple, whoever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?"

This became known as the "self-righting principle" -- the notion that, in the end, truth will win out.

Remember that as you read Andrew Hofer's More Than Zero, which reports today that National Public Radio's Geoff Nunberg considers Blogs to be "bumbling, self-important and dutiful." (Did I really once send money to that organization? Yipe!)

UPDATE: Since when did "dutiful" become a term of derision? [Since Nunberg lumped it in together with "bumbling" and "self-important," that's when.]


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