The internet is as free and as profound a social medium as it is today for a host of incredibly complicated reasons. Yes, the structure of the technology, the innovative drive behind its growth and adaptation, and the common desires that directed it were inherently and profoundly libertine (or at least relatively so). But to glance at the history of the internet at any point is to be reminded that its successes were rarely leveraged from a position of strength and conscious intent, but rather obtained through the repeated ineptitude and shortsightedness of those in power. And usually the happenstance alignment of self-centered escapism widespread among the populace with substantive resistance from a marginal fraction. While often the norm, such conditions cannot be relied upon.
The defense of free speech — in the American context — is a battle waged from a position of popular entitlement. That entitlement (while often selfish, petty, shallow and pompously sloganistic) is a powerful thing. That it has seen such expansion to the telecommunications realities of our age is as divine a providence as we are ever likely to experience. Our task is to rush to the battlements — to defend, leverage and expand where possible. This will require energy — far, far more than it took to get to this point. We have been granted the most powerful weapon of our era — stop thinking that it will fire itself. Stop thinking that they are incapable of sabotaging it.