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(not satire – it’s history)

There is serious talk – especially after the Leveson report – of controlling Twitter and social media users because of the way ‘falsehoods’ and ‘malicious gossip’ can so easily get out of control.

Well good luck to anyone who tries it because it’s worth remembering the government has attempted to do this before. And failed.

In December 1675, King Charles II issued a “A PROCLAMATION FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF COFFEE HOUSES” on the grounds the coffee houses allowed ‘tradesmen’ and other plebs to ‘misspend much of their time’ spreading ‘false, malicious, and scandalous reports’.

In other words, in 1675 coffee houses were the social media of their time –  where normal people could talk and communicate freely outside the control of the powers that be. And the powers that be didn’t like it.

They don’t like it today either – and just like in 1675 they’re trying to suppress and control it for exactly – exactly – the same reasons.

But the most interesting thing about the attempt in 1675 to suppress the population from communicating with each other freely is that it didn’t work.

The King’s declaration was issued on December 23rd but was revoked just 16 days later on January 8, due to widespread protests by the citizens.

“Those who ignore history are ConDemned to repeat it” as George Santayana so nearly said.


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