Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Tearing down the wall, part 3

My friend, Winthrop Yu, posted this in one of our ygroups, also in his fb status,


Joint declaration by VOA/BBCWS/DW/RFI/RNW
September 29th, 2009 - 13:50 UTC by Andy Sennitt.

"20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, freedom of speech is still far from being a reality in many countries of the world and journalists have to face ever more sophisticated restrictions preventing them from reporting freely. While, for some of us, multimedia usage has become an almost indispensable part of everyday life, we should not forget that access to free information is still limited to just one third of the world`s population...."

Media censorship, or its less visible cousin, media bribery for self-censorship and favorable reporting in favor of government and powerful people, remains a reality today. It's even pitiful when even non-traditional media like online social neworking are being censored.

My friends in China are complaining that facebook and blogger.com (or blogspot.com) are banned in China. They have a facebook account, but they can open it only when they are abroad.

When I was in Germany last year for a 1-week seminar, my fellow participants from China, they were always on the net whenever we have a breaktime. They uploaded our groups pictures and trips. When they went back to China, there zero updates from their facebook account. My other Chinese friend who travels more frequently abroad is lucky, he can check his facebook and visit some blogs when he's out of China.

The Atlas Economic Research Foundation (www.atlasnetwork. org) sponsored a "Tearing down the wall" project last month. They were able to raise $20,000 in 20 days in the first 3 weeks of September. The fall of the Berlin wall (that's why it's called "tearing down the wall") and the collapse of communism in Europe 2 decades ago, and the rise of new walls and new restrictions to individual freedom, are the main themes of the "2009 Freedom dinner and conference" this coming Nov. 9-10 in Washington DC. Atlas invited me to be one of the speakers among the "freedom fighters" from selected countries around the world.

The kind of "freedom" that our think tank, Minimal Government Thinkers, advocates, and which is also being promoted by Atlas and many of its partner think tanks around the world, is individual freedom. This is often subsumed if not trampled upon, by efforts to advance "collective freedom" by the forced collectivists. Several examples to show.

One, our monthly income is not ours alone. The collective has the right to confiscate 1/3 of that every single month (32 percent personal income tax in the Philippines for incomes P500,000 per year or higher (roughly US$10,638 at P47/$) of of our lives as long as we are working.

Two, if one invents and develops a successful and very effective medicine, the collective has the right to confiscate the IPR of that invention. The high cost of R&D to develop the revolutionary medicine, including the losses for the failed experiment on other drugs, is the individual's (or the firm's) alone. But the invention for a successful drug can also belong to the collective. This is done through compulsory licensing (CL) policy.

Dozens, if not hundreds, of other instances where individual freedom is trampled upon by the statists and socialists. They are always shouting "Bayan Muna" ("country first") and similar calls. Even the most corrupt politicians like that motto. It gives them endless power to tax, intervene and regulate, because they are the administrators of the collective.

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