Lewis' Blog Tales from the trenches of information technology

21Jan/125

SOPA / PIPA

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Orwell, George: Social Classes (1984)

George Orwell's diagram of the social classes from 1984.

If you happen upon this blog and are utterly clueless about the two acronyms comprising the title of this post, I strongly urge you to click the ribbon in the upper right corner of your browser window to learn more about these potentially disastrous pieces of flotsam...er...legislation.

The United States Congress cannot legislate - or more specifically, abridge our - Freedom of Speech; it has been guaranteed through our Constitution's First Amendment (1791).

Why is it, then, that such abuses of power take place so often, and with so little intervention on the part of the People?

Because, I think, the vast majority of the People are Proles (sheep).

Please do not be a Prole.

In Germany, in the 1930's, more people were as Proles. This did not lead to good things. Let not history repeat itself (yet again).

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  1. Lewis,

    I agree 100% in sentiment, but I do question why you equate the proles of 1984 with the sheeple. I read the book last in 1996, so feel free to point out any factual errors here.

    First of all, I remember a line indicating that if there was any hope, it lied in the proles. IMDB says that the movie had a similar quote. Secondly, I can certainly see a case made that the inner party had to be smart enough to realize they were pulling strings, and that their strings were being pulled. However, the outer party seemed like they were mostly in a sheeple like slumber, which if they were unfortunate to awaken from like Winston Smith, lead to very dire consequences thanks to the thought police.

    Now I can certainly see the matter other ways. Winston briefly found his  neighbor, a very devout outer party member, a cell mate, so perhaps the outer party intrinsically were incapable of being sheep since there were making the sausage, so had to be periodically purged. However, I digress.

    We won the battle, but after the election cycle another bill will arise from the ashes of the SOPA/PIPA. I read this nice explanation as why were gonna have to play the game and hire our own lobbyists (I’ve not read any comments on that page, but I should). Then I sat there and though about it.

    We’ll continue to fight back. Enough people are watching now to make sure of that. Google, Microsoft, Facebook and the VC firms will spend more on lobbying. However, what will win the battle is the black swans.. Maybe it will be a kickstarter  like lobbyist firm/think tank where we all throw money at this. Maybe someone that understands the internet will run for office, then learn, use and abuse the parliamentarian rules of the senate in ways that Robert KKK Byrd only dreamed up. However, I do know that protesting, and lobbying is just trench warfare, and we need a nuclear bomb.

    I’m not saying leave the trenches. We need to keep it up. I went to the NY protest on the 18th, and went to the NJ protest on Friday despite PIPA already being postponed that weekend. I’m just saying, just like no one saw a DARPA project to make a network that could survive a nuclear war become what it is today, whatever will win this war will be another game changer.

    • Good comments; all.

      I consider Orwell a personal favorite of mine, and 1984 one of my all-time favorite pieces of literature. You might want to have a look at this entry from Orwell Today.

      The Proles weren’t always proles. They became that way when the Party came to power, or rather, when they allowed the Party to come to power. Once they ceded all responsibility to the Party (what we – I refer to myself in this context as in “we conservatives” – consider the “Cradle-to-Grave Mentality”), their opinions no longer mattered. They lost the will to stand up, and thus, became how they were portrayed in 1984.

      I would argue that We the People allowed this to come to this point in the last Presidential election cycle, and what we are seeing now is a natural extension of this erosion of personal liberties. It will continue, just like (if left unchecked) hand held cell phone laws will evolve to extend to all speech in a moving vehicle, just as seat belt laws have become commonplace. All of these things – fraught with good intentions – just whittle away at our Freedom. If I want to ride a bicycle without a helmet, that’s my choice. If I die on that bicycle, it is/was still my choice and any risk is/was my responsibility. If my 14-year-old rides without a helmet, I am held criminally responsible. Why? It’s the same argument. I should have the Freedom to decide what is best for my child, and yet, the Government has taken that freedom from me, under the guise that It (the Party) knows better.

      So it is with SOPA/PIPA.

      So we become like Proles, to the point where our opinions not only no longer matter, but are no longer allowed to be expressed. Such is the way with all totalitarian regimes.

      This is not a political blog, and while I hold very strong conservative ideals, I do not want this particular blog to become a place where my regular readers – across the political spectrum, I’m sure – might feel uncomfortable or somehow unwelcome. When the time comes that I feel the need to start a political blog of my own (right now, I fear there are simply too many voices shouting too loudly for mine to be heard), I’ll do so. Meanwhile, thanks for standing up, Justin, and for your salient comments and links.

  2. Thanks, Justin. However, after reading the full text of CISPA (H.R. 3523), I’m not convinced that the wording is so broad as to pose a privacy issue for those who are careful about the information they volunteer. That said, I don’t have sufficient time at the moment (time at the moment…isn’t that some sort of oxymoron?) to fully consider the ramifications of the definition of “cyber threat intelligence” as proposed in the bill, and I think that is the crux of the matter.


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