"As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of the opportunity provided to serve self-interest when Al Gore created the internet; and we should also thank Mark Zuckerburg and Jack Dorsey for creating Facebook and Twitter out of the kindness of their big hearts and not the thinness of their small wallets."
-Ben Franklin, Autobiography (1742)

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Founders vs Internet Censorship

Unless you're new to this internet thing, you are probably aware by now that Congress has been debating for some time two bills to combat internet piracy under the names SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PROTECT_IP_Act). The internet has been up in arms about these proposed bills almost since their inception, stating (and rightly so) that they amount to censorship, invasion of privacy, and would quite possibly throw the internet as we know and love it into a destructive spiral. If by some chance you are still unfamiliar with these acts and their implications, we strongly encourage you to take a moment to check out the links above and get up to speed.

At Lost and Founders we take great pride and pleasure in being able to deliver historically accurate tales of heroism by the founders of these United States. Though its been said quite a few times by much more influential people this point, we would like throw whatever weight we have behind the ongoing movement and state publicly that although we recognize the important of stopping true internet piracy, we disagree with Congress' proposed solution and believe it would in fact do more harm than good. As historians, we are also afforded unusual insight into how the founders would have handled the myriad of tricky political situations in today's civil society, and surprisingly enough there this is not the first time in history that the threat of censorship has come up. Take a look at some powerful words from none other than former President Abraham Lincoln and then consider letting your representatives in Congress know that if Lincoln would not have been ok with SOPA/PIPA then you aren't either.

"A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have." - Abraham Lincoln, 1845

"Allow the president to invade a neighboring business, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an act of piracy, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure." - Abraham Lincoln, 1863

"Avoid censorship if you would have peace." - Abraham Lincoln, 1863

"Discourage government intervention in the business of the common man. Persuade your representatives to vote against bad policy whenever you can. As a lawmaker the congressman has superior opportunity of making himself known through foolish support of regulation. There will still be business enough." Abraham Lincoln, 1862

"Don't interfere with anything on the internet. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties." Abraham Lincoln, 1856

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