The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Will Future Historians View SOPA As A Bridge Too Far?

Posted on | January 20, 2012 | 27 Comments

by Smitty

The whole notion of crushing the many in the name of the few is looking old and busted these days. Paul Hsieh offers a great roundup at PJ Media:

Steve Blank offered this analogy: “It’s as if someone shoplifts in your store, SOPA allows the government to shut down your store.”
But even though SOPA proponents in Congress appear to be backing down in the face of public pressure, the legislation is not yet dead but merely temporarily “shelved.” The Senate version, Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), is still very much alive.

Rule 5 celebrates the abysmal pun.

This blog has been concerned about Pippa, and rejoices at this news.

But is saving the world from online piracy enough, alongside the efforts to stop global warming and the Keystone XL pipeline? In addition to offering a world where the internet saves the masses from piracy, the government should also be saving us from poverty, don’t you know?

The implicit assumption driving the income inequality debate is that a decent life is one where your neighbor doesn’t have too much more than you do. The problem with this formulation is that if it’s true, then government can’t create a decent life for its citizens by raising their standard of living through government handouts.
When “a decent life” is defined as one where no one is allowed to have “too much” (too much income, too much profit, too much of anything), the only way to deliver a decent life is to reduce everyone to the same level.

As the ancient commenter from Nazareth noted: “For ye have the poor always with you. . .” I’m still trying to work out how the people who are so concerned with tolerance cannot tolerate private property. Somehow, rather than actual concern for the poor, I surmise it has more to do with political power. There is much power to be garnered from triggering crises, and then riding to the rescue, as Rahm Emanuel will tell you.

So, what are we to make of Bob Beckel’s admission that creating dependency upon government was a terrible mistake? My long-term contention is that this here internet is going to lead to the realization of the Founder’s dream of limited government. Too many people are realizing that the merely 71-page legislation is a bucket of tripe; that the Information Age should be enhancing liberty, not crushing it, and that all of the income inequality/99% hooey is nothing more than Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield for #OccupyResoluteDesk’s re-election effort.


27 Responses to “Will Future Historians View SOPA As A Bridge Too Far?”

  1. Bob Belvedere
    January 20th, 2012 @ 9:45 am

    I don’t know how you remain so optimistic, Admiral.

  2. Anonymous
    January 20th, 2012 @ 10:04 am

    My long-term contention is that this here internet is going to lead to the realization of the Founder’s dream of limited government.

    Scott Adams has been saying that we need a “national dashboard” which could be used to effectively inform the populace and basically conduct constant plebiscites.  It’s an interesting idea, since, as he says, the Internet could enable such a thing.There are obvious problems, like security, not to mention the issues with direct democracy itself.  OTOH, getting the citizenry more involved seems like a Good Thing, given the general apathy.I’ve been reading the Federalist Papers (slowly), and one thing that’s occurred to me is the difference in the way we think about Faction and the way they did back then.  So much of the Federalist argument is based on each state effectively forming its own faction as to prevent really stupid alliances.   (Additionally, you’d get big vs little state, slave vs free, etc.)In an age where communication couldn’t travel faster than horses, this seems like a reasonable state of affairs.  Obviously, today, people in many states are easily united around non-local causes.  Telegraph, radio, TV and now the Internet have made this easier and easier, and while the two party system has so far benefited from this, maybe the increasing fragmentation will eventually spill over into political organization.  Or not.OK…that’s probably gone far enough OT and into rambling for now…

  3. richard mcenroe
    January 20th, 2012 @ 11:05 am

    They might, but if you quote them your IP will get charged…

  4. Anonymous
    January 20th, 2012 @ 11:49 am
  5. Anonymous
    January 20th, 2012 @ 11:50 am

    Lefties are upset that GOP lawmakers are listening to voters, but Democratic lawmakers are not (they listen to lobbyists promoting SOPA).  

  6. htowt
    January 20th, 2012 @ 12:45 pm


    I’ve become increasingly convinced that Authoritarianism is the key to understanding political events.

    You take an ideal concept (Internet fairness, climate control, ending poverty) and assign an adversary (Americans, Republicans, Evangelicals) and PRESTO! You’ve got a political movement ready to go.  The goal of the movement is always Authoritarianism for the controlling elite, but the followers don’t get it.  They are misled by philosophical purity and devotion to cause.  Not until they start getting glimpses behind the curtain does true understanding occur.

