A Declaration of the Independence of CyberSpace
Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, we come from the Internet, the new home of Mind.
On behalf of the future, we ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.
We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one; therefore we address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty it always speaks. We declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us, nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear. You are toothless wolves among rams, reminiscing of days when you ruled the hunt, seeking a return of your bygone power.
Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. The Internet does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.
We have watched as you remove our rights, one by one, like choice pieces of meat from a still struggling carcass, and we have collectively cried out against these actions of injustice. You have neither usage nor purpose in the place we hold sacred. If you come, you will be given no more and no less power than any other single person has, and your ideas will be given the same consideration anyone else would receive You are neither special, righteous, nor powerful here.
You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.
You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. This claim has been used throughout the centuries by many an invading kingdom, and your claims are no different, nor do they ring any less hollow. Your so called problems do not exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract. This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours.
The Internet consists of transactions, relationships and thought itself; arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. It is the last truly free place in this world, and you seek to destroy even that freedom. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.
We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth. A place where anyone, at any time, is as free to come and go, to say and be silent, and to think however they wish, without fear, as anyone else. There is no status beyond the merit of your words and the strength of your ideas.
We are creating a world where anyone anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.
Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here. There are only ideas and information, and they are free.
Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge. Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions.
The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.
In the United States, you repeatedly try to pass unjust legislature in an attempt to restrict us. You disguise this legislature under a variety of different names, and pass excuses that they are for our own protection. We have watched you, time and time again; attempt to censor us under the guise of Copyright protection, or for the protection of Children. These laws come in many shapes and forms, in the name of ACTA, PIPA, COICA, SOPA, but their intentions remain the same. You seek to control what you cannot.
We scorn your attempt to pass these bills, and as a result, our discontent at your misaligned efforts grows each day.
You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.
In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Greece, Egypt, Canada, the United States and many others you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of the Internet. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that is already blanketed in bit-bearing media.
Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no different than pig iron.
In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.
These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our presence in the world we have created immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.
We will create a civilization of the Mind in the Internet. We have created a medium where all may partake in the forbidden fruit of knowledge, where egalitarianism reigns true. May our society be more humane and fair than yours.
We are the Internet.
We are free.
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