Friday, September 21, 2007

G'day Mate: Mr. Gore Jets Off to Australia for Some Big Money and Thomas Jefferson on a Free Press in a Democracy

From The (Australia):
Paying dearly to hear Gore's climate story

AL GORE has a story he wants to tell the world. But it will cost you a thousand dollars to hear it.

In a passionate attack on the climate policies of Prime Minister John Howard and US President George Bush, the former US vice-president, addressing a very expensive lunch in Sydney yesterday, called Australia and the US "the Bonnie and Clyde" outlaws of the global environment for their failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

...Mr Gore made his comments after reporters were asked to leave the lunch venue. Despite the cost, lunch in the 700-seat room at the Sydney Convention Centre was a sell-out, as is tomorrow's event in Melbourne. VIP packages, which included a spot close to Mr Gore and a meet-and-greet with him, cost $25,000....MORE

I've got to say, I don't much like the idea of reporters being told to leave the room; Thomas Jefferson might have had similar feelings:

"The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787. ME 6:57

"The press [is] the only tocsin of a nation. [When it] is completely silenced... all means of a general effort [are] taken away." --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, Nov 29, 1802. (*) ME 10:341

"The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure." --Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823. ME 15:491

"The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves, nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384

"The light which has been shed on mankind by the art of printing has eminently changed the condition of the world... And while printing is preserved, it can no more recede than the sun return on his course." --Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1823. ME 15:465

"Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it." --Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786.

"[This is] a country which is afraid to read nothing, and which may be trusted with anything, so long as its reason remains unfettered by law." --Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Milligan, 1816. ME 14:463

"The art of printing secures us against the retrogradation of reason and information." --Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Paganel, 1811. ME 13:37

Much, much more on the importance of a free press in a Democracy and Mr. Jefferson's thoughts thereon from the University of Virginia.

Mr.Jefferson on The University of Virginia:

1820 Dec. 26. "This institution of my native state, the hobby of my old age, will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind, to explore and to expose every subject susceptible of it's contemplation." (to Destutt de Tracy, Ford.12.181)