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Personal Freedoms and the Internet<br>by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, M.D. (R-TX)

Written by Subject: Internet
by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, M.D. (R-TX)

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 reason, 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. 


2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Jim Peterson
Entered on:
Regarding the above, libertarians are mostly a bunch of scared and meek individuals who never organize themselves to ever challenge laws like the above. They tend to whine over abstract or big things that they hope big politicians will do something about, like the Patriot Act. Now, instead of trying to keep our rights to socialize anonymously and broadcast our personal contact information as we see fit, we are supposed to be concerned about helping Wayne Allen Root**Q**s financial bottom line by helping keep gambling online unregulated?

Sheeple...look out for what is important for YOU (dating and socializing), not for what a vested financial interest wants you to care about (their gambling ventures).

Sure, I agree that online gambling should be legal, but I think even online pornography is more important. Where are the libertarian articles that talk about the status of that issue?

Comment by Jim Peterson
Entered on:
When will Ron Paul finally start discussing the IMBRA law which forces Americans to be backgorund checked before being allowed to communicate with foreigners online? IMBRA also forces foreigners on dating sites to sign paperwork, not once but every single time an American wants to make contact with them. In the age of webmail, a foreigner who uses webmail to communicate with Americans is not really affected by this draconian unconstitutional interference in the hello process between two private individuals, but IMBRA makes it illegal for a foreigner to broadcast their cell phone number or postal address anymore.

This is the gateway law that the socons and feminists wanted to legally regulate MySpace and and endrun the Supreme Court decisions upholding anonymity on the Internet.

Soon, especially if McCain gets elected, we will have to all identify ourselves to even post a comment somewhere online.

A Bush appointed federal judge, Thomas Rose, said of IMBRA: **QQ**There is no fundamental liberty interest in an American contacting a foreigner**QQ**.

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