Monday, July 12, 2004

Book Burning

Disturbing trends and tendencies are developing in Fortress Amerika.

There certainly exists a disturbing correlation between the topics of these two articles. Here is a selection from each:
The Nazis were right in believing that one of the most powerful weapons in a war of ideas is books. And for better or worse, the United States is now in such a war. Without books, we cannot succeed in our current struggle against absolutism and terrorism. The retreat from civic to virtual life is a retreat from engaged democracy, from the principles that we say we want to share with the rest of the world.... So the crisis in reading is a crisis in national politics.

By requiring foreign journalists to obtain special visas, the United States has aligned itself with the likes of Iran, North Korea and Cuba, places where reporters are treated as dangerous subversives and disseminators of uncomfortable truths.... The USA Patriot Act ... placed antiterrorism measures in a peculiar conceptual proximity to laws supporting the control and removal of undesirable aliens, although with a new emphasis: As dissident writers seem to have disappeared from the public sphere, journalists have become the new subversives, even when they have no agenda at all.

Would it be possible for this great nation to continue by sheer inertia without either the most basic rights currently guaranteed by the Constitution or the minimum of civic participation by its citizens?

To counter the authoritarian orthodoxy, I solemnly swear to read more. So help me Sartre.

And from outside, in the great, big world, news stories filter in about human goodness: Women as peacemakers: from victims to re-builders of society. This story is one of the UN's 10 Stories the World Should Hear More About.

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