An Archbishop for the Internet Age

The speach for which the Archbishop of Canterbury has been attacked goes to the heart of legal and cultural issues that have to be addressed if our globalised, multi-jursidictional, multi- cultural, global information society is to survive, let alone flourish.

It is hard going but I do urge you to read the full text. I watched a tape (for once very much easier) and am looking for a podcast.

The media is carrying pods of simplistic attacks on what the Archbishop said – but not what he actually said.

I wonder why?

Perhaps it is because his comments on “primitivists” apply to secular editors and progressive politicians every bit as much as they do to medieval fundamentalist reilgious bigots.

I particularly liked “there can be no blank cheques for unexamined scruples”.

The Archbishop’s comments on the reality of multiple religious and secular jurisdictions and the need to enable genuine choices of jurisdiction also apply to the many competing claims to the local “monopoly of legitimate violence” (established by 19th century nation states) from an growing plethora of local regulators and tribunals as well as from those claiming supranational or extra-territorial powers, such as the European Commision or the United States .

His thoughtful comments on the pressures that can remove genuine choice reminded me of the increasing “ghettoisation” of the Internet, facilated by social networking as groups of likeminded “friends” reinforce their mutual prejudices and drive out free-thinkers.

The Internet may well, overall, be a great force for good but it is also being used for profound evil.

And I cannot even find a podcast of a speach that I believe earns Dr Rowan Williams a place alongside Thomas a Beckett and Cranmer. I very much hope that he has indeed lit a candie of debate that will not be put out.

In the mean time, can anyone find a copy of the video or sound track on the web?