I have stated before that I do not like to use this forum for political opinion; I have another blog for that. But today seems to be the day when it would be acceptable and appropriate.
The internet is in an uproar over bills that are being pushed through Congress right now: the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. What could be wrong with that? Congress is very good at naming bills so that they appear beneficial. I am opposed to online piracy; I do not want my IP stolen. But here is the problem: just like so many other government actions over the last few decades, we are giving them too much power and not paying attention. We have allowed them to take control of our healthcare, control how we get a mortgage, how we pay for college, how we run a business, where a third (or more) of our income goes, etc, etc, etc, etc.
This behemoth of a government that we have allowed to be created is taking control of every part of our lives. Today the internet is up in arms because there is a potential threat to our precious blogs, but this is nothing new. They have been trying to incrementally take over segments of the internet and suppress free speech for some time. Campaign finance reform was the biggest recent example, but groups like MoveOn.org that are supporting this anti censorship movement were ok with that because it targeted groups with different ideology than them. The reality is that both conservatives and liberals are willing to give way too much control to the government as long as it supports their given agenda. Remember the words of Martin Niemoller?
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.
And don’f forget the ideology on which the former Soviet Union was based. Karl Marx was very clear in his Communist Manifesto that the government was to control the media. Plank number six of said document calls for the Centralization of the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the State. Are you ready for them to control what you can say and post?
Here is the bottom line: you need to pay attention to what your government is doing. They are eroding your freedoms faster than any time in history (assuming you are in the US). Check out the Stop American Censorship site. Please understand how hard it was for me to post that link. I am as far as you can get on the political spectrum from groups like MoveOn that support that site. But the important thing is that you educate yourself and form your own opinion. Don’t take my word for it and don’t blindly follow the dogma of any political organization. READ the bills in question and pay attention to what your government is doing.