Thinking, speaking, and acting freely in an unfree world is often seen as an act of rebellion by those who hold power, privilege, and fealty to the ideas that support a given society’s power structures.

And that means there will be much acrimony, harrumphing, and even outright blood-lust displayed by those with power and those who worship power in response to any individual seeking a greater sense of freedom and expression for himself and his fellows.

To stand up against such unjust powers is not easy. It requires courage, conviction, and a willingness to actively withdraw one’s consent from the actions of the powerful. It demands one sever all those bonds  that once used to make up the comfortable scaffolding of one’s life: family, friends, coworkers, and even one’s country. It is a cruel, unusual, and perilous task to stand against unjust power, but sometimes it is necessary for the sake of one’s love for humanity being governed by truth and justice.

As Frederick Douglass once remarked:

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

Such has been true throughout history, a struggle of liberty against power, and such continues to this day as displayed by the Edward Snowden saga.

As Snowden has heroically revealed, the U.S. intelligence community, operating in the extra-legal shadows of the corporate State, is the boss of the world’s information in the name of “security.” The public has now confirmed what they long suspected to be true: the NSA, under the purview of the secret FISA court, has built an “architecture of oppression” which is being used for the transnational collection of free communications of innately free peoples.

In a letter by Snowden to Brazil, the whistleblower writes:

My act of conscience began with a statement: ‘I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded. That’s not something I’m willing to support, it’s not something I’m willing to build, and it’s not something I’m willing to live under.’Days later, I was told my government had made me stateless and wanted to imprison me. The price for my speech was my passport, but I would pay it again: I will not be the one to ignore criminality for the sake of political comfort. I would rather be without a state than without a voice.

I’ll say it here and now, the statement, “I would rather be without a state than without a voice,” will go down in history as a guiding beacon, a brave statement of civil disobedience recognizing the innate right of each human being to speak boldly and without fear of molestation or death from those with power.