Today was a key event in the history of Michael’s Rant where for the first time I produced a video that was in direct relation to a posting.
Oh… If you are wondering why I am dressed down for this video versus what I wore in that first video, I felt like it. Also because it was the first video, I felt it was necessary to class up the place a bit. You get to see me more in my natural element.
If you are like me and regularly visit Wikipedia, today you saw the screen shot that the website blacked itself out for a 24-hour period in protest of the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that is in the United States House and the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT IP Act) that is in the United States Senate.
Some people I know protested these proposed bills by writing their Congressional Representatives and going as far as standing in solidarity with Wikipedia by participating with them in their own form of an internet blackout.
While it is frustrating that Wikipedia is not up today, it is understandable why they took the stand against SOPA and PROTECT IP Act.
The internet must remain a place of free flowing ideas.
My decision to not to participate in the protest is because of my belief in the true purpose of the internet.
That purpose is the continuous free flowing exchange of ideas between people across the world. Nothing is going to stop me in this exchange. I participate in this process by postings on facebook and twitter, the YouTube channel where you can watch my videos, and this blog that I regularly contribute to as its Founder and Lead Contributor and any other titles I give myself.
Please note that I am not condemning Wikipedia or anyone else who stands in solidarity with them. I hold these people in high regards for taking a stand on an issue. This is my way of doing my part.
My view of the internet is like a hammer: it can be used for both good and evil. The good application is to hammer a nail into a board as part of building a house. The evil application is to use that same hammer to cause great harm to another person. Hammers have been used to hurt people, but there are no laws on the books preventing their use.
It comes down to a benefit analysis. Most people use hammers for their intended use: as a tool to build something or remove nails. It is the same idea with the internet. Like most people, I use it to pay bills, check my bank account, know what the weather is, and for looking up topics that are interesting to me primarily politics, sports, history, current events, and quotes from the television show The Simpsons.
Another person may see a good use for the internet is to post videos about the Occupy Movement, posting a blog supporting Republicans in the upcoming election, or looking at pornography all day.
These proposed bills criminalize the sharing of ideas through creative means and the monopolization of information by a single entity.
It attacks people who are acting within the reasonable accordance of the law and does not solve the problems of the criminal elements that regularly plague the internet community being the rampant acts of fraud, malicious acts of vandalism through the creation of viruses, hate speech promoting violence towards minorities, and the sexual exploitation of children.
Instead these bills would give more control to corporations on the movement of information and ideas. It would do our nation a great disservice if these policies were enacted.
There are many ideas out there that I do not subscribe to, and I choose not to incorporate them into my thought processes. However, to call for their complete censorship, it would conflict with something I believe in.
I am a Navy Veteran who served from 2002-08. I defended this Right ranging from its use to protect those who cannot defend for themselves to even the most unpopular and disgusting ideas by a reasonable person. This Right has created the continuing conundrum and debate that started when this country was established. The debate continued after I arrived on this planet, it is still going on today, and it will continue long after I depart.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution