Wednesday, January 18, 2012

NDAA, SOPA, PIPA, MPAA, RIAA, and Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

18 January 2012 was an historic day, mark my words:
WE THE PEOPLE spoke with unequivocal clarity: 
     Yoh! Government! Butt Out!
There is a clear, dangerous, and hideous trend here:
  • NDAA: Elimination of habeas corpus protection, after 900 years
    • Elimination of due process: arbitrary website shutdowns on suspicion of malfeasance broadly defined
    • Redirection of web access ("DNS" filtering): effectively reporting you to authorities for even trying to access certain websites
I won't sea-lawyer the details here, there are plenty of other sites that explore all the niceties. If you don't know the acronyms then Google and Wiki-dive when you can. 
The point is that there is a collusion afoot between our elected representatives and big business "content vendors" (MPAA, RIAA) to restrict our historically defended (um, with blood, need I remind you) rights to freedom of body, speech, privacy, and spirit.
So what can you do?
MAKE A NOISE. Complain. Write. Join. Post. 
If you just let it happen, if you insist on being politically correct, you have no one to blame but yourself. That is what happened in Germany in the 1930s.
Anyone who is purposely trying to hurt you is NOT your friend. Not family, not associates, especially not politicians.
As for the MPAA, RIAA, News of the World, all the "Times", and the newspaper industry in general, consider the following:
  • Studies have shown that if someone likes a product they'll usually end up paying for it. That certainly goes for me.
  • On the other hand, I don't pay for trash.
  • Most of the movies out there are trash. Violence, foul language, stress... who needs it? 
  • Packaging a ton of trash with the one good song is common recording industry practice. If you want the one good song you have to pay for all the trash you don't want.
London Times does the equivalent. You have to buy an entire week of papers to get Internet access to their site. I don't have time to read all that trash!! So I canceled my subscription, and haven't missed it a day.
I can go on and on. But the bottom line is that most people are decent. The people they are trying to get with these measures will find another way and most are just doing for fun or bragging rights anyhow. So they are cutting off their noses to spite their faces.
And when you do that at the expense of my freedom, liberty, and privacy, then I get mad.
Fighting mad.
And not just I.
As for actual measures to fix the problem:
Term Limits
We need to change the kind of people that are drawn to elected Government positions.  That means changing the system fundamentally from risk-averse to risk-prone people. People willing to stand up and strike out.
Like me.
But people like that will burn out. So they won't stand for the twenty or so years it takes to get into a position in which you can actually accomplish something.
So the system needs to change to let people like me get in, fix things, and get out.
And that means TERM LIMITS. Three strikes and you're out:
  • First term to figure out what's happening
  • Second term to actually try to do something
  • Third term to start to become cynical and conniving.
And that's it, bubba, home for you.
It's no coincidence that that is why the military typically limits tours to three years. It works for action- and results-oriented people.
Make a noise: write your representatives, post to your friends and the web. Do Something!
If not, you have only yourself to blame.

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