15 December 2011


I have not complained at all about SOPA here. This is not because I don't despise it. Quite the opposite; I have nothing good to say about it. Indeed, I have not even read someone else who has something good to say about it.

However, I do find it deeply amusing how many statists have come out of the woodwork screaming about the Government quashing freedom. People (*ahem*) are attacking SOPA as if this isn't standard operating procedure for the State.

(Above image from @petridishes' twitter feed. I have no whether she thinks SOPA is the exception of business as usual.)

I'd like to see some more people concluding their attacks on SOPA with "And this is a great example of why we can't trust Congress to control things" rather than "Don't pass this particular bill." How do you look at SOPA and conclude that you can't trust Congress to abridge free expression in the interests of protecting intellectual property, without also concluding can't trust them to abridge free expression in order to enact "campaign finance reform" or to silence those who believe in jury nullification, or who want to talk about national security letters?  How do you not reach the broader conclusions that Congress shouldn't be trusted with too much power over us?

Yes Virginia, SOPA is a way for Congress to empower a few people who they want to please at the expense of trampling the liberty of everyone else. But you could replace "SOPA" in the previous sentence with a thousand other laws and programs: TARP, bank bailouts, car bailouts, farm subsidies, Green jobs subsidies, sugar tariffs, ethanol subsidies, the Durbin amendment, transportation earmarks, the mortgage interest deduction, Fannie Mae, eminent domain, most zoning laws, and on and on and on. Don't act like SOPA is some kind of anomaly; this is what governments do.

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The Guardian | Chris McGreal | Military given go-ahead to detain US terrorist suspects without trial: Civil rights groups dismayed as Barack Obama abandons commitment to veto new security law contained in defence bill

Barack Obama has abandoned a commitment to veto a new security law that allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects arrested on US soil who could then be shipped to Guantánamo Bay.

Human rights groups accused the president of deserting his principles and disregarding the long-established principle that the military is not used in domestic policing. The legislation has also been strongly criticised by libertarians on the right angered at the stripping of individual rights for the duration of "a war that appears to have no end".
What. The. F.

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The legislation's supporters in Congress say it simply codifies existing practice, such as the indefinite detention of alleged terrorists at Guantánamo Bay.
What the hell is that supposed to mean? Seriously, so what if it's existing practice? If you're doing something bad, the appropriate response is not to legitimize it, it's to stop doing the bad thing.

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