Sunday, November 25, 2018

Can Ideas Be Blocked?

By Robert Wenzel

Nassim Nicholas Taleb tweets:
During the French "Ancient Regime", anti-establishment pamphlets called "libels", printed in London or Rotterdam circulated widely.

They proved that nobody could repress the printed word.

But digital borders are not porous, Google/thought police can block anything they hate.
But I am not so sure that ideas are even now so fragile. Ideas have always been tough.

The important Stoic philosopher Epictetus ( c. 55 – 135 AD) was successful in Rome until the ruthless authoritarian emperor Domitian kicked out all the Stoics. So Epictetus moved to Necropolis in Greece. He re-established his school there and his student there, Arrian of Nicomedia, took notes and published them under the title, Discourses of Epictetus. The book is still available today, more than 2,000 years later. Now, on Amazon.

They tried to stomp out free thought in the Soviet Union. Samizdats emerged, the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union collapsed.

Shakespeare had to do a workaround to write about his time.

 They crucified Jesus Christ, that didn't exactly kill Christianity.

The economists Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, during their years, were shunned by establishment universities but their ideas, today, influence far beyond that of almost all university professors of their time.

Ideas do not require the blessing of a ruling class, the elitists or a given platform or method of communication.

Indeed, the establishment will always try to block powerful new ideas. But they can never kill ideas, only methods of transmission. Powerful ideas are not transmission based. They are above any particular way of transmission.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of


  1. Your last two sentences contradict each other. The first is false. The second is true.