26 November 2008

Blogging To Be So Slowly Killed Off in WA State

End of an Era?

The editors of Reason wrote an article praising the libertarianism inherent in the aughts, calling the internet "a tax-free distributed network and alternative universe where individuals, usually without effective interference from government, can reshape their identities, transcend limitations of family, geography, and culture." The article also gives ample warning that the nature of the political beast is "the B.A. Baracus of American society, the last one through the door". Well it seems the A-team van of politics is crashing through the door in WA state. There's pressure from lobbyists to impose draconian restrictions on internet freedom in order to squash dissent. From the Seattle Times:
Lobbyist Steve Gano, who represents business clients in Olympia, said he's not troubled by activist bloggers who practice a form of journalism. But the increasing presence of Web-based advocacy groups are a different story, he said.

If an online group doesn't have to report the type of activities that would otherwise be considered lobbying, Gano asked, why shouldn't lobbyists just close up shop and relaunch their efforts online?
Steve Gano represents a host of big business interests, and the perceived "chatter" from people without ties to elite institutions must threaten his livelihood. This tactic was tried before when there was discussion in the FEC to impose restrictions on politically-themed mega-blogs Daily Kos and Red State. Most people who blog, comment, or lurk are average schmoes who can finally take what they've been talking about at the dinner table to a wide-scale audience (at low cost). A true Vox Populi. It really has been a boon to our democratic process that regular people can access information and delve into the policies affecting our world. This might shake up the ruling class that has traditionally run our society, because it's best if we shut our yaps, pay taxes, and quietly die off on the Social Security dole. Expect threats to this newfound availbility to information to come from those that seek to keep their stranglehold on power.