SOPA: A Power Play in Congress – And How to Stop It


Karen Kwiatkowski - LewRockwell

A wholly predictable big-government play for even more control over markets and technology, information and communication is moving through Congress.

That’s not news. It’s actually quite typical. After the nauseating passage of the National Defense Authorization Bill last month, with its Constitution-shattering military detention provisions for any American who falls out of the President’s favor, or who has crossed his minions, what might not be passed into law?

The Senate’s Protect IP Act, PIPA, and its House companion Stop Online Piracy Act, SOPA, is now seeping through the congressional sewage system. This legislative pollution is purported to reduce global data piracy and illegal copying of digital content by regulating American ISPs and the Internet. Entertainment industry moguls and “too-big-to fail” content producers are demanding it, and it’s designed by paid-off, power-hungry establishment lawyers in Congress who don’t understand internet architecture, information technology, or the nature of the free market.

SOPA in particular is written by the fascist-leaning central controllers in Washington, who believe a better America will be one with an RFID chip in every creature, four legs and two, federal tracking of every person from birth to death, and exquisite knowledge of their every transaction, in real time. Lavrenti Beria and the East German Stasi chief Markus Wolf must be dreaming of reincarnation into such a totalitarian jewel – the United States in the 21st Century.

While containing some differences, these proposed laws, at heart, constitute simple rent-seeking by Hollywood and big music industry content producers. As Gary Shapiro writes in, while “sold as only attacking overseas “rogue” websites, the legislation expands federal government power, [PIPA and SOPA] encourages private litigation and threatens legitimate web sites like Google, YouTube and Facebook.” Beyond the surface justification, only the most naive among us can deny that more federal regulation, more government monitoring, and more fearful Internet service providers and vendors all work to promote our D.C. master’s definition of “progress.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation offers an easy to understand explanation of SOPA – aka the “Internet Blacklist Bill,” and the dangers of its intended, and unintended, consequences. The reaction by the sleeping tiger of American small businesses, youth, techies, and advocates for free speech and the remnants of the Constitution indeed illustrates the Daily Bell’s concept of the Internet reformation.

But it isn’t fair to say that all of us together are that “sleeping” tiger. The tiger has been rousing for several decades, corresponding with increased access to knowledge, and the living, growing network of this knowledge. When Ron Paul says, “We are dangerous!” it is indeed true – but not to each other, not to capitalism and freedom, nor to society or peace – but we – unleashed, informed, angry and connected – are deadly dangerous to the state.

There is a Mussolini-esque idea shared by many in Congress today, and by current and past Presidents. They believe that a modern America is realized when “Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.” This ideal of bureaucrats and centralists is antithetical to the classical liberalism of the founders. It is antithetical to liberty, and it is a fundamental reason for the modern growth of the state – to the extent that the current account borrowing has exceeded the entire annual GDP of what was once the greatest, most productive and most admired nation on the planet. Bureaucrats and centralists in Washington have created in America a modern socialist Greece, writ large, minus the tourism.

SOPA represents the national socialism that taints every D.C. government “solution” offered in the 21st century. That PIPA and SOPA won’t work to end or even reduce data piracy goes without saying. The Japanese faced down Chinese data piracy years ago – with a combination of technology, software and creative business and distribution models. Content producers in the United States have absolutely no excuse not to meet the challenge – but instead they seek to rent-seek, to shape the business environment not through competition, but through favorable laws and government-granted aid and benefits – with the complete and greedy cooperation of the central state in DC.

There is a reason the founders limited the role of the federal government, and had the Congress meet infrequently. To allow otherwise requires our constant alertness, our instant and unleashed rage, our profound and constantly communicated contempt for the Congress. We must reject their idiocy, condemn rent-seeking, and crush the bureaucratic confidence of our so-called representatives.

The story of the PIPA and SOPA – and what we hope will be its imminent legislative desiccation and death – is indeed remarkable. Free market, pro-technology, free speech and Constitutional arousal in opposition to the blacklisting, technology-opposing, constitution-offending, rent-seeking and liberty-hating legislation has been powerful. Congressmen and Senators are fleeing like surprised cockroaches from these bills. Further, several congressmen associated with the top down interference and control of technology and communication – in the name of keeping all of us “safe” and “honest” face, primaries or general elections, and many will lose these elections.

Americans failed to sufficiently oppose the Patriot Act, jammed down out throats a decade ago in the name of safety and security. Instead, we face a Catch-22 between fear of travel in our own country, and fear of publicly complaining about the security state, lest we be named enemy combatants, and are disappeared into a Constitution-free zone of endless, unwarranted federal incarceration.

The national reaction to SOPA and PIPA legislation should give us all hope that peaceful change is indeed, for the moment, still possible. I am delighted to be at the forefront of a political war, as the congressional primary challenger to Bob “Il Duce” Goodlatte. This chief author of SOPA, and defender of an imaginary U.S. government right to manage the Internet, and its billions of users, is paid handsomely to do it. It’s par for the course. Goodlatte is widely known for implementing legislation to ban and punish Internet gaming through federal seizure and lockdown of related financial transactions – all while actively supporting the domestic horse racing industry, which had heavily donated to his war chest.

My challenge to Bob Goodlatte is founded in my opposition to his long and hypocritical history of centralizing, regulating, spending and subsidizing. I believe that liberty and freedom, free markets and peace, will ultimately succeed and predominate in America. As my readers already know, I am a long-term optimist. But we can do a lot more than just sit around waiting to be proven correct. A politically vile ten-term RINO needs to be sent a message, and he needs to be sent packing. Our June 12th primary is eminently winnable, and we intend to win it. The fighting 6th District of Virginia will do its part, and our plan, in addition to killing SOPA in its crib, is to send another Dr. No to Washington in November. Join us!


LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, blogs occasionally at Liberty and Power and The Beacon.

Copyright © 2012 Karen Kwiatkowski

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