Keeping the Net Free
July 23, 2003 8:17 AM   Subscribe

Saving the Net isn't just really about saving the net: the article is a great point of confluence on the issues of Intellectual Property, Property and Success as American values, as well as the future of the Internet as a true commons. Especially interesting is the observation that Presidential candidate Howard Dean's campaign contribution lead – raised via the Internet – is owed to a huge number of small donations, not to a small number of large special interests. If he's being bought, it's by his voters." [via Slashdot]
posted by weston (9 comments total)
Howard Dean's campaign is not a good example. Or perhaps it *is* an example of how a relatively few number of people on the Internet can *seem* more important then they actually are. For example, at the same time Dean was getting a relative pittance from New Hampshire, Bush got some $24M from a single fund raiser, elsewhere.

Despite lofty goals, I'm afraid the future of the "Internet Commons" will be "The Lowest Common Denominator."
posted by kablam at 9:03 AM on July 23, 2003

an example of how a relatively few number of people on the Internet can *seem* more important then they actually are

this being another good example!
posted by quonsar at 9:07 AM on July 23, 2003

*seem* more important then they actually are

When it comes to importance in politics and media, isn't what you seem to be as important as what you are?

And kablam: I don't understand your point. Dean apparently has reached enough small donors that he's managed to raise $24M. That's "relatively few"? Relative to what? I realize that Bush supporters are likely to be wealthier and give amounts that can dwarf what a large number of Dean followers can... but that would only serve to illusrate the larger numbers of donating Dean supporters. How is that not significant? And sure, I can see how this could lead to "lowest common denominator" support, too, but really, not any more so than the current system which basically allows for plurality selection via the unwashed masses and infotainment via one-way mass media...
posted by namespan at 9:44 AM on July 23, 2003

And I might also point out that the article has a whole lot of other material in it... Dean's only a paragraph. Where are the comments about conservatives seeing stregth as a moral value, or property and success in America? Did anybody read the article?
posted by namespan at 9:46 AM on July 23, 2003

I found it amusing that an article that decries the deregulation of industries because it allows concentration of too much power into too few hands to be good is written by a guy who votes Libertarian.

He needs to go read the party platform again, methinks.
posted by Cerebus at 10:03 AM on July 23, 2003

at the same time Dean was getting a relative pittance from New Hampshire, Bush got some $24M from a single fund raiser, elsewhere.

Hardly an apt comparison, though, as incumbents always rake in easy money from people with a stake in preserving the status quo. A better comparison is Dean to the other Democratic candidates, who are also starting from scratch.
posted by rushmc at 10:19 AM on July 23, 2003

Cerebus, I thought that was interesting myself. The only conclusion I could come to is that there's stripes of Libertarians like there are stripes of Dems, Repubs, Greens, etc. There's no political party in existence I can endorse the entire platform of.

There's a school of thought, though, that says markets are *defined* by regulation -- there is no market without rules, without some established norms for trade. I'm sure some libertarians would say that those norms are simply those agreed on by the parties entering into an agreement... but perhaps there are some who see the need for the state to establish some of those rules. Of course, that doesn't sound like libertarianism anymore.

At any rate, I thought the article was great food for thought.
posted by weston at 10:41 AM on July 23, 2003

I wonder if there is a system around this

and one day ppl in the future will put it out of their minds for it being so obvious - they will take it for granted, will not even bother to wonder about our poor ignorant selves
posted by firestorm at 10:45 AM on July 23, 2003

Well, speaking on behalf of my form of libertarianism:

I think many people confuse libertarianism with anarchy. People seem to think libertarians want no government. Well, that's simply not true. Libertarians believe in government - minimal government, but government nonetheless.

So, what kind of government does that entail? Well, in the United States, that entails constitutionalism at its most fundamental. I.e. the federal government is supposed to look after protection of the country from outside forces and to protect the constitution from attack from state and local governments.

Most other responsibilities are to fall on the states, to be regulated by the states as they see fit.

The other part of libertarian philosophy is that man should be able to do what he (or she) wants, so long as he doesn't interfere with the rights of others. Thus its called 'libertarianism', from 'liberty', which is, in essence, freedom.

Most people probably get this concept fairly well, but where I think the definition breaks down is that some people, like myself, believe that liberty is not just the freedom to do as you will, but freedom from controlling forces as well.

Most people, when they think of controlling forces, think of government. What most people fail to see is that control can also come from private forces as well, such as corporations. When corporations gain such a tight control over the marketplace that individuals no longer have choice, or the ability to enter the marketplace, individuals are deprived of their liberties.

Thus we come to 'the freedom to do what you want, as long as you don't tread on someone else's rights.'

Thus corporations must be regulated when they control the market to such an extent that they deprive others of their liberty.

Ok, I'm open for comments...
posted by PigAlien at 3:05 PM on July 23, 2003

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