SOPA/PIPA Protest Blackout

SOPA/PIPA Protest Blackout January 18, 2012

If I downloaded and activated the WordPress plug-in correctly, my website should go black from 8am-8pm Eastern Standard Time.

Why? Briefly, I think censorship is a terrible idea. Not only that, but it doesn’t work. Any time something becomes illegal, it simply goes underground and becomes more dangerous for everyone involved. The prohibition of alcohol in America in the 1920s didn’t work–it just led to the rise of organized crime and dangerous homemade alcohols. In places where abortion is illegal, women find ways to do it anyway and often pay with their lives. The “war on drugs” in the US is affecting lives in many countries, where drug cartels are benefiting from the underground trade and enforcing their regimes with violence. Need I go on?

Of course, not everything that’s censored is something that is potentially dangerous (this is why I’m in favor of legalizing drugs, so they can be regulated, taxed, and made more safe, because people will do them anyway; Portugal has had great luck with this policy). Books get censored because some group dislikes their message. Same with music and pretty much all art at some point. What is “appropriate” or “suitable” is highly subjective, which is another reason I’m quite wary of censorship.

Most laws, too, are subjective or relative to some degree. Very few laws are absolute and universal. Perhaps laws against killing and harming others come close–but then killing is institutionalized through war and the execution of criminals, so there are always exceptions. So when I see a law that says that certain kinds of reproduction/transmission of knowledge or music or movies are illegal? All it says to me is that in this day and age, certain corporate interests are being made into law. There’s nothing inherently good or evil about the situation. It’s a law because enough people (or a few people with enough money) think it’s a good idea that it’s a law. Not because it’s essentially good or right or  true.

This is why I support the protest blackout.


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