Our founders were on to something though. They took their Natural Rights as Englishmen seriously and folded them in to the best ideas of The Enlightenment.
They probably would not be shocked about the below.
Freedom and Liberty - those were the ideas that our experiment in republican self-government is all about. If you go back to those basic rights that Englishmen had - from an armed citizenry to freedom of speech - sadly, year after year it seems that it is no longer in the Mother Country.
A key foundational basic element of all - freedom of speech - is critically supported by freedom of the press.
From John O'Sullivan; BEHOLD.
Today, Britain’s three major parties agreed on a shameful compromise to bring the fractious British press under official regulation for the first time since 1771, when John Wilkes — the English equivalent of John Peter Zenger — successfully established the right of newspapers to publish uncensored reporting of parliamentary and public affairs. It is a serious attack on freedom by the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, and a cowardly retreat in the face of that attack by Prime Minister David Cameron and the Tories.Nigel - take it away;
The motives behind it are all too obvious. With all their flaws, Britain’s newspapers — not least the despised tabloids and the Daily Mail, hated for its strong defense of middle-class values — have uncovered a series of grave public scandals, including the fraudulent misuse of parliamentary expenses by MPs, that have embarrassed the politicians and the establishment.
All three party leaders are complicit in this enterprise even if David Cameron is involved due to timidity rather than malice. It is a very depressing prospect. Only Nigel Farage, of UKIP, seems to grasp the seriousness of the issues at stake. He is standing by his statement of a few months ago:
For this government, or any bunch of so-called politicians to support the legislative underpinning of a voluntary agreement to oversee the press would be a huge mistake, and the first step on a very slippery slope. Control of the media should not now, or ever, be in any way the responsibility of politicians. Any Government intervention almost always fails, as would this. It is about politicians creating a cosy world of silence where they can live and act in peace and behave without public accountability. It would be a huge mistake and be laughable in the age of the Internet. Just completely the wrong thing to do. . . . My own phone was hacked, but that is neither is neither here nor there. Things go wrong in the press, as they do in every walk of life and business, but we already have legal redress. Criminal actions are criminal actions, and are already covered by the law. Those of us in my position already have recourse to the law. We must not create anything that restricts freedom.
More from TheDailyMail, Samizdata, and TheGuardian.
This is a cause that should unite left, right, and center. Yes, the press is obnoxious, messy, and often wrong. So what? That is freedom. How do you respond to bad speech or wrong speech, simple ... more speech.
Don't let the neo-feudalists take that away in the Mother Country. Like gun control ... it will find its way over here too.
Pics via TheCommenter.