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Liberty, the internet, and the free market

This is a page from the original version of Pagan Vigil. There are some formatting differences.

Originally published at

Liberty, the internet, and the free market

The last, best hope for freedom

From AP.

The European Union insisted Friday that governments and the private sector must share the responsibility of overseeing the Internet, setting the stage for a showdown with the United States on the future of Internet governance.


Tammy Bruce is right about part of it. And thanks to my publishing problems she beat me to actually writing about it.

But that isn't I want to talk about.

The World Wide Web and the internet are changing more lives than anything since the invention of the movable-type printing press.

Anyone with access to a computer and an internet connection can make themselves heard. They can spread their ideas far beyond anything possible before. Getting people to pay attention, that is the hard part. Now I don't know who in Phoenix is reading this, but I know you are there. Just like I know there is someone from Greeley, CO and someone else from Altoona, PA who both check in regularly. And just as I know there are about sixty people who subscribe to my RSS feed. I don't need to know who you are, I just know you are reading.

We never think about it much, there are all sorts of interconnections that make it possible. There is my local utility that provides electricity and my cable company that (mostly) provides pretty good ISP service. I'm typing this on an iMac, so Apple gets part of the credit. The program I use to create my blogs is iBlog by Lifli Software, and this blog is hosted by Itsamac. My domain registrar is Network Solutions. The search features on this blog are provided by Google and Technorati in a fair exchange. Amazon provides the pretty book pictures and LibraryThing provides the booklist. Haloscan provides the commenting. All that is before the web page gets to your computer screen.

All of this happened because of the free market. None of it was government mandated. Those were my choices that made this website available to you, and the only thing you have to do to see Pagan•Vigil is open up your browser and go to the address. The free market made it available to you because you asked for the ability to go from site to site.

That has had some unexpected consequences.

The technology to push high resolution images and videos over the internet existed for years, but the processes were a limited and most didn't have the bandwidth to download. Do you know what pushed the demand for better pictures and a higher bandwidth?


Everyone's favorite whipping boy, and it pushed the limits of the internet. Porn fueled the demand, someone saw that there was money to be made, and they paid to improve the technology. Others saw the new technology and thought they could use it to sell something other than porn. That in turn meant new demands. All because of "smutty pictures."

On this blog I regularly criticize the U.S. government. That can only happen because it is unregulated free speech. In China for example, the very word "democracy" is very carefully regulated on the internet.

The free flow of information means informed choices. And informed choices without coercion is the free market.

I believe that ideas like self-ownership and property rights and the rule of law are vital. That is why I talk about them to anyone who will hear or read. If someone doesn't like it, they can start their own blog and talk about what they want. I won't mess with them if they don't mess with me. Let people decide which they would rather read and then they can make up their own minds.

The European Union and the United Nations have both shown that they can't be trusted to protect free speech or free thought.

Somedays I wonder about the United States, but so far the internet and the World Wide Web serve liberty and freedom. It's not freedom of speech if you have to use an approved word list.

Posted: Sat - October 1, 2005 at 08:34 PM

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