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

“Without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.”     John Adams

January 13, 2009

Quote Of The Day

by Brad Warbiany

Over at Reason: Hit & Run, Nick Gillespie on the regulation of the internet:

One trend that’s making a comeback with the Obama ascendancy is the need for smart folks not to regulate the Net per se, but to, you know, come up with better rules that will help make sure that everything that’s so super-duper about cyberspace stays that way

A classic argument for regulation is when something in the structure of the market leads to negative consequences. In the case of the internet, that’s not a valid argument*, because the internet is extremely dynamic, quite popular, and constantly meeting new needs of its users.

So what’s the argument for regulating the Internet? “If we don’t regulate now, it could become a lot worse!” Oooh, scary! I happen to believe that if you regulate now, you’re guaranteed to make it worse.

* PS – There is the argument, in the case of porn, that the internet could be a trafficking engine for illegal and deplorable content. Whether you believe that is just cause for regulation of the ‘net is a different argument, and one I’d like to suspend from this discussion.

TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2009/01/13/quote-of-the-day-37/trackback/
Read more posts from
• • •

6 Comments

  1. Well let me be the first to propose that we allow, NAY DEMAND!, that the government regulate the human heart. The number and timing of beats each human is allowed per day must be controlled.

    After all a thing as vital as the human heart cannot be allowed to operate on it’s own. What if it missed a beat?

    Comment by persnickety curmudgeon — January 13, 2009 @ 9:29 am
  2. You guys should look at what forms of government meddling we have to put up with in Australia.

    The current government is already trialling a proposed internet filtering scheme which, if successful, we be mandatory for all ISPs in the country.

    There are already harsh laws against online child-porn or child-abuse.

    An elderly man with a heart condition was arrested because he re-posted a video where a father shook a baby *slightly* aggressively to make the baby laugh, which child welfare groups described as child abuse. We’ve already had someone arrested for posting digital photos of a beach where there were topless /semi-clothed children.

    The internet = a peaceful, non coercive, exchange of information and speech. Government’s hate it.

    Comment by Jono — January 13, 2009 @ 5:03 pm
  3. The problem with the internet is that it sucks.
    A more unreliable organ could scarcely be imagined. And it’s mostly an anonymous vehicle for spreading falsehoods, manipulating stocks , etc, in which no one takes responsibility for their actions. I don’t want to regulate the internet, per se – just make it transparent so that we know who said what, when, and always have the opportunity to correct the million and one errors that are spawned on the internet every hour of every day.

    Comment by kent beuchert — January 13, 2009 @ 7:45 pm
  4. I don’t want to regulate the internet, per se – just make it transparent so that we know who said what, when, and always have the opportunity to correct the million and one errors that are spawned on the internet every hour of every day.

    Doesn’t this happen every day in face-to-face conversations? Do you always know who you’re talking to and if what they say is correct? Don’t you have to evaluate each conversation based on the speaker and context?

    True, you often know the name of the person you’re speaking with, but do you always know? Can strangers lie to you? Can friends?

    In the face-to-face world, I suppose government could mandate having name tags or badges on everyone listing his or her credentials and maybe laws forbidding conversations where the participant is informed or could misrepresent the topic. Obviously, this was not your point. But as absurd as it sounds, what’s the difference if the medium is the Internet?

    On both the Internet and in the physical world, we can choose be responsible consumers of the information we’re offered, or we can believe everything we read and hear.

    In any domain, I think it’s far more likely that governmental control will not be able to guarantee absolutely reliable truth, and add more intrusions, restrictions, and stifling of communication. It’s no doubt why the American constitution placed this as the very first Amendment – to redundantly and explicitly state that the government has no business in this arena.

    Comment by Akston — January 13, 2009 @ 9:20 pm
  5. …laws forbidding conversations where the participant is misinformed…

    Comment by Akston — January 13, 2009 @ 9:38 pm
  6. The problem with the internet is that it sucks.
    A more unreliable organ could scarcely be imagined. And it’s mostly an anonymous vehicle for spreading falsehoods, manipulating stocks , etc, in which no one takes responsibility for their actions. I don’t want to regulate the internet, per se – just make it transparent so that we know who said what, when, and always have the opportunity to correct the million and one errors that are spawned on the internet every hour of every day.
    Comment by kent beuchert — January 13, 2009 @ 7:45 pm “

    Considering this comment is coming from someone infamous for spamming the comments section of thousands of articles discussing electric cars with…well, read them for yourself. Google “Kent Beuchert” and prepared to be amazed.

    Personally, I think the internet should be free and unregulated and human beings should try to evolve to deal with it.

    Comment by Guildenstern — January 14, 2009 @ 9:14 pm

Comments RSS

Subscribe without commenting

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by: WordPress • Template by: Eric • Banner #1, #3, #4 by Stephen Macklin • Banner #2 by Mark RaynerXML