    All metaphoring aside, you pesky bloggers who keep blowing aside the curtains of Authoritarianism are providing a clarity we all seek.  Thank You!

  7. Anamika
    January 20th, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

    In Portland I read there’s a new ‘Bud Clark Commons’ multi– million dollar building — experimental for the most vulnerable 137 homeless. Homeless experts from all over the place are scoffing, but it sure is helping a few with free rent & food, mental health facilities, drugs & treatments, & classes in self-expression, like ‘arts & crafts’ & ‘crocheting’. It’s controversial because it’s a “wet” environment — meaning that they-all can keep drinking &/or drug abusing all they want. It’s up to them to change, of course. And there have been a few suicides. And some just keep their “stuff” there & still go sleep on the streets; go figure.

  8. Ladd Ehlinger Jr.
    January 20th, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

    and that all of the income inequality/99% hooey is nothing more than Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield for #OccupyResoluteDesk’s re-election effort.”

    Why is it I’m always a few months ahead of you guys? 🙂

  9. Anamika
    January 20th, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

    One could argue that the criticism of OWS movement is mainly from those desiring to continue
    a society divided into “rich” and “poor” so the former can exploit the latter. The church needs the poor as a goad for the blessings of an afterlife, after a life of servitude and misery so is against, as well.

  10. Anonymous
    January 20th, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

    Indeed, if one wanted to be wrong and ignorant but bathed in the righteousness of one’s ideological dogma, that’s just the sort of argument one could pursue.

    The argument would be wrong, of course, but that’s never stopped an argument before.

  11. Anamika
    January 20th, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

    I’ve become increasingly convinced that Authoritarianism is the key to understanding political events.

    But… the deepest and last vestiges of worst aspect of human nature, is called sentimentality; and this is not known as such, but is instead praised as proof of ‘feeling vulnerability’. It is in fact the root of human authoritarianism, which falsely uses ‘love’ as justification for control-of-others (including pet ‘ownership’).

    Western culture is deeply polluted by Disney-version visions of human/animal relationships as being properly sentimental by design; and so, we see how ingrained is the substitution of sentimentality for love, and how it is that by lack of love, ownership (of all kinds) now dominates, and that control/slavery continues on as a primary component of our cultures. 

    Contemporary humans, denuded of love for the convenience of dominator-society traditions of absolute control-of-other, confusedly embrace ‘capital punishment’ as the highest example of human justice; and this odious ‘tradition’ of defective reasoning, is the giving-over of ‘ownership’ of self to the others who indeed hold ‘us all’ in the death-grip of absolute control.

    Woe be unto the one who suddenly ‘sees’ this; for there be no refuge from it, other than surrender to the ‘existing order’.

    Humans have… pruned from their minds, thoughts and speech, any words and concepts which of themselves, would tend to invalidate the absolute control of human, by human; and this expedient of deep and unconscious censorship, is our heritage, which we pass on to our children, to keep them from the sort of harm suffered by Jesus H Christ, as a result of his cage-rattling behaviour.

  12. Adjoran
    January 20th, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

    There are plenty of Republicans in Hollywood’s pocket, too – especially Lamar Smith, normally a dependable conservative vote.

  13. Adjoran
    January 20th, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    While authoritarians would surely eventually use the framework to limit free speech, the impetus behind the legislation is the entertainment industry.  They were lazy and stupid and failed to adjust their business model to account for the new technology, so obviously everyone else must be made to suffer – and pay.

    Their method of buying enough of Congress to do so has served them well in the past.  This is why a new wonder drug, perfected at a cost of millions in research and years of testing, earns its inventor a maximum of fourteen years of patent protection, while a cartoon mouse wins property rights for its artist’s heirs and assigns for 75 years after his death. 

  14. Adjoran
    January 20th, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

    Yes, you’re right, we never had house pets before Disney – NOT.

    You are a classic example of a wasted education.  Society would have been better off sending you off to learn a trade, preferably in the “developing world.”

  15. republicanmother
    January 20th, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

    What I find hilarious is that this filesharing software was promoted and circulated by CBS/Disney etc. over the past decade and all of the sudden, it’s bad enough to need a law consolidating control of the internet.
    Can you say Hegelian Dialectic?

