I’ve just finished reading ‘Wolf Hall’ by Hilary Mantel. It’s a novel about the rise of Thomas Cromwell in Henry VIII’s England.
A paragraph in the book made me smile as it showed how similar the challenges and opportunities we have now are to the challenges the printing press brought to politicians in the 16th century:
He can see that, in the years ahead, treason will take new and various forms. When the last treason act was made, no one could circulate their words in a printed book or bill, because printed books were not thought of. He feels a moment of jealousy towards the dead, to those who served kings in slower times than these; nowadays the products of some bought or poisoned brain can be disseminated through Europe in a month.
(Wolf Hall, p492)
What treason we can spread through Europe in seconds today!