The author of our liberties was himself something of a tyrant. When he was thirty-four, John Milton married a teenage girl. His young wife did not take well to his autocratic ways, or to his belief that wives should be obedient.
Wanting a better social life, she left him. Living largely in his head, Milton responded by publishing a tract in favor of divorce. This did not go well with authorities. He was not granted a license his publish his pamphlet, as was required under Parliament’s 1643 Licensing Act.
But Milton defied the law and published the tract. He even went a step further and published in 1644, also unlicensed, his Areopagitica, a pamphlet calling for freedom of speech. Only when exposed to an open exchange of ideas, he argued, can we fully exercise the free will God gave us.
Now the sheen of objectivity has been worn off, and journalism has returned to mere opinion. Much of the most vital journalism is now found in blogs. Newspapers did not prepare for changes in technology, and have suffered accordingly.
Blogging will move journalism toward its future, and journalism will discard blogging. This blog and the ones that may follow from me are small gusts in the crosscurrents of ideas.