Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nope-a to SOPA

Plenty of websites today (notably, and Wikipedia) are going black as a protest against some legislation currently snaking through Congress that is intended to curb online piracy. The legislation, in typical Congressitude, is well-intentioned but basically overreaching and likely to cause more harm than good, shutting down innocent websites without due process and severely curtailing the free and open spirit of the Internet. This is not remarkable--Congress is widely known for faux outrage, misunderstanding the consequences of what they enact, and having absolutely no idea how the real world works which is why they are in Congress. A team of gerbils with a dartboard is likely to pass better legislation than Congress, and yet Joe Lunchpail will always vote against Proposition 433 (the "Gerbils Are Our New Masters" Act).

What is remarkable is the coordinated and widespread outcry about the anti-piracy legislation, which is likely to cause its defeat. The government can detain people indefinitely without charges, it can launch drone strikes against U.S. citizens abroad without due process, and it can use tax dollars to basically buy U.S. automakers to hand over to the unions, and you hear a collective "meh" from the citizenry. But strike at our favorite websites, and you'll draw blood.

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