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Vigil for the Intertracks

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Since the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has stalled in the face of a popular uprising, I am stealing* this description:

The soft leftists are realizing the hard leftists meant what they said.

(*If I remembered where I read it, I would happily give credit.)

When we give government some power, we must expect it will use that power:

As for all of the people out there on the internet having a massive freak out about the government potentially damaging something they love… WELCOME TO THE PARTY.

You think this is something new or unusual? Nope. This is just about a topic that you happen to be familiar with. If you fall into that camp, I want you to take a deep breath, step back, and examine all of the other issues in the past that you didn’t know jack squat about, but your knee jerk reaction was to say “there’s a problem, the government has to do something!” Well guess what? The crap the federal government usually comes up with to fix these problems is similar to SOPA. In other words, the legislation addresses a perceived problem by instituting a bunch of stupid overregulation and taking away someone’s freedom. 

You think people need access to affordable medical care and shouldn’t be denied coverage? Well, you got used and we got the bloated ridiculous mess that is Obamacare. You saw a news report about how big business defrauded people and said congress should do something? Well, everyone in the business world got screwed because of Enron by completely useless new arbitrary crap laws, and a few years later we got into an even bigger financial crisis which the arbitrary crap laws we spent billions conforming to did nothing to prevent. No, because that financial crisis was caused by people saying that there was this huge problem that needed to be fixed, so more people who couldn’t afford to pay mortgages could still buy houses, and the government simply had to do something to fix this problem!

Any crisis… Any problem… You ask the feds to fix it, you get this kind of answer. Almost never do the laws fix the actual problem. Instead the government gets bigger and gains a few more powers and it doesn’t fix the issue. When the problem gets bigger, then the government gets bigger and gains a few more powers that actually make the problem worse.

Karl Denninger did not darken his Market Ticker blog on SOPA protest day:

And these sorts of protests, to be effective, generally must happen at the "point time" when you actually make the difference, lest it simply show up later and steamroller you.

They must also be backed by a commitment to remain until and unless the bad behavior you're protesting stops.

Just like the so-called "Tea Party" protests that showed up, waved flags and then went home these sorts of "blackouts" are rarely effective. They are useful as a warning, but only as a warning. In other words while symbolic and good in the general sense, unless you're willing to back them up with a permanent shutdown if the bill your protesting actually passes that's all they are -- symbolism.

For their countless flaws and deep hypocrisy, the Occupy Wall Street faction did at least attempt a permanent occupation. The SOPA protest was mostly a huge candlelight vigil, where those who are not part of the problem get to show each other how aware and meaningful they are. I have little faith that most of the people who went dark or shared some witticism on social media would be willing to make the sacrifices required to defeat the deeper enemy.

The protesters are mostly soft leftists. They complain about corporations messing with politics, until their favorites start Speaking Out for Justice. Google can—and should!—influence politics, because, man, they’re not an evil corporation.

Power to the people is power over the people. The enemy is the collective identity. Because anyone’s idea of who “the people” are always excludes somebody. The only form of government that truly serves everyone rules no one. Until the cool kids figure that out, they’re just waiting to be fed into the machine.