Modern life does not feel like it is working to me. I cannot speak from experience of past ages but if I am right maybe free speech has been broken for longer than anyone can remember, with the flaws only varying in intensity. This world is fluent in criticism but not in advocacy. We stand for what is easy to back, or issues that are more controversial sometimes but only with safety in numbers. To be right, someone has to agree with immediacy. Although this encourages feedback and conformity which aid the peace of a society it also leaves us open to manipulation. One does not have to win an argument with reason because division and a certain form of silencing will do. Silencing by suppression is not as effective as the silence of guilt. If you feel alone in your voice, ashamed of your opinion, then so will those who share it as they look for your nod of approval but see no sign.
If I may speak anecdotally for a brief time, I feel this guilt of dissent affects me greatly. I experience no trouble when disagreeing with others in many (but not all) situations yet when I need to argue my own case with nobody to support my lone voice, fear overtakes me. Self-censorship is rife. With more and more permanence to my statements in a digital age why would I take unnecessary risks to stand out? Politicians and celebrities experience criticism of newly resurfaced statements and actions long into their past. To click send may be to append a belief to a public manifesto that can never be revoked.
I believe this case for privacy is a strong one ignored by many who do not think of it. To watch your tongue and test the limits day to day, looking for camaraderie is natural; to be under the constant strain of writing your lifelong legacy with every parting of lips or stroke of a key is untenable. Anonymity is sacrosant to those wishing to speak withotu repercussion. The right to be forgotten is important in a hostile world that will never truly be able to forgive us our departed mistakes. I ask you this, reader with nothing better to do: If you told your closest friend everything, could you still look them in the eye? Most of us do have something to hide: not a secret from the Stasi but a truth that needs a preselected audience. To give it away to all leads not to freedom but humility and the process of forgiving yourself is further delayed.
I encourage everyone to make sure they have not lost all avenues to speak on a platform where some watch but nobody knows you. Then test it, flex that ability and avoid a burden of guilt when your statement leaves the haven of your mind. If it truly is anonymous what have you got to lose? And if you do have something still to lose then that anonymity clearly is not protected enough and either you or your country’s citizens must take steps to set this up.