Bad All the Time

Dave Killion — January 29, 2012

At the Cato Institute’s new site “Libertarianism.Org“, Aaron Ross Powell points out “The Lesson the Tech Community Should Have Learned from SOPA” –

“Drawing on a recent example, the opponents of SOPA appear to have avoided the skeptical conclusion. Many of them are calling for increased regulation of political speech by way of campaign finance restrictions. How money and speech work within the byzantine rules of political campaigns is a field every bit as complex as name servers and Internet protocols. These same folks who laughed at the late Ted Stevens’ characterization of the Internet as “a series of tubes” have no problem ignoring their own ignorance when it comes to judging regulations outside their expertise…

…One hopes that next time a nice-sounding bill comes along (something like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), those millions of geeks who applied their expert knowledge to SOPA and found it wanting will look past the name, will recognize their own ignorance about the particular policy area, and will instead evince a heavy dose of libertarian skepticism. SOPA was not the exception to the rule. Instead, it was just how things are done in Washington.”

It is my sincere hope that many of the opponents of SOPA actually DID learn this lesson, and will use the awesome power of the internet to fact check proposed legislation in the future. I’ve seen arguments that younger people are increasingly impatient with one-size-fits-all regulation, and with the general unresponsiveness of government. Wouldn’t it be nice if that were the case!

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