Blogging, Promiscuousness, Scantily Dressed Women, the Power of Ideas and some more Concepts relating to Freedom of Speech and Expression

So I mentioned in an earlier posting: blogging about (and posting pictures of) scantily dressed women caries a certain amount of risk especially in societies where the idea of morality is upheld in a strict manner….

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Ma Iddhari Madya Movie Actress Simran – source: http://www.bharatwaves.com/

A sign of immorality? But what defines morality?…, Or promiscuousness?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Ma Iddhari Madya Movie Actress Simran – source: http://www.bharatwaves.com/

Why is it that in some societies such kind of fashion or dress is allowed, whilst in others it is frowned upon and even prohibited?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Ma Iddhari Madya Movie Actress Simran – source: http://www.bharatwaves.com/

Do we say that in societies where women can dress scantily and sexily, such societies are promiscuous and immoral?

But is there a bigger question here?

It came to my mind that the bigger question or bigger issue lies in the power of ideas. You see, in conservative and restrictive societies, the power of ideas is concentrated to a few people or select group i.e. approved mainstream media. In such a situation, the rest of population is expected just to “consume” the ideas given by the approved media. In other words – the creation of ideas – especially powerful ideas that can capture people’s imagination is monopolized (or dominated) by a select group of people.

In liberal societies – the power of ideas are not monopolized by a select group of people. Almost anyone can give new ideas….One might say that in such societies there is a relatively free market of ideas. Yes – there is this expression: ‘the market of ideas’* which in its ideal form follows the Adam Smith’s dream about perfect markets.

* I have explicitly stated ‘market of ideas’. This is to differentiate from the market of information. I say this because I believe that bloggers do not have the ability to compete with the mainstream information providers due to the bloggers lack of capital and resources. However there are instances where bloggers do perform a role in the market of information. Nevertheless, bloggers can only be even at their best – only a second or even third best substitute from the mainstream information providers.

Blogs are a platform in which new potentially powerful ideas can be created and disseminated….. Blogs are first created in a liberal society where thinking aloud is actually allowed and cherished upon….Blogs goes hand in hand with the ideals of a free market of ideas that characterizes many of the liberal societies. What blogs do is that they increase the supply of ideas by creating a platform which overcomes some of the barriers to the market of ideas (i.e. media industry).

Interestingly, the idea of blogging has spread even in conservative and more restricted societies. In other words blogging has overcome one barrier over the restriction of the creation and dissemination of ideas that characterized many conservative and restrictive societies. But this is one barrier of the many….

And there upon a fundamental situation facing many bloggers today – a platform most suited for a free market of ideas is used in societies where even a notion of a free market of ideas is alien….or at in best situations: not welcomed wholeheartedly…

I would hazard to think that this is the situation that Malaysian bloggers are facing. Malaysia as a country can be described as democratic. The freedom of speech is indeed enshrined in the Constitution. And the country is blessed with relatively well functioning democratic institutions. But some how at the grass-root levels, the very idea of free for all freedom of speech/expression is not accepted whole-heartedly. For example, if my memory is correct: PAS (Pan Malaysian Islamic Party) wants the government to use its harsh powers to stop or ban certain activities (and other things that are normally associated with freedom of speech and expression – like musical concerts!) which are considered un-Islamic. But strangely PAS is against the ISA (Internal Security Act). This seemingly contradictory and hypocritical stance can only be explained due to the non-wholehearted acceptance at the grass-root levels to the idea of democracy and freedom of speech and expression as it is practiced in liberal societies.

Therefore, and I would make this conclusion in a very careful manner – I would like to think that Malaysian bloggers are often confused. They would like to think that they are promoting a just cause i.e. freedom of speech. And such an effort is justified especially when there was this promise (by the previous Prime Minister) that the internet will not be censored. Unfortunately such a promise is not sustainable as that visionary and bold Prime Minister has retired; and the underlying social structures cannot and do not support the idea of freedom of speech and expression – which is often times taken for granted in many of the world’s liberal and democratic societies.

In other words Malaysian bloggers want a situation (i.e. freedom of speech and expression) that is quite far off from what society is able or willing to give…

Note:
I think I have to further explain this phrase:
“social structures cannot and do not support the idea of freedom of speech and expression”

This statement contains several things:
social structures cannot … – this is a situation when society is not able to support the idea of freedom of speech and expression as such a concept may be fractitious and has the potential to do irreparable damage to the present form of society….

social structures do not … – this is a situation when society does not want to support the idea of freedom of speech and expression… because society chooses not to do so…

There can also be situations where both conditions apply… that is a situation when social structures in society cannot (are not able to) and do not want to support the idea of freedom of speech and expression.

Aha….. I think I will stop here….

Until then…. Vivere Pericoloso, Malaysian Bloggers!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Ma Iddhari Madya Movie Actress Simran – source: http://www.bharatwaves.com/

Can be like this only in democratic and liberal societies….

Advertisements

About this entry