In preserving all human rights, especially those having to do with privacy of person and sexual freedom, free access to the unfettered communications of the Internet is crucial. The Internet is the circulatory system of the body politic, and the world’s only hope for true pluralism.
Any and all attempts to restrict or dismember the Internet and its uses must be met by an army of us willing to lay down our lives to make sure these attempts fail. Think of young Bradley Manning, who thought that transparency to bring alleged government corruption to the attention of a whistleblower was something he was willing to go to prison for. Very unfortunately, he has been in solitary confinement and suffered other loathsome, cruel, and unusual punishment at the hands of the U.S. government (latest updates, plus).
The hackerverse is populated with tens of thousands of young people like Bradley who are the world’s free speech heroes. They are not letting lawmakers interfere with Internet freedom with flawed legislation such as SOPA, PIPA, or the White House’s proposed Online Privacy Bill of Rights, or let stand any restrictions on constitutional freedoms on religious grounds. (Here is more information on the Stop Online Piracy Act/SOPA, the Protect IP Act/PIPA, and more.)
Most important, the freeway of the Internet is the only mechanism whereby the voiceless have a voice, and for that reason alone, all of us must keep a watchful eye on anything that would interfere with the free flow of information.
The reasons that politicians try to interfere with Internet freedom are not very pretty, and are often stupid. For example, christianists in Congress want to invade the privacy of everyone who views pornography. Others would like to see all pornography removed from the Internet.
Ironically, that very industry, pornography, made possible the early exponential growth of the Internet that turned out to have been instrumental in fueling the rapid expansion of the technology throughout the world. These self-appointed politicians think that all adults shouldn’t be allowed to view porn, but again ironically, these very politicians represent their own personal statistical cohort group in the American South, the so-called “Bible Belt,” a population which watches the most pornography and breeds America’s backward abstinence-only sex education leading to the highest rates of STDs and teen pregnancy. The Bible Belt has the highest divorce rates in the country, too, despite its “religiosity.” That has to tell us they are doing something wrong, but it doesn’t penetrate because their minds because they are so busy condemning the rest of us. Sad, sad, and sadder.
Will this opposition ever abandon their egocentric greed for personal and institutional power? Will they ever choose to live and let live? Or will they be content to be known for all time as just another bunch of ignorant and backward yokels who arrogantly assume the name of god in vain, as they try and fail to put freedom in a corner under their control?
Help us watch these people like hawks and make sure they keep their creepy hands off our inter webs.
Editor’s note: This is one of a series of position papers Dan Massey and I are creating and will soon index on our home page. They briefly explore the evolution of our points of view about a range of issues related to sex, gender, and racial freedom. Your feedback is always welcome.
Creative Commons image: Source
Creative Commons image: Source