Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Delaware Supreme Court, Blogs and the Protestant Reformation.

At first glance, the Delaware Supreme Court, blogs and the Protestant Reformation seem disparate.

However, as I mentioned here when reviewing Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World, Hugh Hewitt correctly analogized blogs to the Reformation in that they both democratized information. I wrote: "I believe the book's greatest innovation is its comparison of the blogosphere with the Protestant Reformation. (Chapter 2; note: my theological training may have influenced this conclusion.) Humanly speaking, what loosed both the Reformation and the blogosphere was the 'democratization' of information. In the case of the Reformation, the printing press and wide dissemination of scriptures in common language empowered the masses. By the same token, the breakdown of barriers to publish and distribute information and ideas, such as through the 'net and blogs, has a similar empowering effect."

In an opinion published this month (Doe v. Cahill), the Delaware Supreme Court has grasped blogs' (or more broadly, the internet's) ability to empower individuals as disseminators of information, as follows:

"The internet is a unique democratizing medium unlike anything that has come before. The advent of the internet dramatically changed the nature of public discourse by allowing more and diverse people to engage in public debate. Unlike thirty years ago, when 'many citizens [were] barred from meaningful participation in public discourse by financial or status inequalities and a relatively small number of powerful speakers [could] dominate the marketplace of ideas' the internet now allows anyone with a phone line to 'become a town crier with a voice that resonates farther than it could from any soapbox.' Through the internet, speakers can bypass mainstream media to speak directly to 'an audience larger and more diverse than any the Framers could have imagined.'" (Emphasis supplied.)

(HT: ProfessorBainbridge.)