In My Right Mind

"We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking." - Mark Twain

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Location: Universal City, Texas, United States

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take away everything you have." - Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Government-Regulated Free Speech

What? Do you think this is still 1776? Surely, you don't think that you have speech that is free from governmental control? Are you kidding? Get Real!

At the risk of sounding like a "nutcase alarmist", if things go the way the Federal Election Committee (FEC) wants, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), formerly known as the McCain-Feingold Act, will be extended to the Internet. The main target will be bloggers with political content on their sites. This will mean government regulation of the Internet, (I can already hear the collective sighs of thousands, upon thousands of netizens in my mind’s ear). In particular, it wants government regulation of free speech on the Internet.

Of course, for starters, the government’s controlling tentacles would only be groping for control of those bloggers who post items with political content on their blogs. But, this only opens the door for later conquests of the Internet by the government. Once it has absorbed these bloggers into its collective control, it's just a matter of time before it turns its attention elsewhere. In the end, the government just might start to see the Internet as one giant opportunity of tax revenue windfall for for the taking.

I should hope not! The Internet has been, at least since its inception, a wonderful refuge from governmental interference. The exception to this has been in the case of the trafficking of child pornography. However, I think it is safe to say that most moral and decent netizens don't really mind the government's intrusion there. I mean really. Who, besides sick, perverted, criminals would argue for the protection of the trafficking and abuse of children from governmenal control?

All of that being said, what right does the federal government have to control a person's exercise of free speech on the Internet? Why is this even an issue to begin? Especially, in the "land of the free and of the brave"? I'll tell you why. It is in their best self-interest for politicians to protect their cherished positions of office. If they suppose for even one moment, that Internet bloggers might sway voters away from them, they will react with legislative vengeance to squash that threat - let the blogger's constitutional free speech rights be damned!

What's really perplexing to me is the fact that radio talk show hosts like, for instance, Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz, or radio programs like "Air America", or NPR, all have their freedom of speech protected from governmental interference. Heck, even all of the major news networks on television (ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, Fox News, PBS etc.) are safe from governmental control and scrutiny, (and don't even try to tell me that most of the media isn't partisan-biased toward the Democrat Party).

So, then why is it that the FEC wishes to focus on the ordinary, non-corporate netizen like me and other bloggers? So what if I favor one candidate or another? It is highly unlikely that someone as insignificant as me is actually going to influence elections anyway. I say, back off from my constitutional right of free speech!!!!

Just recently, the Supreme Court has managed to endanger our most basic right to ownership and control of personal private property . What's next? Freedom of speech? Then what? Do we all just sit back and watch as slowly, but surely, the rest of our constitutional rights are "watered down" and then finally taken from us?

You may think I'm "nuts" and that I am just over-reacting here. After all, surely the government would never do that! The government is in the business of protecting our freedom and rights. Right?

Not necessarily. It was the intention of our nation's founders that our nation's government be "by the people and for the people". But, I submit to you, that if we don't watch out, we can find ourselves servants to our government and not the other way around!


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