Where Have All The Rebels Gone? The Right Of Free Thought

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

(Editors Note: This essay contains strong opinions that might not be suitable for those under the mental age of 13)

Unless you were one of the thousands tortured or killed, unless you were one of those who has teh gay and were denied your civil rights, unless you were jailed under the Patriot Act, unless you were one of those….ok, it’s a long list…I’ll start again…

ONE of the greatest damages done under the iron fist of The Bush Reign Of Terror….was the repression of thought. Specifically the repression of Right of Free Thought. The Right to be Rebellious. Not just to express rebellion, but through the insidious forces of social pressure, to even, within the confines of your own head, THINK freely, let alone rebelliously.

The Right of Free Speech barely survived, even as an endangered and protected species. The blogs did much to keep that alive. On life support. With only a few visitors during supervised visits and only during visiting hours. It was much curtailed and assaulted, but you could, if you were willing to suffer the slings, arrows, and shocked gasps accompanied by raised and disapproving eyebrows still…sorta….SAY what you thought.

But you had to think about what you thought first. And therein lies the problem.

We were….and still are, forced to self-censor. Which is far, far worse than some Authority censoring you. Self-censorship kills the human spirit. Self-censorship is a form of suicide.

“What are you rebelling against Johnny?”

“Whaddya got?”

Marlon Brando

Self-censorship is a function of social pressure, the desire not to be shunned In the Bush years…..we were “at war.” According to Obama’s speech yesterday, apparently we still are. In wartime, we are encouraged to all make sacrifices to ensure that we win the war and that we prevent damage to our troops. One of those sacrifices is self-censorship. Self-censorship as part of the war effort, a temporary sacrifice, for the ‘duration.’

But this “war” has no duration.

So how long are we supposed to self-censor for?

For what duration are we supposed to commit the mental and spiritual suicide that come with policing our own thoughts? And having them policed under the social strictures that were, like so many other conditions, imposed during the Bush Years, the Years of Darkness.

There is no law on the books, no stated policy, no overt or specific penalty. But the condition persists.

America was founded by rebels. It is the Mutant Strain of rebellion that has always advanced humanity. It is the dreamers that allow us to reach the stars.

When will it be safe to think again?

Well, come to think of it, it never has been…and it probably never will be. Perhaps the best we can hope for, us rebels, is to merely not be punished quite so severely, and shunned quite so assiduously when we dare to think. And when we dare to speak those thoughts aloud, and when we dare to accept the consequences for speaking those thoughts however harsh the consequences may be….and perhaps that is the only way to make it just a little bit safer.

One thought at a time. One act of intellectual bravery at a time. One expansion of the dominant paradigm at a time, through daring to think.

Come to think of it, it has always been thus. And there have always been cycles of repression and the explosions that follow as those repressions have been thrown off.

Perhaps….that pendulum has reversed direction again?


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  1. Photobucket

    • daMule on May 22, 2009 at 7:27 pm


    This has been happening for a long time, and the tools currently being employed by ‘those that benefit’ boggle the mind – literally.

  2. Since the Prehistoric ages and the days of ancient Greece

    Right down through the Middle Ages

    Planet earth kept going through changes

    And then the renaissance came, the times continued to change

    Nothing stayed the same, but there were always renegades

    Like Chief Sitting Bull, Tom Paine

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X

    They were renegades of their time and age

    The mighty Renegades

    Be a Renegade!

    • pico on May 22, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    from Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia where an aging Herzen looks back with regret on the revolutions of his youth:

    The revolution sank under the cargo of compromises it wouldn’t let go of, and the people turned out to be more interested in potatoes than freedom.

  3. Interesting thoughts, buhdy!

    Let’s face it, whatever form of democracy we “believed” we had has been slipping away for a long time and was sped up with the Bush Administration and, if there is no change in Obama’s posture, it [so-called democracy] will continue on a downward spiral to a point of no return.  This appears to be where we are headed.  The marginalization of the so-called “middle-class” to what I refer to, as “upper-poor class” has done more than make us poor — although we have a voice and use it, we are simply ignored.  Money talks!  This is our government, for the rich, by the rich, and of the rich!

    I fear that the time is fast approaching where thinking, alone, will not cut it.  Americans sooner or later will protests our taxes going to those in our government who do not listen to us, yet derive their pay, health benefits and pensions, at our expense.  We are going to need masses of people out on the streets, otherwise, how else can we prevent this near total destruction to our so-called democracy?

    • daMule on May 22, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    would a factor in this be that the neocons have created such a division in our society, culturally and ideologically, that the mere hint of a political comment in public is seen as ‘bad taste’ simply because it’s likely to elicit an argument?

    In my many, many years of living in this society, I’ve never seen the cultural/political divides so evident, so near the surface.  And this seems to add to the self censorship – the desire to keep-the-peace with friends and neighbors.

  4. a lot of people just don’t get it.

    Tyranny wins, if even the Messiah Himself was POTUS, if he clucks tyrannical policies, and if The People just sit down and applaud…

    All through the Bush years, I kept thinking how unbelievable it was… the Emperor Is Wearing No Clothes, and it seemed nobody would say so out loud. (hardly nobody, I had not discovered teh blogs yet).

    Nothing’s that simple. It’s not all black or white.


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