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Australia's freedom draws to a close

I don't think the average person is yet aware that the era of freedom, the era of being able to do anything reasonable and say anything short of "fire" in a crowded theatre, is drawing to a close.

The Internet is arguably the greatest invention in the history of humanity, as it transcends the limitations of individual human minds and allows instant access to the thoughts (even the very recent thoughts, even the very sublime or the very base thoughts) of billions of other human beings. An era in which the world as a whole can start to think with the effective IQ of millions of minds reinforcing each other could be about to dawn.

But it will not, unless all freedom lovers do something about the totalitarians who now are on the verge of throwing the planet into a new dark age of secret control and knowledge restricted to the elites. From

The Federal Government will introduce legislative amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act to require all ISPs to block Refused Classification (RC)-rated material hosted on overseas servers.

I have written to the federal minister Stephen Conroy under the title "You are either stupid or a tyrant":

Get this straight Conroy: Australians have a RIGHT to access any information about legal activities, whether or not you and others of your friends with the same holier than thou self-righteous humbug I know better than you attitude think so or not.

Virtually ALL of the so-called refused-classification material has been made legally and consensually, by adults. Whether you like it or not, others should have the right to decide for themselves what they wish to access. Who do you think you are?

As for the child porn, we both know that is just an excuse, and you would do better to let the police track it down and deal with it. And as for prohibiting people telling people what's on your secret list, how do you imagine errors will ever get fixed?

It isn't only "bad" people who have good reasons for wanting to access things that send goody two shoes like you into fits of apoplexy. I am not ashamed to append my true name as I tell you you should permit free access to the internet.

If Conroy is a tyrant, he intends for political reasons to shut down the ability of ordinary people to communicate about any topic they desire, whether it offends the family channel or not. And his reason is not protecting children, it is political control. Already attempts have been made to get political criticism removed from some Australian forum sites.

But on the (remote?) chance that Conroy is just a fool who really believes his own propaganda, here is one key point he is missing:

There is only one Internet!

Unlike cars, trains, computers, etc., there is only one Internet. It is unique. For most other things, you can make real adult versions (a racy sports car, say) and a shiny plastic pedal-powered kiddie version.

But you can't have two Internets.

Either the one and only Internet is a real tool for adults, or it is a toy for children, it can't be both. It is in that respect just like the public road system. Either you build it with real bitumen for real cars (and accept that kids shouldn't be wandering unsupervised there) or you build it with kiddie blocks and run toy cars and the country falls into rack and ruin because the toy road system cannot carry real loads as required.

Ditto the Internet. Once it is censored, it is a toy. The damage might be hidden, or it might be such that people are too ashamed to talk about it. For sure some of the legal adult pages Conroy wants to censor are ones most readers don't want to be known for accessing.

Well somebody has to do it: I will publicly state that I have accessed some of the 'nasty' sites on Conroy's list. Whether I have good or bad reasons for doing so is no business of anyone but myself (that's the difference between an open healthy society and totalitarianism). And it happens that I have found information on some of those sites that has, at times, either given me invaluable insight into the human mind and instincts (insights that have valuably aided me in forming a better understanding of how to achieve peace and prosperity for humanity), or warned me of dangers to be avoided.

The point is, controllers and administrators considering whether to add some "Oh, just terrible!" site to a blocked list simply cannot predict or even understand how such sites might be used by real people pursuing their individual projects.

Even if they are used 'badly', perhaps being able to participate in some nasty activity vicariously might be enough to help someone avoid actually doing that activity to an unwilling victim. Did Conroy even think of that possibility? The assumption is that these materials 'stimulate' a desire; perhaps they satiate it? Perhaps they do different things in different people? Perhaps a weak soul trying to avoid committing a heinous crime finds that the emotions of watching a simulated version are just enough to help him prevent himself from doing terrible things? Who knows? Most certainly Conroy doesn't.

And another vital truth about the Internet that most people seem to miss:

The Internet is a private communication system!

