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Poor Richardís Internet
Special to FreeRepublic ^ | 26 June 2010 | John Armor (Congressman Billybo

Posted on 06/26/2010 4:48:30 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob

Let’s raise two questions: What would Ben Franklin think of the Internet? And, what would be his opinion of efforts by the current Administration to censor Internet content, or even shut it down in “an emergency?”

Events in Franklin’s life may answer those questions. A recent two-hour TV special on him made one point that deserves repeating: Of all the Framers who created the United States of America in law and in fact, the one who would be “most at home in the modern world” was Dr. Franklin.

First, Franklin was a scientist. He observed facts in the real world. He developed theories to explain those facts. Then, he developed experiments to prove whether his theories were correct. Today, this process is called “the scientific method.” Franklin would be quite at home with all modern scientists who still deal in facts and proofs, in addition to theories.

Second, Franklin was a student of communication over time and space. As Assistant Royal Postmaster, Franklin created a postal service that would get mail from New York to Boston in two days, and it turned a profit. Most importantly, his post office connected the rebels in the Committees of Correspondence in all colonies with each other, to the great benefit of the American Revolution.

Franklin also communicated effectively as the publisher of The Pennsylvania Gazette and of the very successful Poor Richard’s Almanack. His post office turned both into national publications.

Lastly, he’s famous for changing electricity from a parlor trick into a subject for effective scientific inquiry.

The Internet combines all three of these Franklin interests. He would be entranced by it. He would seek out those who could explain computers and the Internet. Days later, after experimenting with both, he would be back with suggestions to make the Internet faster, better, cheaper and more effective.

Franklin would recognize that the Internet is the 21st century culmination of all his efforts as a patriot, publisher and postmaster in the 18th century. Would Franklin oppose political content censorship of the Internet? He spoke and wrote against censorship. But an event from his childhood gives a solid answer. When Franklin was 13, he was still an apprentice to his older brother James. The Massachusetts government took offense to an editorial James published, in his newspaper, The New England Courant. James was jailed for one month. After his release, he was ordered not to publish his newspaper by name and with him as Editor. Therefore, James engineered a subterfuge. The Courant was now to be published by Ben Franklin, not James, even though Ben was the young apprentice.

As a printer, Franklin was well aware of three attempts by King George to control the colonial American press. The first was to forbid any presses in America unless allowed by Royal decree. This failed due to the skills of smugglers. The second was to require licensing of all existing presses. This failed due to the abilities of printers to disassemble, move and hide their presses. The last was the Stamp Act, requiring all newspapers and legal documents to be printed on paper bearing the Royal stamp, available only from the Royal Governors. There were riots; warehouses of paper were burned; and Parliament repealed this Act on the eve of the Revolution.

Lastly, on his deathbed, Franklin knew that the Constitution he worked on in Philadelphia had been ratified, and that the price of ratification was the addition of the Bill of Rights, drafted by Congressman James Madison at the demand of the states. Franklin knew that the First Amendment contained a guarantee of freedom of the press.

The whole career of Benjamin Franklin, from very young to very old, stands for the proposition that the press should be free to criticize the government – that when criticisms sting the most, they are the most essential. It follows that he would oppose any bill giving any President the power to shut down any part of the press in a self-declared “emergency.”

If old Ben were with us today, Poor Richard’s Almanack would be Poor Richard’s Internet. Ben would be happily publishing from his desk top to the world his opposition to all tyranny by all governments, especially tyranny over his beloved press.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: benfranklin; censorship; internet; obama
I thought this was a good article when I hammered it out. TownHall picked it up this morning. Hope you like it.

John / Billybob

1 posted on 06/26/2010 4:48:33 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob
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To: Congressman Billybob

Good one.

Bttt.


2 posted on 06/26/2010 4:54:36 AM PDT by Vigilantcitizen
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To: Congressman Billybob

Good article, John.


3 posted on 06/26/2010 4:55:47 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Get to the beach, or at least in the pool!)
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To: Congressman Billybob
He developed theories to explain those facts. Then, he developed experiments to prove whether his theories were correct.

