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Wired Thinks Free Speech Has Been Tried and Failed

John Perry Barlow famously declared that cyberspace, as we used to call it, was, should be, and must remain a realm of absolute intellectual freedom. It is a bitter irony that he died the same month that Wired, which for years celebrated the liberatory power of digital culture, features a terrible and terrifying cover feature deriding “The Golden Age of Free Speech.”

The package’s polemical point? That free speech has failed us and deserves no particular further respect in this digital, social-networked world.

Wired magazineFrom the dark heart of their framing essay, Zeynep Tufekci’s “It’s the (Democracy-Poisoning) Golden Age of Free Speech“:

The most noble old ideas about free speech simply don’t compute in the age of social media. John Stuart Mill’s notion that a “marketplace of ideas” will elevate the truth is flatly belied by the virality of fake news. And the famous American saying that “the best


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