To be clear, when I say “protestors” I mean the average Joe who changed his Facebook profile pic and made some topic on a forum about how terrible it is, not actual businesses whose livelihood depends on the Internet. For businesses, I can understand how such a law would be prioritized so highly.
But let’s get back to the average Joes of the world. Government regulation of the Internet is bad, period, end of story (bonus, off-topic note, a lot of the same people who are protesting SOPA want the government to pass “net neutrality” laws, weird). I am not the least bit in favor of SOPA, PIPA, or whatever new bill will surely be next, somewhat watered down, but probably just as bad.
But I cannot seem to stomach much outrage over this particular bill. I didn’t call my Congressman. I didn’t even bother to check to see which way my Congressman was going. Perhaps you didn’t hear, but about a month ago, the Congress passed and Obama signed the NDAA, which gives the executive branch (via the military) the power to indefinitely detain American civilians without a trial, without representation, and without due process of any kind so long as they are deemed (by the military or the justice department, presumably) to belong to a terrorist group or “associated forces” (nobody seems to know what constitutes an “associated force”). Don’t worry though, Obama said he had reservations about this power. I’m sure he’d never use it.
Of course, prior to the NDAA being signed, it was revealed (and commented about on THIS VERY BLOG) that the President had already claimed the authority to actually KILL American citizens who were suspected of terrorism with no due process whatsoever. Basically, some unknown panel can put people (including American citizens) on a secret kill-list. We don’t know who is on that list right now. We don’t know what criteria are used to place people on that list. All we know is that someone in Washington can decide you’re a terrorist, and then Obama can order a drone to drop a bomb on your house (and your 16 year old son).
The Internet doesn’t seem to care about these things too much. The government claims the authority to ACTUALLY KILL YOU based on unknown criteria, and nobody minds. The government threatens to take down some websites, and everyone freaks out. The SOPA protestors need to seriously re-examine their priorities. A free and unregulated Internet isn’t really all that free if the government can kill you for saying something bad about it on said Internet. Wikipedia won’t do you much good when a predator drone just created a smoldering crater where your house used to be. I encourage everyone who was outraged about SOPA to keep digging and looking closer at just what authority the government has claimed over the last decade or so. Doing so will probably lead you to the inevitable conclusion that government is corrupt, and that we need less of it. A conclusion already held by many brilliant individuals!