Monday, December 13, 1999

Week of 12/13/1999

Clinton’s Trojan Cyber-Horse
"Digital Divide" Program Part Of Plan To Regulate Internet
- by David Matthews 2

According to Greek mythology, Helen of Troy was a beautiful woman who was so alluring that she was the cause of a brutal war between Greece and Troy. Betrothed to King Menelaus of Sparta, she was enchanted by a golden apple to Prince Paris of Troy. To avenge the honor of King Menelaus and bring Helen back to Sparta, one thousand Greek ships sailed to Troy in a bloody battle that was told in Homer’s classic The Iliad.

The battle for Troy was finally secured when a force of Greek warriors hid themselves inside a huge wooden horse that was supposed to be a peace offering to Troy. Although many who were in the wooden horse died, they provided enough of a disruption to allow the remaining Greek forces to gain entry and destroy the city utterly. Helen was returned to her husband, but in doing so they had displeased the gods, and thus their return to Sparta was long and tormented.

In many ways, a similar war is being waged over another object of beauty and desire. The object in question is the new medium of communication and information - the Internet. Desired by all because of its relative newness; beautiful in its ability to provide a plethora of information at any time.

Like Helen, the Internet was once betrothed to a ruler.. namely the power mongers in government. But unlike King Menelaus, the US Government was a negligent spouse. As far back as 1989, the US Government started divesting their control over the Internet to private companies. And like a siren’s song, the lure of the Internet soon spread around the world.

But then the Internet was swept away by a rogue prince called Freedom and placed within its protective walls. And once the negligent king realized his beauty was gone, he launched his own brutal war, not necessarily to regain the Internet, but to regain his lost sense of honor.

Direct attacks against the online community have been costly. Issues like censorship, encryption, and personal privacy have been and continue to be waged on all fronts by the scorned king called Government.

But now that scorned king has laid out a modern-day version of a Trojan Horse, one that would be all too easy for the freedom-loving public to take.

President Clinton, whose actions resemble less like an elected leader and more like scorned King Menelaus, announced that next spring he would be campaigning on an issue that exists only in politics - the so-called "digital divide". The "digital divide" is the belief that there is a disproportionate group of Americans who have access to the Internet. It has been the excuse used by the Clinton Regime to levy a tax (referred to as the "Gore Tax") on the phone companies to fund wiring of schools and libraries.

Clinton feels that access to the Internet is a "right" for all Americans, and even goes so far as to claim that it would be the next key civil rights issue. To back this rather exaggerated claim up, Clinton’s people cite a report by the Commerce Department that claimed whites are "more likely" to have access to the Internet from home than any other racial group, even though that same report indicated minority ownership of computers had in fact increased dramatically more than whites.

Now let’s think about this for a minute. People who have access to the Internet have access to more information, and thus are more informed and aware of the world they live in. Therefore, Clinton and his ilk feel having access to the Internet is a "right" - and thus want to give everyone that access. Clinton feels something is a "right" simply because it helps us out.

Well if that’s the case, why not use that idea for some of the other niceties in life? Having your own car makes you a better person because you have more mobility. Why doesn’t Bill Clinton make sure having a car is a "right" and make sure everyone have a car? Oh, wait a minute.. that’s right… Vice President Al Gore considers cars to be evil. Well, having your own house makes you a better person because you have stability and property. Why doesn’t Bill Clinton make sure everyone has their own house? Or your own phone, for that matter? After all, if you have your own phone, you’re a better person because you’re more in touch with the outside world than someone who doesn’t have their own phone and has to go to public pay phones.

While we’re at it, it’s a fact that when you feel good about yourself, you’re a much better person not only to yourself, but to everyone else around you. So why doesn’t Bill Clinton ensure everyone has a "right" to plastic surgery, hair transplants, liposuction, breast augmentation, personal trainers, hair stylists, clothing consultants, and anything else that would ensure us to be as good looking as we need to feel?

An exaggeration? Of course, and the same holds true to Bill Clinton’s tale about people "needing" the Internet. Sure having access to information that you normally wouldn’t get from the media makes one a more informed individual. Sure, getting information from the Thomas database is faster than digging through the Library of Congress book by book. But that does not make it a "right" any more than you having a "right" to your own phone or to have plastic surgery.

But let’s get brutally honest here.. there’s another far more insidious reason why Clinton wants to put the Internet into every home and every school and every library.. and that is so he can take control of the Internet!

Let’s think about this for a second. One of the prevailing arguments against government regulating content on the Internet is that the Internet is not "pervasive and intrusive" - two elements that were used by the US Supreme Court to allow government regulation of tradition broadcast mediums like television and radio. However, if the government started providing every home with computers and with Internet access, then the Internet itself would be "pervasive", and thus within the scope of government to regulate.

Also let’s think about the pattern of responsibility concerning the Internet. This commentator was the first to ask the questions that set up the pattern of responsibility concerning who should be responsible for Internet content; among those being who purchased the computer, and who decided to go on the Internet. If the answers to those questions go from "the parent" to "the government", then the government would be the ones to bear the responsibility for how that access is used.. and thus give themselves the justification for regulating Internet access like they do radio and television.

The Trojan Horse was welcomed willingly by one who claimed to be against the Greeks. The devious and manipulative man by the name of Sinon convinced the people of Troy that it was for their own good to bring the wooden horse in, claiming it would make them invincible. So too, does this devious and manipulative man by the name of Bill Clinton try to tell us this cyberspace version of the Trojan Horse would be for our own good.

When the invading armies both inside and outside of the city overran the people of Troy, they did so brutally and without mercy. Should Clinton’s cyberspace version of the Trojan Horse be allowed to continue, the very same fate will befall our online freedoms.

And sadly, this time there would be no gods to torment the king for his actions.

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