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US Elections: Censorship Noises From Both Sides

The third and final debate of this election is over. How did the debate go? It was just about like the polls. All in all, the debate was considered a draw with Gore’s small lead over Bush being within the standard margin of error.

Many of the candidate’s answers were similar. This may not seem shocking until you realize that what the candidates agree on is the concept of censorship.

Americans, by and large, oppose censorship of any kind. The first amendment to our Constitution gives every American citizen the right to speak his or her mind on any issue. This tenant is arguably the very core of democracy. It is from the seed of this basic respect for individual freedom that the fruitful tree of the United States of America has grown.

There have been many attempts throughout history by evil men who tried to censor the speech of the citizenry. Hitler comes immediately to mind. In a notorious gesture, Hitler gathered and burned books, which he felt, weren’t proper for his citizenry to read. Is this the kind of power that we want to give our government? Do we let them decide all of what we can and can’t see?

A few things have changed since Hitler burned his books. For one thing, the Internet has revolutionized the distribution of information. In the last debate, Bush said that he wanted to censor Internet traffic that traveled over any server or net that receives any government funds. Shades of Stalin?

What bush is saying here is that when he is in charge, the greatest information tool in history will bow itself to his will. He and he alone will decide what can and cannot come over the Internet. He and he alone will be final judge, final book burner.

What horrifies me even more than Bush’s remarks were the ones made by Vice President Gore on the issue of censorship. Gore looked right into the eye of an audience member and swore to help the citizen “raise your children without all that garbage.” Garbage? Since when is information garbage? Granted, some objectionable material is available on the Internet. Some say too much such material.

However, this is the flipside of giving a free citizenry access to an unrestricted information distribution system. Some will abuse or improperly use this new freedom. Doe this mean that we should restrict the freedom of others? Of course not! Should we remove some of our citizen’s vocal chords if they say something that we don’t like? No!

Let me make clear that I do not support hate speech. We have the right to express ourselves, we do not have the right to kill or maim or harass our fellow citizens just because we differ in our ideology.

So where does all of this lead us? What is to be done now that both candidates have come out in support of censoring the Internet? Choosing between these two candidates in view of their recent comments is like going back to the days of the first printing press and being asked to vote for one of two men who both promise to destroy it. Its time for me to consider the libertarian party, God help them.

Todd Simpson
President
Mind Control Studios
todd@mindctrl.com
http://www.mindctrl.com

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