That's right. A web server is not a public medium. A TV station broadcasts a message to everyone. It is a push medium. A web server is a private entity that sends replies to each private request privately sent to it by private individuals. It is a pull medium, and it could send a different response to everyone. Some of them do just that. Censoring this system amounts to making rules that some people are not permitted to communicate to some other people. Setting up ratings for this system is exactly the same as saying that telephone conversations should be rated; that if someone ever once had a sexy telephone chat with another person, then all telephone conversations with their phone number should be cut off. It assumes monitoring of private conversations, that nothing will ever be private again for anyone. It is so insane that only a true totalitarian could ever simultaneously both understand and approve of it. News flash Conroy: some people have both sex partners and child relatives, and they actually talk differently depending on who is on the other end of the phone line. And some people are just nasty, you shouldn't let your kids talk to them; but they are still entitled to a telephone, and their friends are still entitled to call them up!

The banned list is based on material refused 'classification' as if it were a film or a TV show. A 'content classification' system designed for a public broadcast medium is hopelessly inadequate for a private conversation medium. Should be obvious; apparently it isn't.

If you are still worried about the effects of an uncensored Internet on children, One, Conroy's system won't stop the problem, and Two, it isn't designed to: it is in fact designed to allow totalitarians like Conroy and other leftists to censor free speech that exposes their trickery (such as the outrageous 'climate change' hoax, for which various leftists are already promoting censorship and even death penalties for those who disagree with them). If you support this to protect your children, know for a certainty that you will scuttle your children's future freedom and make them serfs to a leftist elite. Believe me or not, but if not, your children will live to regret it.

Here is a great truth that I understood from the symbols of Hinduism: The lotus grows in the mud. Mud, dirty, yucky, messy mud, is the necessary matrix in which the beautiful lotus grows towards the heavens. Take away the mud and the lotus dies. Does anyone wonder why it is that just so many 'morals' campaigners get jailed for sex crimes of one sort or another? A truly healthy human being doesn't spend all their time thinking about sex. But they do spend some of it doing so, and that is both natural and healthy, and makes for a better world. Adults will just have to work out how to protect children from dangers on the Internet in the same way as they protect children from real cars on real roads. It isn't rocket science.

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Re: Australia's freedom draws to a close

I had missed your point that the internet is a pull communications medium. It is well made, and I'll certainly be using it in my future battles against this insane idea.

However, I do have one quibble to make. Senator Conroy, and the other wowsers who are in favour of mandatory filtering are not necessarily left wing. Senator Conroy in particular is most certainly right-wing; indeed he is a power broker of that faction of the Labor party. This policy, however, is an authoritarian idea. You can be right wing and authoritarian (eg Jim Wallace), or left wing and authoritarian (eg Clive Hamilton). An authoritarian is someone who thinks they know how to live your life better than you do, and it doesn't fall into the typical 2D axis of left-vs-right. The only political measure I know of that takes this into account is:

As someone who is certainly left wing, but absolutely not authoritarian, I find your digs at the left to be unfounded and counter-productive.

Re: Australia's freedom draws to a close

Thanks Arved for that link. I agree with your assessment that the problem is not specifically left- or right-wing. The words (and perhaps the whole idea of political 'spectrum') has long since ceased to fit practical reality. (I believe the terms arose from the seating in the assembly after the French revolution.) However, the major leftist parties in Australia, the US, and the UK have long since been taken over by authoritarian extremists - especially in the US. For example there is nothing in principle illogical about being a leftist and disagreeing with global warming alarmism, but just try actually doing it in the party room!

My other main criticism of the left is not essentially linked to this, but the two tend to go together, is the inherent superiority of a free market to socialism. But a free market does not imply immorality or even amorality (a fact which even Adam Smith taught), it just implies having a good mechanism for allowing items to reflect their true costs of production. If you don't do that with a free market, you have to do it by command and control, there is no other choice. One can disguise that command and control under so many layers that people can go their whole life without spotting it, but it must be there. That then raises the question, whose commands, who controls? But that brings us back to authoritarianism.

Point taken about digs at the left, but take a look at the language the left uses against, not merely their opponents, but anyone who deviates from the politically correct line. It isn't hard to find. Forty years ago I told a leftist that I disagreed with his views over some minor point of ideology, only to be told that come the revolution I would be the first to be put against the wall and shot. (And that was when I still naively believed in socialism and voted for the left.) I have heard such stuff at intervals ever since. Such rubbish should be denounced, not merely disagreed with. But you're right, it is a disease that is not restricted to one 'side' or the other. That is why I don't think a purely political solution to our problems is possible, and ethics must come into it.