Tuesday, July 19, 2005

an unpopular but honest opinion

Today I got an email from an old professor from grad school who forwarded me “important internet information.” The email went on to say that Congress is attempting to pass laws which give the federal government authority to monitor, restrict, or otherwise tamper with what is published and accessible to the open public on the internet. (It’s obvious from what I just wrote that I haven’t read all the details yet.)

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t have political opinions. I don’t think I’m smart enough to have them. I never protest, or write Congress, or even choose sides. I steer clear of all conversations around political issues of any kind. But I just need to say something here, and I don’t care if it’s an argument full of holes and contradictions. It’s how I feel.

I’m sure the government is hoping to handle a lot of problems by proposing this bill to build restrictions on the internet (i.e. homeland security, classified info leaked by a nosey blogger, copyright infringement leading to expensive lawsuits, identity theft, etc., etc.) The government is attempting to invade our privacy to “protect” our privacy and safekeeping, but at the cost of certain personal freedoms fought long and hard for by countless patriots who believed in a system of free but limited government. And “We the people” get angry when they start to do that.

But you know what my first reaction to this email was? If passing this bill means less porn in my inbox, I say Hallelujiah. You have my blessing. Thank you for doing what we as individuals should be doing for ourselves: exercising self-imposed accountability for the images and content we share with the world, and maintaining a healthy respect for the rights of others over the rights of one.

I’m sorry, I have a deep and profound reverence for the First Amendment, not to mention a personal dependence on it to protect my right of worship among other things. Thank God we have such a country where our liberty is protected by this statute. But it is my belief that some of us have taken our self-proclaimed liberties to an extreme that enters a realm self-destructive behavior. We’re so adverse to place any kind of sanction on the way we express ourselves, that now the rights of the individual to make a buck in cyberspace are trampling over the rights of the majority like a buffalo stampede from hell.

There is an enormous amount of filth running through our broadband cables like fast-moving sewage. It infiltrates and pollutes my inbox, it pops up at me without warning. It is unwarranted and most definitely unwanted. But I have been asked by my government to tolerate it because I need to respect the other guy and his right to say whatever he wants, and sell whatever he wants. If I want to live in a country where my right to worship God as I choose is tolerated, then I have to tolerate another person’s right to invade my inbox with porn, because both these things are protected under the same amendment of our Constitution.

Is there a political mind out there that can explain this to me?

I don’t think the government should come in and slap a bunch of “No, Can’t Do That’s” on us, but since we aren’t doing it for ourselves….and there are some serious socio-economic consequences resulting from it….we’ve then lost that piece of our freedom, and the government is taking over for us. It’s like Mom sending you to bed early after warning you that if you keep jumping on the bed, someone will get hurt (maybe not you, but someone!). We keep jumping, someone gets hurt. Mom’s calling us on our crap. Good night.

There are those out there that will say to me, “Don’t take away our rights! If you don’t like it, get firewalls installed on your computer, or turn it off, or you can block the pop-ups, or you can monitor your family more carefully to see what they’re doing on the computer.” Translation: Don’t like it? Not my problem. It’s my right to put this out there. I don’t care what it does to you.

There are those out there that will say: “It starts with the internet, and then pretty soon they’ll be telling us what to wear, what we should eat, how we should think and feel.” Do I want Fahrenheit 451? No. And I don’t think that’s what I’m asking for when I ask you to minimize the internet crap. And I don’t think that’s what will happen. “They” is still “Us.” We prevent our government from too much involvement, too many infringements on our individual lives (as this internet epidemic only reinforces.) Why is it so hard to be accountable for our actions, and to admit that we don’t need over 7 million pornography sites. I think 1 million is perfectly adequate, don’t you? Not to Joe Schmo over here who thinks he can make bank off of a new porn site, and God Bless American Capitalism.

I’m going to stop there. But please understand that I could devote hours to this subject.
I also hate getting the spam porn stuff, but have just learned to ignore it (although I do get much less than i used to, so it's gotten easier). I wonder if somehow they could put restrictions on it because of the possibility of it getting to a minor. I'd be leary of giving the government too much control over the situation (especially because some of the current government seem to be a little gung ho about things) but do think they need to find some way to deal with the porn issue.

My solution to the problem would be create a "do not spam list" (similar to a do not call list) which prohibits any organization from emailing you anything without your authorization. This might be hard to regulate -- especially if they're spamming you from some remote island in the Pacific. The best solution? They’re should be something that can be done without limiting the First Amendment rights of fellow Americans.
To me, internet porn emails and the like are not worth addressing legislatively. Kind of like how GDub dreams about getting his hands on the Tution and scribbling in something about gay marriage, it's just out of the question in my mind. No moral reasoning, just out of the question, out of place.
Another reason, I think it backfires. Kind of like the marijuana issue. Feds made it illegal, state of CA says grow on and spark it up. Medicinally that is. The more you restrict, the more backlash and the higher the demand. The higher the demand, the more undercover the drug dealers deal and the more they get for it. (This was explained to me over lunch yesterday by my dear medicinal weed dealer friend). Going along with your analogy, you jump on the bed, mom tells you quit and if you don't someone's going to get hurt. Don't change the warning or take the accountability away by putting your kid to bed without dinner or whatever. Or do it, whatever. But I say, nail him with a firm warning and let your kid fall and break his head open if he doesn't mind. No dinner promotes rebellion. Personal lesson learned promotes accountability. A piece of legislation is not going to ban, it will promote backlash and underground loop holes in networking, hence more and more porn and more and more tax dollars to keep the Fed networking moles on top of this.
And another point I have...
It's the sign of the times for society to abuse their God-given and Constitutional freedom to choose and account for it. First Amendment is the first amendment. Get another email address. I've got like 6 if you want one of mine. They aren't porn tapped.
Another point, sorry.
It's risky business with all this Patriot Actish stuff going on. The pattern is what's key. Are we falling into a stronger dependency on governemnt? Who is your government? What really are their best interests? I guarantee it's not our moral harmony as much as it's power over the "peons". Plato cited democracy as the governmental formation that comes before tyranny- more of an evolution in and of itself from some other form of governing... and in our case, we were fleeing from a sort of Monarchy (Brittain) thus knee-jerked Democracy on this continent. Where man is free to do whatever he wants. Let the punishment fit the crime in the end when it's the end. Let freedom ring so tyranny doesn't bark.
I agree. The more you try to regulate, the bigger backlash you are likely to get. Just look at what happened with Prohibition. (According to my Granny, it's why she started drinking. "Tell someone you can't do something and see what they just go and do.") I'd be very concerned that by tampering with the porn issue, they would start tampering with other aspects of the first ammendment. As you said... their freedom to distribute porn also gives you the freedom to practice your religion.

Told ya my opinion was unpopular. But I appreciate the well-thought responses. I'm learning a lot.
Oh, and did I mention that hobo barbie (my sister) is a poly sci junkie?
Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]