John Perry Barlow essay on the state of the nation: "Pox Americana"

John Perry Barlow just published an essay on "the present state of the American Experiment" to a mailing list of friends, fans, and assorted geeks. I've posted a copy online. Excerpt:

A lot of what's wrong may be the very sort of thing you're reading right now.

The Internet, has, as expected, provided a global podium to everyone with an opinion. Cyberspace has become an infinite set of street corners, each with its lonely pamphleteer, howling his rage to a multitude all too busy howling their own to listen.

All of our energy goes into things like this [e-mail], energies that might be better spent in creating traditional blocs like the NRA, or the AARP, or some large group capable of either buying Congress or scaring the shit out of them. This screed won't scare an elected official anywhere. And it wouldn't generate enough money to elect or defeat a dogcatcher.

As much as I loathe organizations, we need to organize.

And we'd better start doing it now before the Empire decides it's necessary to declare a National Emergency and make it lethally illegal to oppose it. It could get that bad.

Or it might get oddly worse than that. The Empire has discovered something important. The best way to deal with us is to ignore us altogether, as they did last Thursday. Our calls and letters had no effect whatever.

But those were the acts of citizens. In an Empire, there are no citizens, only subjects.

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