To your request of my opinion of the manner in which a newspaper should be conducted so as to be most useful, I should answer, “by restraining it to true facts and sound principles only.” Yet I fear such a paper would find few subscribers. It is a melancholy truth that a suppression of the press could not more completely deprive the nation of its benefits than is done by its abandoned prostitution to falsehood. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day. I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens who, reading newspapers, live and die in the belief that they have known something of what has been passing in the world in their time; whereas the accounts they have read in newspapers are just as true a history of any other period of the world as of the present, except that the real names of the day are affixed to their fables. General facts may indeed be collected from them, such as that Europe is now at war, that Bonaparte has been a successful warrior, that he has subjected a great portion of Europe to his will, etc., but no details can be relied on. I will add that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false.
Thomas Jefferson, from a letter to John Norvell, 1807
If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.
from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to Isaac McPherson, 13 Aug. 1813
Oh Joy, O rapture!
But one thing to say on this topic: Matthew 24:36.
President Obama’s war in Libya, even if it is moral, prudent and legally authorized under international law by the Security Council, is plainly unconstitutional
Michael Lind lays out the case pretty well in today’s Salon article for why he thinks Obama’s order to assist in the UN action against Ghadafi is illegal. On the one hand I really believe it would be the height of hypocrisy for America to refuse to assist any movement of people living under an authoritarian regime to overthrow their oppressors when our very existence as a nation is the direct result of French assistance to us during our struggle against the English in our own War for Independence. It seems especially hypocritical considering the sheer volume of rhetoric we’ve thrown around for 40 years concerning democracy while silently propping up the very dictators we’re asked to remove now. But on the other hand, if the president doesn’t have the authority to order military actions (even if requested by allied UN nations and required by UN treaty obligations), then he doesn’t have it. If an act of Congress is required to authorize military action in support of a UN resolution under article 42 then Congress should be asked to authorize it. I understand the time-sensitive nature of the situation, and that swift action may have been required, but certainly there is always enough time to obey the law?
Read the rest of this entry »
Topographical and magnetometry surveys are being completed today at a site in Sherwood Forest which a 200 year old document identified several years ago to be the ancient Thyng assembly site known as Thynghowe. References to Thynghowe go back to the 1200s in Nottinghamshire but its location was uncertain. The site is crowned on Hanger Hill by three standing stones, and may also be a bronze age burial site. The survey is a first step to doing archaeology work on the site, so it should be interesting to watch.
I can only imagine the fun re-enactor living near by a site like this could have.