Take my liberty, just don’t take my internet! (OPINION)

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Dallas Hyland is a developing columnist for St. George News and blogs as The Amateur Broad Thinker. The opinions stated in this article are solely his own and not those of St. George News.

It appears the protesting and website blackouts are having the desired affect of halting, if for at least the time being, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Internet Privacy Act.

What a difference a little collective action can make.

I would like to herald the patriotic rhetoric of all who opposed these bills so vehemently and offer up a hardy “well done” but I find myself cynical of the motives behind the opposition.

Was it really the atrociously vague language in these pieces of legislation, language that guised protecting the best interest of the American public in a blatant attempt to administer yet even more social controls, that brought about such solidarity in purpose to halt these acts from getting through?

I think not.

If this were so, then that very same American public would have acted in a like-minded rally cry to halt the recent passing of the National Defense Authorization Act. NDAA virtually and quite literally changed the scope of constitutional rights for American citizens forever and passed with little less than a hiccup from the public.

What was so scary about SOPA and PIPA in relation to the NDAA was the fact that, in so much as the NDAA secured government authority to act autonomously and without checks and balances, SOPA and PIPA would secure government’s ability to do so without being observed or reported about.

I would like to believe the American public saw the potential of this pattern set forth by our legislators and recognized it for the tyrannous and fascist bit of self-preserving behavior it really was, but the truth of it is quite contradictory to this.

The truth is the American public let the NDAA pass without much dissent because they could not see how it affected them directly but SOPA and PIPA stood to infringe on their favorite creature comfort: the internet.

And it was not the infringement of civil liberties that got them up in arms. It was the daunting prospect of not being able to get on a search engine and get the latest celebrity sleuth. It was the prospect of not being able to shop online any way they liked.

It is as if the public was saying: “Take our liberty, fine. But don’t you touch our vices. That just will not be tolerated.”

We might well see a victory achieved over SOPA and PIPA, albeit for whatever reason. But they will be back.

And what we learned about the American public as a whole is sorely disappointing.

See you out there.

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1 Comment

  • andy January 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I believe it to be a testament to just how powerful mainstream media is.
    The people reacted with tenacity because Google, Wikipedia and others told them just how bad it was going to be. They forced the truth “part of it any way” down the general public’s sleeping throats.
    The concentrated effort was made by large technology firms.
    That was the real trigger to the events that unfolded.
    Just a thought

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