First Amendment Rights

First Amendment Rights

Amendment I.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

All rights are equally important, and each is dependent on the other. But while many of our rights are usually under attack at any point in history, some stand out at various times as particularly important. Today, it’s our First Amendment rights in the form of the internet.

Why? Because at no other time in history has so much information been available to so many people so quickly. Like the invention of the printing press, the internet enables us to communicate an endless wealth of information, except instantly. And that means a unique opportunity to put enormous amounts of power back into the hands of the citizenry just as what happened when books became commonplace. The more knowledge people have, the less restrictions they will tolerate, and the easier it is for people to communicate, the better they can resist any form of tyranny. It’s always the first step in any military campaign: destroy the enemy’s ability to communicate effectively.

There has always been a greater or lesser percentage of people who believe that you can fix any problem with more laws and more government, particularly younger generations. But today, young people instinctively know that when it comes to government, regulation of the internet is a really bad idea. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the name of protecting children from online predators, adult content, or as some excuse to supposedly make online access more fair. They know it’s a guaranteed first step in a series of further restrictions. What’s next? Political speech?