Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“It will require many long years of self-education until the subject can turn himself into the citizen. A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper. He must free himself from the habit, just as soon as something does not please him, of calling for the police.”     Ludwig von Mises,    Liberalism

March 17, 2006

Online Freedom of Speech Act — Delayed?

by Brad Warbiany

I posted about how important of a vote this was on Wednesday, in anticipation of it happening yesterday. Looks like the vote didn’t happen, and the House isn’t in session today. According to the schedule, this should be the first order of business on Monday.

Now, there are two possible explanations. It looks as though they were following the schedule, and that they may have simply run out of time. On the other hand, they could be stalling for a chance to let the lobbyists come in, so they can do some backroom negotiating between HR 4900 and HR 1606. It’s unclear which is occurring, but the added time gives our Congress the option of doing the latter, even if that was not the cause of the delay.

What’s the difference between the two? HR 1606 says the internet will be free from regulation under BCRA. HR 4900 says that the government has the legitimate purpose of regulating the internet, but tries to set the limits of regulation such that it won’t affect most individuals. As I do not recognize their right to limit freedom of speech in this area, I choose HR 1606. As I know that regulations have a tendency to widen over time, I also choose HR 1606, because I know that narrow regulations today will be wide regulations in the future. It’s time to make sure our Congresspeople know where we stand.

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  1. The whole spectacle of the the Congress debating who gets free speech protection and who doesn’t is appalling.

    The only value in either of these bills is if they generate a law suit that winds up killing McCain/Feingold.

    Comment by Stephen Macklin — March 17, 2006 @ 10:10 am
  2. Either bill, if passed, should be vetoed. Since the First Amendment prohibits any law abridging freedom of speech. We don’t need any laws on the subject whatsoever, the First Amendment takes care of the issue. Of course, that would assume that we actually believe the Constitution is anything other than a 220 year old document, which is apparently the only thing we, as a country, think it means any more.

    Comment by Eric — March 17, 2006 @ 1:20 pm
  3. Eric,
    They never should have passed McCain-Feingold, which is an abridgement of speech. But at the least, HR 1606 would help to protect speech. McCain-Feingold should have been vetoed, but considering it’s still standing, I’ll support every legislative chance we have to gut that piece of trash.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — March 17, 2006 @ 1:35 pm
  4. The problem is, we are accepting as legitimate the legislature’s right to make laws regulating freedom of speech. You have to take a stand somewhere.

    Comment by Eric — March 17, 2006 @ 1:43 pm
  5. Maybe so. The stand I make is that I simply won’t comply.

    If we want to make a stand with a veto, though, I’d prefer we stand on the side of stopping them from infringing on liberty, not on the side of upholding infringements on liberty.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — March 17, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

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