L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 272, May 23, 2004
The Most Pathetically Incompetent Empire in History
Cassandra, Censorship, and Credibility
Exclusive to TLE
In Homer's epic the Iliad, Cassandra was the Trojan prophetess who was cursed by Apollo to always speak the truth, but to never be believed. Colloquially, her name has come to mean a 'prophet of doom', with the upspoken assumption that what the person has to say is not to be believed or given credibility.
In many ways, those of us who take a hard look at the reality of what our government is becoming, and project those tendencies into the future are looked on as 'Cassandras,' foretelling a brutish future of either a police state, or a theocracy, attempting to control every action and thought of the mass of people. We see the Patriot Act, actions by out-of-control federal agencies such as Waco and Ruby Ridge, people 'disappearing' after no more than an accusation of being 'terrorists', and even an FBI report saying that many of the 2nd Amendment activist groups could be considered 'terrorist groups', and we say that this isn't right, that if this trend is not stopped, worse will come.
Because we say things that are not popular, that many do not want to even consider, because we espouse individual liberty, individual responsibility, and work to promote those things, such as gun ownership, which champion and support those causes, we are considered extremists, radicals, even potential criminals and terrorists.
One side-effect of this is that there is a sort of unofficial censorship, both on the part of the individual, who refuses to listen to what we have to say, and a more organized censorship on the part of various organizations and groups, who try to limit or deny what we have to say, such as many internet search engines and filters which will not even allow our web-sites to be displayed, considering them to be 'dangerous' to children, or some silly notion such as that. Even more absurd is the notion that the content of the freedom based sites is considered 'inappropriate' for children or young adults.
SINCE WHEN IS FREEDOM INAPPROPRIATE FOR AMERICANS OF ANY AGE???
Again, because what we say is not popular, because it threatens the rosy cocoon that many people seem to live their lives in, denying what is right in front of us in each day's news, we are automatically deemed 'not credible' by those few who do see our articles, our sites, and our comments.
I was re-reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, and one comment struck me. That comment is that the revolutionaries needed to make things WORSE, so that the mass of sheeple could actually see that there WAS a problem, in order to attract the support they needed. In thinking over that comment, I seem to see a parallel here. Right now, things are worse than they have been at any time since the Civil War (War of Northern Aggression, for you fellow southerners out there), but the American people have been so brainwashed and indoctrinated, convinced of their own helplessness, that very few can see the problem. Does it have to get worse here, before enough people get off their butts and start working to restore our lost freedoms? And if it does, how much worse does it have to get?
Will all the Cassandras out there, crying desperately for the people's attention, go unheeded until it is too late, just like the original Cassandra of Troy? When she was ignored, her people lost their lives, their homes, and their city, many of the survivors entered slavery, and only a very lucky few escaped.
George Santayana said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Will history repeat itself?
Homer: Iliad. My favorite translation (in proper Blank Verse, which is
the English equavalent of Homer's Greek hexameter), translated by
Edward, Earl of Derby, from Project Gutenberg (file size, 841-KB):
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert A. Heinlein:
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