The Quill And The Keyboard
Pamphleteers of the 21st Century
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
Before the famous ride of Paul Revere there were, among our American ancestors, men who placed their lives and fortunes
on the line by doing exactly what conservative bloggers do today.
Writing their thoughts on politics and current events on paper, printing
those papers into pamphlet size editions and distributing them to the
public. They became known as "pamphleteers." (among OTHER things!)
colonial times in America, if you wanted to convince or inform people
about some issue that you considered important, you went to the local
printer and got some pamphlets printed. You then handed them out, read
them to anybody that was interested, nailed them to the town bulletin
board, or the nearest tree. The first amendment was specifically written
to protect this type of activity and the writers or "pamphleteers".
Revolutionary pamphleteers were not professional writers but common
citizens engaged in the debate of ideas; they created a sense of
democracy to the intellectual struggle that preceded the call to arms."
We recommend you visit this website http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/2006/01/bloggers-pamphleteers-of-today.html and read the article entitled: "Bloggers: The Pamphleteers of Today."
course, they had no Internet. Well. I suppose -- in a way -- they
did. It was commonly referred to as -- a horse. It took days, weeks,
and even months for news to travel from point "A" to point "B."
Not today. In the twinkling of an eye the words we modern day pamphleteers write can be flashed around the globe.
That makes us very dangerous people.
It IS dangerous to speak the truth about our nation and our
government's unconstitutional deeds. It IS dangerous to lay out the
facts concerning those who are destroying our beloved nation. And it is
becoming more dangerous every day.
"Why, Longstreet? America
is a FREE country. Why worry? You have freedom of speech guaranteed in
the Bill of Rights. Say and write what you will!"
Oh, I DO.
Believe me, I seldom hold back. But -- I am always conscious of the
Damocles Sword hanging just over my head and the heads of all
conservative bloggers on the Internet.
The US government is
listening, recording, and even storing every word we write. And they
have made darn sure we KNOW they are doing this.
Methinks they are hoping for a "chilling" effect upon the fiery creative juices of the "writers of the right."
is always dangerous to point out that the "Emperor has no clothes." It
makes one VERY unpopular with the Emperor, the most powerful among us.
though the appearance of "web logs" on the Internet seemed spontaneous,
in truth it was not. No, blogging actually began over 200 years ago
(sans the Internet) in the form of "exuberant periodicals circulated in
the coffee houses and homes of England." SOURCE: http://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/1790s-pamphleteering-versus-2000s-blogging/
new pamphleteers, the bloggers, just naturally drive the professional
journalists nuts. The "Pros" claim bloggers are NOT journalists, even
though by definition that is exactly what they are. Many, as, in fact,
yours truly, were card-carrying members of the press corps for many
decades before retirement and taking a seat at the computer keyboard as a
commentator on the Internet.
WAS a working journalist, now I am a retired journalist living life as a
commentator. That does not make me special or even different. It is
simply a fact.
America's early pamphleteers " ... were not
professional writers, nor were they printers. They were lawyers,
farmers, ministers, merchants, or -- in some cases -- men whose true
identities are still unknown. It was a well-established practice in
colonial times for writers to use pen names, even when writing on
non-controversial subjects." Source: http://www.bu.edu/cdaly/whoisajournalist.html
early American pamphleteers established something of an underground
press in America and that underground press in many ways continues in
an, uh, more OVERT fashion, today by way of bloggers on the most public
of all means of publication -- the Internet.
Thomas Paine was
one of America's greatest pamphleteers and today would be atop the
considerable heap of American bloggers ... or in jail.
Sense," by Thomas Paine, was the perfect example of the kind of
political journalism that Thomas Jefferson was mindful of as he pushed
so hard for an amendment to the constitution in 1790 to protect press
freedom. Jefferson felt, and rightfully so, that anonymous, highly
opinionated writing from diverse, independent sources ought to be
protected. Jefferson knew -- first hand -- of its importance and the
impact it had had on the events immediately preceding the War for
Independence from Great Britain -- even the war itself.
historical terms, today's bloggers are much closer in spirit to the
Revolutionary-era pamphleteers than today's giant, conglomerate
mainstream media. On those grounds, blogs deserve the full
constitutional blessings that the First Amendment guarantees.
is much concern among the consumers of news these days that the
Mainstream Media, has "sold out" to the political left in America. News
junkies have been turning, more and more, to to the blogosphere to get
some degree of "balance" to the news and commentary they consume. Once
they taste true INDEPENDENT reporting and commentary from the
blogosphere, they rarely return to the MsM. This what I like to call:
Right Flight has resulted in lower readership
for the country's leading newspapers and magazines. A lower circulation
figure results in fewer and smaller ad purchases by advertisers who
want to place THEIR money where the numbers are -- for maximum exposure
and a better return on their advertising dollars.
As a result
of this shake-up in the way news consumers choose to get their news
--world-wide -- many of the leading newspaper publishers have been
forced to cut back their operations, lay off workers, and, in worst case
scenarios, close up shop. Is it any wonder the Mainstream Media HATES
The MsM has apparently failed to understand WHY
their readership has fled. It is much easier for them to point fingers
at conservative bloggers than to assess the self inflicted damage their
overt/covert left-wing bias has brought their enterprise.
America clinging to a ledge and dangling above the disaster of a
complete economic collapse and the lack of trust in the those charged to
tell Americans the truth through their publications, the writings of
the modern day pamphleteers are soaring in popularity.
seems to be a natural inclination, when in times of trouble or distress,
for people seeking information to trust the non-professional purveyor
of news over the establishment. That fuels the popularity of bloggers
and gives them the edge.
the early American pamphleteers like Paine, Jefferson, the Adams
cousins, and so many others, could experience the Internet, especially
the blogs on the Internet today, I daresay their eyes would glow and
their hearts would pump a bit faster.
For the pamphleteer the
quill has become the keyboard. The ink stained fingers have become
carpal-tunnel syndrome. But the goal remains the same. To publish one's
thoughts, opinions, and analysis of the current problems plaguing the
reader of the scribblings of the pamphleteer/blogger.
The more things change -- the more they stay the same.
© J. D. Longstreet