Friday, September 23, 2005

Persecution and the Art of Blogging

In an effort, no doubt, to give evidence for Leo Strauss's theory that in times of persecution writers had to hide their meanings in their works so as to avoid censorship, the leftist organization Reporters Sans Frontieres has released a handbook to inform bloggers who live under tyrannical regimes how they can avoid censorship. The main technique for avoiding censorship appears to be for a blogger not to disclose his identity. This allows the bloggers to say whatever they want about the regimes under which they live with a lower level of risk of persecution since the government cannot identify them. This is significantly easier than what earlier authors had to do, according to Strauss's theory, since unknown bloggers can disclose their true meaning without having to hide it in the text of their document. Nonetheless, I wonder how safe their anonymous disclosures can be from increasingly techno-savvy regimes. If I were dissenting in a regime that might kill me for it, I still might follow the old method of hidden meanings. But perhaps this is a sign of my own cowardliness.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Yehuda - while my initial reaction was to laugh, and not take seriously what you posted, I was actually reminded of Ian Kalman (AB '05), who is currently out in China with the Peace Corps. He told me before he left about all the restrictions that the Chinese government poses for bloggers, specifically in regard to screening and censorship. So, the next time you decide to post blogs while in China - beware!