Think of this as Volume 16, Number 5 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
Rather than seeing the growth possibilities in unfettered access to the Web, the Administration has focused instead on the national security threat, and has been captured in turn by copyright extremists.
It's a slippery slope, but it's one liberty must navigate. It's one America itself has been navigating, sometimes with mixed results, since its founding. With the rise of the Internet, and its global impact on growth in every country, it's one we all must navigate.
Let's be clear here, because I'm hearing a lot of whinging from my side of the aisle. Activists for an open Internet are not powerless in this fight. Far from it. Because in our hands is growth – economic growth, human growth, intellectual growth. When people are forced offline, when they merely feel less than free, that has a profound, negative impact on growth.
It doesn't take a formal boycott. The action against SOPA/PIPA was merely an overt example of what happens every day, in billions of places around the world. By simply refusing to submit, by withholding the weapon of growth from governments, people demonstrate real power.
On the other hand, government must play a role as both guarantor of liberty and maintainer of order. We can't let the Internet be so open that a foreign government can hack it down. We can't let people steal from our own people and hide from justice. That's anarchy, not liberty. It may seem like a Randian paradise, but it will quickly end as all such paradises end, either in the dictatorship of the Moneytariat or a Somali wasteland.
Both sides must admit that there is a balance to be struck, but right now no one is standing in the middle and saying so. Thus we blunder on.
So let me stand in the middle and say so.