bloggers don't need the threat of a public flogging,
a thousand times, for their fingers to fall idle.
After the fiftieth strike of the whip even the witnesses
are too ill to add up the effect of each strike-and that assumes
they had the will to count them before the public punishment
of other bloggers started. The promise of a long time in prison
is just as strong a disincentive to many to publish their thoughts.
Over time many quietly lose their faith that what they write is read.
As what passes for civil society ensures that it ceases to have effect.