MILTON’S AREOPAGITICA TODAY

 

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.

 

Milton’s Areopagitica was the ancestor of our first amendment.  It also constituted the earliest murmerings of journalism as we know it.  For the first journalism was the unconcealed expression of opinion.  And a fine literary tradition arose in the British Isles in which journalists, including Jonathan Swift and Henry Fielding, took zealous parts in the controversies of their day.

 

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.

 

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About jalesy55

Charles Lupia is a playwright, freelance writer and lawyer. His blogs cover a range of topics, from politics to entertainment.
This entry was posted in News and politics, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to MILTON’S AREOPAGITICA TODAY

  1. James says:

    OK!!!!Iam not the smart person you are BUT;IF blogging will move journalism and journalism discards blogging-what happens to free speech (such as it is these days)as I understand your comment, Journalism will disregard blogging, so what happens to the ideas that may come from it? will we just throw good ideas away for the idealistic view and the(idealistic) journalistic view????? (such as it is these days) mmm seems as if I have heard that before…….ok I know this sounds stupid but remember I already told you I wasn’t as smart and you were…..

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