Thanks in part to sensational media reports, websites such as MySpace.com have gotten a reputation for attracting various kooks such as pedophiles and other nefarious miscreants
Now to make them look like they are doing something, the House of Representatives is considering a bill that would make it illegal to access networking sites such as MySpace.com from a school or library.
While it can be hard to counter the Mrs. Lovejoy from The Simpsons screech of, "But think of the children!", why is this any of Congress’ business?
Individual schools and library boards should be free to adopt policies as they see fit regarding these technologies; that is after all, one of the beauties of a little thing called federalism.
However, one cannot really get around that little clause in the First Amendment declaring, “Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech”. Should be rather self-explanatory.
Those already conditioned to enthusiastically embrace control of their lives by various government institutions and social elites will counter, “But this medium can still be accessed from private domiciles.”
But if one ends up molested, does it really matter from behind what electronic rock one was leapt upon by a predator? Therefore, once these mandated regulations have been accepted throughout schools and libraries, it won’t be long until do-gooder activists begin to insist that the Internet presents too much of a danger to allow common citizens access to sites produced by other average citizens; thus we will only be granted access to information made available by government licensed data providers.
From comments made by those in government and mainstream journalism about citizen media, one is given pause to wonder if the issue is really about protecting the innocence of children or rather about suppressing technologies having the potential to undermine the stranglehold on opinion these institutions once enjoyed. For they have certainly done very little to clean up television.
When it comes to public complaints about the filth broadcast over the airwaves or found in books, liberals admonish the concerned that it is up to individual parents to turn off the TV or to monitor what their children might be reading (though interestingly, they do not have the right according to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to be the sole arbiter of what their offspring are taught about human procreation). So why is it Congress’ responsibility rather than the result of deficient parenting when an adolescent places every sordid detail of their lives on the Internet for the entire world to see?
Even a number of prominent Conservatives have come out against Internet media in the hands of private citizens. Cal Thomas, in a column titled “The Blog That Ate Real Journalism”, laments the rise of the blogosphere, claiming that a united people must all sup from the same news source (I wonder though if his concern is more that there are those of us that do for free something similar to what he is paid a handsome salary for) and that you are basically too stupid yourself to determine whether or not a particular story is credible.
Americans valuing liberty and freedom might be shocked to learn of the similarity of warnings as to why MySpace usage must be curbed not by personal restraint and individual discernment but rather through national legislation and those promulgated in Communist countries as to why information technology must be kept from the hands of common people.
In the Soviet Union, typewriters had to be registered with the State so as to prevent their misuse in the spread of counterrevolutionary ideas. Likewise, here in our own time, the Red Chinese carefully monitor Internet use of the enslaved population living under the scrutiny of that dictatorship out of concern for “unhealthy” material.
Books can be used to spread porn and licentious ideas as well. Will Congress move next to shutdown libraries?
As with books, computers and software applications are morally neutral and simply take on the ethical characteristics of those utilizing them. If there are problems arising from the use of this technology, the fault lies with oversexualized youth and the aging perverts too eager to assist them in their slide into iniquity.
If Congress is so enthusiastic about protecting the American people from a bunch of old crooks, shysters, and deviants, perhaps they should put themselves out of business.
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. Frederick holds a BS in Political Science/History, a MA in Apologetics/Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a PhD. in Christian Apologetics from Newburgh Theological Seminary.