Jan 19, 2012

Protection VS Freedom

By Susan G. Haws

Yesterday I mostly stayed off the internet. I tried to answer a few e-mails in the early AM and late (11:00 PM) and a couple of stray clicks before I remembered I was staying off my beloved internet for a purpose.

This was to show my opposition to the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) and the Senate’s related Protect Intellectual Property Act (S.968) (SOPA and PIPA). As an aspiring writer I understand the need to protect intellectual property rights. I don't support piracy except of course for Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow and his cohorts.  

Up front, I will share that I am not well versed in lawyer speak. I sort through it as best as I can on contracts and when I am deciding how to vote. But, what I read about the SOPA and the PIPA bills make me think of one of the dystopian  novels I enjoy such as Possession by Elana Johnson and The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. But not in a good way.

 People well meaning, or not, offering protection while taking freedom. But what our founding fathers knew is that the continual nibbling away at freedom makes freedom disappear just as surely as quicker methods but with the added benefit of lulling the victims into acceptance of  submission. Soon what the citizens are told are freedoms and benefits are in reality restrictions and true loss of freedom.

It is a simplistic analogy, but, as a person working hard to eradicate fat from my body I know every little pound of excess fat I eliminate brings me more energy and freedom of movement to my body. On the other hand every dieter knows that the temptation of just one more chip, or spoonful of ice cream soon leads to an empty bag or bowl, and more pounds bringing misery to life. Thus we never notice how much we ate until the container is empty.

Our legislation needs to protect our rights; to free us, not weigh us down and bind us.  It is tempting for legislators slap together bill after bill that look good on the surface but are not well thought out and may have dangerous ramifications. This brings to mind the movie Evan Almighty. It is a lot harder to get rid of bad legislation than it is to never enact it.

What I want is for our congressional representatives and senators to remember every time they vote that their primary responsibly is to protect the freedoms of their constituents for today and the future.  I believe as long as we keep our foundation of freedom the highest priority, we have people of great intelligence and creativity that can find better ways to solve our problems such as counteracting online piracy in ways that will maintain our rights.


  1. I'm beginning to think we have followed the same mistakes many civilizations before have done...created inadvertently a political class that thinks it's above the law. I'm with you.

  2. Terri, I think you said it perfectly.


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