Actually, one develops hypotheses on the basis of observations, then proceeds to the experimentation stage. If experimentation bears out the hypothesis, a theory may be produced. To the average person, the word "theory" implies something that's highly speculative, but to the scientist the word imports something of high probability.

4 posted on 06/26/2010 4:56:31 AM PDT by Mr Ramsbotham (Laws against sodomy are honored in the breech.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Great article, John.
Ben Franklin saw many things correctly.


“There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of
Pharaoh — get first all the people’s money, then their lands, and then make them and
their children servants forever. It will be said that we do not propose to establish kings. I
know it. But there is a natural inclination in mankind to kingly government. It sometimes
relieves them from aristocratic domination. They had rather have one tyrant than 500. It
gives more the appearance of equality among citizens, and that they like. I am
apprehensive — therefore — perhaps too apprehensive — that the government of these
States may in future times end in a monarchy [not called a monarchy but an executive
with monarchial powers]. But this catastrophe, I think, may long be delayed, if in our
proposed system we do not sow the seeds of contention, faction and tumult, by making
our posts of honor places of profit. If we do, I fear that, though we employ at first a
number and not a single person, the number will in time be set aside, it will only nourish
the fetus of a king (as the honorable gentleman from Virginia very aptly expressed it),
and a king will the sooner be set over us.”

-- Benjamin Franklin

5 posted on 06/26/2010 4:56:54 AM PDT by Diogenesis (Article IV - Section 4 - The United States shall protect each of them against Invasion)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Thank you.

We have to ask: How would Franklin view the failure of modern day newspapers to print the unvarnished truth and instead formulate leftist propaganda?


6 posted on 06/26/2010 4:57:50 AM PDT by sodpoodle (Despair - Man's surrender. Laughter - God's redemption)
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To: Mr Ramsbotham
Having taken statistics in a PhD program, I know that you are correct. But if I had introduced the word hypothesis, I would have been obligated to spend a sentence or two explaining it to non-statisticians.

Didn't have any sentences to spare. So I wrote it as you see it.

John / Billybob

7 posted on 06/26/2010 5:01:59 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob (www.TheseAretheTimes.us)
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To: Congressman Billybob
But if I had introduced the word hypothesis, I would have been obligated to spend a sentence or two explaining it to non-statisticians.

I'm not a PhD, and I've never taken a course in statistics. High-school general science was where I first came across the concept. I am, however, of the old school.

8 posted on 06/26/2010 5:07:59 AM PDT by Mr Ramsbotham (Laws against sodomy are honored in the breech.)
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To: sodpoodle
Actually, Franklin favored a rough and tumble press that wore its opinions on its sleeve. For instance, the Aurora Advertiser wrote this: “If ever a man debauched a nation, George Washington debauched the United States of America.”

Most of the early American newspapers were owned and written by men who were highly partisan. When you're in D.C. I recommend that you visit the James Madison Library (across the street from the main, Jefferson Building) and go to the reading room with microfilms of all the surviving copies of colonial newspapers.

You'll be surprised to see that they much more resembled the supermarket tabloids of today, than either the Washington Post or the Washington Times.

John / Billybob

9 posted on 06/26/2010 5:09:06 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob (www.TheseAretheTimes.us)
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To: Congressman Billybob

So - you are saying they printed partisan, but unvarnished TRUTH!!!!!

(much like the National Enquirer?)


10 posted on 06/26/2010 5:14:57 AM PDT by sodpoodle (Despair - Man's surrender. Laughter - God's redemption)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Don't think Ben would've been silent upon losing his fur collar to avoid hurting PETA's feelings.

11 posted on 06/26/2010 5:21:00 AM PDT by P.O.E. ("Danger is My Beer" - Rev. Dr. Fred Lane)
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To: Congressman Billybob

TownHall picked it up this morning. Hope you like it.

John / Billybob

*****

Much more than a good article! As I was reading it I was thinking that it was worthy of the WSJ or IBD editorial pages.

