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Free Liberal: Coordinating towards higher values

Free Liberal

Coordinating towards higher values

Personal Freedoms and the Internet

by Ron Paul

The most basic principle to being a free American is the notion that we as individuals are responsible for our own lives and decisions. We do not have the right to rob our neighbors to make up for our mistakes, neither does our neighbor have any right to tell us how to live, so long as we aren’t infringing on their rights. Freedom to make bad decisions is inherent in the freedom to make good ones. If we are only free to make good decisions, we are not really free.

Socialist ideologies blur this line between self reliance and government control because the mistakes of the individual are spread to everyone else. Thus the government becomes very interested in your decisions and way of life, with the justification that you could make a mistake others will have to pay for. The end result is, of course, that everyone loses privacy and control over their own lives. Whether they realize it or not, they are no longer truly free.

This week in Congress brought some examples from both sides of the aisle on these issues of freedom and personal responsibility. We talked about online gambling quite a bit with the markup of some legislation dealing with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Now, I am not someone who enjoys throwing money away, but I am someone who understands issues of freedom and self-ownership. As such, I strongly support the right of free people to do with their hard-earned money as they please. Gambling is ultimately a matter of personal choice, and some people find it entertaining. As long as I am not forced to underwrite their losses, it is none of my business what gamblers do with their time and money.

There are those that feel online gambling is morally wrong and financially irresponsible, which I do not argue with, but they also feel that because of this, the government should step in and prevent or punish people for taking part in these activities. This attitude is anathema to the ideas of liberty.

However, most of the same anti-gambling crowd sang an entirely different tune when we discussed giving away free birth control in schools. All of a sudden, they did not want others making decisions about their lifestyles and families, while the other side felt the need to interfere. It is interesting that the same group that feels parents have the absolute right and ability to control how and when their kids get birth control, are powerless to monitor their internet activity and must enlist government regulatory assistance to protect against gambling or predators. Which is it? Are parents the ones to parent, or not? Both sides switch their positions based on the subject at hand, but the philosophy of liberty is elegantly simple and consistent.

I can assure you of this – once the government gains a foothold into regulating the internet, even for benevolent reasons, the wonders of the free internet will soon be a thing of the past. Parents, with modern day technology, are quite capable of monitoring their children’s internet activity. The internet must remain a government-free zone to maintain its integrity and usefulness to modern society, and that is something for which I will continue to fight.

Dr. Paul is a Republican congressman from Texas.

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Hell yeah! Let freedom be blogged!

Yes I agree also you should try getting tx as one of the states that can bet on

# posted at by Roy Ramirez

man, ron paul is awesome.
if only all republicans were like him and not neocons.

# posted at by max

Excellent comment Representative Paul!

Thank you for your beliefs in what this country was supposedly founded on although it has strayed for from the Constitution that was originally for our freedom which is now an illusion that so many choose not to recognize. I saw you on The Daily Show and I wish you could take the squatting monkeys place in the White House and bring back the freedoms so many have given their lives for.

# posted at by Eric Kee

All like minded people need to orginize so we can stop the erosion of our freedoms.

# posted at by mike

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# posted at by 18001

There are a few issues of interest here.

I will deal with the last one first - the Internet. The Internet was a child of a government program - originally called ARPAnet (for the Advanced Research Projects Agency). I had the good fortune of seeing a prototype in 1986 before it was launched with the great graphics we now see. Given its origins, it is not unreasonable that some regulation occur. I suggest the creation of an Internet red light zone with a domain suffix .xxx for the posting of explicit content. This service should be separately orderable from online service providers. This should go for anything from online adult dating services to explicit chatting to online pornography. Like cable porn, it would have to be separately paid for. Parents who are concerned that their teens are thinking about sex (which all teens do) can not pay for the service (although some will let their kids explore here rather than in the backseat of the family minivan).

The second issue is gambling. Their is gambling and then their is gambling. Gambling is a regulated activity. Recent evidence suggests that video slots are a rigged game designed to draw participants into an addictive experience. As an anarcho-syndicalist I am fine with letting folks gamble - however there should also be a system of mandatory intervention for those who lose their freedom to their addictions. It is not liberty to be in the thrall of drugs, alcohol or a video one-armed bandit. At some point before ruin - and everyone can set that threshold before they begin playing - the machines should stop working and the person escorted from the property and given over to the care of professionals for evaluation. First time losers will be thankful. Those who keep losing time and again will receive more serious attention.

Will this kill legal gambling? Quite the oppossite. It will create a safe space in which to gamble. Social Darwinists won't like it - however I don't particularly care what they think.

# posted at by Xianleftist_Michael [TypeKey Profile Page]

Another great post from Dr. Paul.

Hey Xianleftist.

U no it man! Their is gambling, and it is a regulated activity! Powerful argument!

Seriously, not to quibble over words, but how does someone who sits around advocating things like "regulation" and "mandatory intervention", as well as obvious state-worship get to lump the word "anarcho" anywhere in with his beliefs?

As for the ARPA argument, I would just remind my friend that "the state" is an abstraction -- like "the bloods" or "a street gang". Abstractions don't invent things, individuals do.

- BZ

# posted at by BZ

Anarcho means non-governmental. Syndicalist means group action.

Gambling providers will try to maximinze, even if it is not in their long term interest. A liberty and community paradigm for this is to provide some way to intervene on those who would otherwise be ruined, rather than having the government do it (say by banning the entire enterprise).

Your option is not freedom vs. regulation/prohibition - because if it is the vocal minority will prohibit or regulate every time.

Given that gambling will be regulated, because like it or not, there will be human wreckage associated with it, the question to work out is what is the best way to do it.

ARPA was publicly funded and contracts were let from those funds. Inventors receiving those contracts did their work and their business owners got paid for it. In some cases, the inventors were the owners, but that is not always the case.

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