Monday, September 01, 2014

Ben Franklin was a blogger.

I have long thought that blogging and self-publishing are playing a role today that the small movable type presses of an earlier age played. Tyndale was able to publish his English translations of the Bible that way under the radar (at least for a while). Philosophers whose opinions didn't fit the status quo were able to publish under pseudonyms and thus escape persecution. Even biblical scholars like Reimarus could publish unpopular ideas without people knowing it was them.

So when you think of people like Thomas Paine or Benjamin Franklin, they were the bloggers of the late 1700s. You think of how easy it is to self-publish these days. America at large highly values free speech, but it would be easy to publish under a pseudonym today. I can think of a couple instances where people have even gone around posting comments under pseudonyms (e.g., Norman Golb's son).

So I'm pretty sure that Ben Franklin would be a blogger, if he were around today. It fits a certain personality that likes ideas and likes to talk...

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