Books and Code · A Miscellany

John Perry Barlow Tribute


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

John Perry Barlow passed this week. Most here probably know him as a lyricist for the Grateful Dead, if they know of him at all.

I discovered him when I was in high school as a staunch defender of freedom on the internet. This short piece inspired me then and still does today. If you value the beautiful, transcendent anarchy that is the internet, then you owe a debt to Barlow for his tireless work defending it.

Barlow admonished those afraid of that anarchy: “You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits.”