Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”     Frederick Bastiat

August 23, 2009

Europeans Go On Strike; Americans Simply Defy

by Brad Warbiany

One of my personal bits of curiousity about the world is related to cultural “ways of thinking”. While I don’t believe that Americans are innately different than Europeans, or Chinese, or Russians, there are certainly differences in average thought borne of the different cultural histories of each place. Dale Franks at QandO recently posted about differences between Germans and Americans when faced with authority, and a new story out of Italy highlights another example of a difference:

Did you know that Italian bloggers are on strike? It’s true! Since July 14, Italy’s bloggers have been under self-imposed silence, in protest of a proposed law (called the Alfano decree) that would grant a right of reply to those who feel their reputations have been besmirched by something posted on the Web, writes the BBC.

A strike?? Oooh, I’m scared. I think that if American bloggers went on strike, our politicians and our newspapers would be dancing in the streets. The law proposed in Italy is a method for discouraging blogging, and here the Italian bloggers are playing right into their hands!

But when reading this, I was struck by something. Is a strike the only way Europeans know to respond to something like this? (French car-b-ques excepted, of course!)

I remember something similar here in the US. The FEC was considering regulations that would regulate bloggers’ opinions as campaign speech. Immediately thereafter, the response of the American blogosphere was a little different than a strike: we signed on to the Patterico Pledge:

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.

The Italians say “we do not like-a this law, please a-change it.” The Americans say “you can take this law and stick it where the sun don’t shine, ‘cuz we’re not gonna obey it.” The Italians would do well to learn that refusal to obey is a little more powerful than a complaint.

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