It should go viral, to use today’s vernacular. Thanks for putting the thoughts together about Franklin and Free Speech: patriot, publisher and postmaster.


12 posted on 06/26/2010 5:27:18 AM PDT by maica (Freedom consists not in doing what we like,but in having the right to do what we ought. John Paul II)
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To: Congressman Billybob

keep


13 posted on 06/26/2010 5:30:11 AM PDT by vanilla swirl (Where is the Black Regiment?)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Nice article! Ben Franklin is one of my favorite Founding Fathers to quote . . .


14 posted on 06/26/2010 5:34:01 AM PDT by BraveMan
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To: Congressman Billybob; All
"...Ben would be happily publishing from his desk top to the world his opposition to all tyranny by all governments, especially tyranny over his beloved press..."

One has to wonder what the good Doctor would have to say about today's tyranny of the press...

15 posted on 06/26/2010 5:34:21 AM PDT by conservativeharleyguy (Democrats: Over 60 million fooled daily!)
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To: Congressman Billybob

He was one of the most extraordinary human beings the world has ever known. Born into the family of a Boston candle maker, Benjamin Franklin became the most famous American of his time. He helped found a new nation and defined the American character. Writer, inventor, diplomat, businessman, musician, scientist, humorist, civic leader, international celebrity . . . genius!

16 posted on 06/26/2010 5:41:22 AM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: Congressman Billybob

I think the link must have changed since you posted. The correct one is here: http://townhall.com/columnists/JohnArmor/2010/06/26/poor_richard’s_internet

It probably isn’t need though since the whole thing is posted here.


17 posted on 06/26/2010 5:42:47 AM PDT by dajeeps
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To: Congressman Billybob
Colonial America produced two of history's greatest men: Franklin and Washington.

Franklin's experiments with electricity opened the doors to the modern world.

18 posted on 06/26/2010 5:44:09 AM PDT by metesky (My retirement fund is holding steady @ $.05 a can.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Most of the early American newspapers were owned and written by men who were highly partisan. When you're in D.C. I recommend that you visit the James Madison Library (across the street from the main, Jefferson Building) and go to the reading room with microfilms of all the surviving copies of colonial newspapers.

You'll be surprised to see that they much more resembled the supermarket tabloids of today, than either the Washington Post or the Washington Times.

As a collector, I own a number of original copies of colonial newspapers and your comments are spot on.

19 posted on 06/26/2010 5:44:56 AM PDT by Inyo-Mono (Had God not driven man from the Garden of Eden the Sierra Club surely would have.)
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To: Diogenesis

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.

20 posted on 06/26/2010 5:50:43 AM PDT by 6SJ7 (atlasShruggedInd = TRUE)
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To: Congressman Billybob

I think Franklin would be absolutely thrilled with the internet. He would take take any threat to control it or shut it down seriously. If the internet is “shut down” is there technology that exists which could circumvent the system? Like pirate radio, is there a way that clandestine means can be employed to send and receive messages and reroute them? Franklin understood that thugs will try to limit communication. Failure to limit open communication leads to failure of thuggism.


21 posted on 06/26/2010 5:51:33 AM PDT by Enterprise (As a disaster unfolds, a putz putts.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
I was just going to post your article from Townhall.com. I thought that was you

Your article

22 posted on 06/26/2010 5:53:37 AM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Excellent.

I’ve wondered what the Founding Fathers would think of what we have become. Probably amazed. Maybe disgusted. But Ben would set about figuring it out.


23 posted on 06/26/2010 6:17:46 AM PDT by Malesherbes (Sauve qui peut)
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To: Enterprise

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=linksys+linux+mesh+WRT54GL&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=linksys+linux+mesh+WRT54GL&gs_rfai=&fp=355c0c6008861bf6


24 posted on 06/26/2010 7:32:11 AM PDT by Bobalu ( "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother." ..Moshe Dayan:)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Thanks, I smiled when I saw this on TownHall this AM.

Congratulations

25 posted on 06/27/2010 7:12:35 AM PDT by CPT Clay (Pick up your weapon and follow me.)
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