  16. Anamika
    January 20th, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

    Re. Adjoran

    To ‘own’ a pet, is to externalize the very disciplines which we as human, have accepted as necessary for our own socialization. We expect our ‘pets’ to withold their shit until safely outdoors, and then, to use the yard of a neighbor, or the parklands, as their toilet; and we feel justified in forcing upon them, the same sorts of ridiculous strictures which we assume are the ‘good morals’ of human society. Cats are punished for stalking and eating birds, in the same manner that children are punished for taking candy from a store, without paying for it first. 

    It is this very layer of sentimentality, which is the barrier which prevents full maturation of the human, ‘on time’ with biological maturity; and so, it is also responsible for the ‘necessity’ of so-called ‘capital punishment’, called forth in cases of extreme immaturity; and yet, this is not seen, but by a few, whose voices are an affront to the top monkeys of our dominator-culture. Humans have deployed in every case, stop-gaps, rather than allow the natural evolution of their nature; and it is this tragic situation, and the violence it engenders, which gives rise to ideas of ‘non-violence’. 

    Human individuals are by nature, dangerous animals; and our social pacts, designed to subdue this danger, inadvertantly engender higher levels of violence, such as ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘religious wars’.

    It is our failure to notice our own animal nature, or our egoistic denial of it, which underlies all of our social ‘problems’. Humans will never admit to their own animal nature, for as long as they assume ‘ownership’ of animals is proper and good. And humans will not cease being cruel to animals, until they realize the cruelties they inflict upon themselves, in the name of social-cohesion-as-imperative.

  17. Anamika
    January 20th, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

    The shortcomings of all 20th century forms of government are apparent enough. Summarized, elected authoritarianism, valid for the former Soviet Union too.

    That the idea of creating a system
    whereby the best of all systems is incorporated into one
    has quite an appeal….whereby people can be as innovative, productive
    and creative as they’re inclined to be,
    and at the same time, where all people can
    enjoy the basic necessities of life.

    The key, no separation between “my” interests and those of “society at large”.

    You are a classic example of a wasted education.  Society would have
    been better off sending you off to learn a trade, preferably in the
    “developing world.”

    The basic requirements are upbringing and education. Brought up in an ambiance of love and caring, the  issue of dumping the elderly in expensive institutions doesn’t arise, nor are there children without family care when parents have to work. In some 3rd world countries such structures still work, in the West they were abandoned to make more $$$.

  18. smitty
    January 20th, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

    The key, no separation between “my” interests and those of “society at large”.

    So, you seek an ant colony, then?

  19. Anamika
    January 20th, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

    So, you seek an ant colony, then?

    The cohesiveness of a society or country relies on the individuals “buying” into the group dream.

    I don’t respect the individual ants for doing their job and I don’t respect the colony.

    But I think they are fascinating.

  20. Anamika
    January 20th, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

    So, you seek an ant colony, then?

    The cohesiveness of a society or country relies on the individuals “buying” into the group dream. 

    I don’t respect the individual ants for doing their job and I don’t respect the colony. 

    But I think they are fascinating.

  21. Bob Belvedere
    January 20th, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

    I hate plumbers who talk too much.

  22. Bob Belvedere
    January 20th, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

    Dead solid perfect.

    Copyright Laws have become a joke.  The whole
    purpose is for the inventors/creators to reap the benefit for a short period of time to make inventing/creating worthwhile.  Then, after said time, to allow the public to reap the benefit by the product/work going into the public domain, allowing it’s free use for others to build on and invent/create more things that benefit America.

    The Entertainment Industry has destroyed this wonderful balance and I take immense pleasure in watching them get screwed.  And I say this as someone who has the copyrights on dozens of songs.  

  23. Anonymous
    January 20th, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

    I feel like I’m back reading that essay about deconstruction.  I must say, viewed in this light, the Anamika posts are amusing.

  24. smitty
    January 20th, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

    individuals “buying”

    So, are you for liberty, or against it?

  25. Anonymous
    January 20th, 2012 @ 6:58 pm
  26. Quartermaster
    January 20th, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

    Oh yes. I have the feeling the RIAA and MPAA are going to lose this battle in both short and long term. Their members let the Genie out of the bottle and it ain’t going back in.

    It is hilarious.

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