What does the word ‘conservative’ mean? To me, when speaking in terms of a politician running for office and representing themselves as a conservative, it means someone who will conserve (or protect) the principles of the US Constitution. (I believe this is also how Mark Levin defines the word)
People I run into within the Republican party and Tea Party are generally very eager to represent themselves as being a ‘conservative’. I take issue with this when I find out the very same people are eager to have government (especially the federal government) take care of whatever issue makes it to their top-10 list of problems. Here is a good example of this in the area of Internet Freedom.
In December, I was in the audience of a town hall meeting of state representatives Jodie Laubenberg and Jeff Leach. A question was asked by Barnett Walker in the audience if either of them would support legislation to prevent porn from coming into his house via the Internet. It was my observation that both of the representatives supported this. This is a huge red flag for me because it is Internet censorship, by way of the force of government. The federal government wants very badly to control and regulate the Internet, and they have been trying to accomplish this in all kinds of different ways. The truth is that every form of communication that has come out since the first amendment was ratified is being controlled, regulated, and manipulated (not-improved) by government interaction. I feel very strongly that the Internet should and must be kept free (as in freedom).
That night I noticed Barnett had tweeted about the town hall, so I fired off a tweet to him asking about it. Over a month passed before he responded. He seems to consider his connection to the Internet to be similar to his cable TV connection. He clearly suggests that some sort of intermediary filter system be put in place between his home and ‘the Internet’ and selective content that he opts in for would be allowed to pass through to his house. It is also clear he wants this to be put in place by using the force of government.
I realize the Internet is not a collection of ‘cable TV-like channels’, but is instead a virtual world of virtual places, and the user is the one who actually has to initiate ‘going’ to the places, but I don’t know how extensive his technical understanding is. I’m most interested that someone who claims themselves to be a conservative eagerly wants government to somehow intervene and filter Internet content, even though content filtering can already be accomplished by other means. He defines ‘choice’ as being able to pick between the government-filtered ‘things’ that would be left over after this massive restructuring of the Internet was complete. Didn’t he already make the choice to plug in this massive human communication free-for-all network called the Internet to his house? I’m not sure how I can have this conversation in 140 characters or less, so I fire off the following tweets to him:
So I hope to keep the conversation going. I think any type of government tinkering or interference with the Internet is a terrible idea. I think the free market can provide any needed solution much better and more more fairly than the government will. I can agree that preventing porn from entering a home with children in it is a good idea; Just because it is a good idea does not mean government should be doing it.