The recent kerfuffle over SOPA got me thinking again about how relatively free the Internet is–not in terms of cost, but as a beacon of freedom.
Consider three of the online world’s greatest success stories, Wikipedia, Craigslist, and Ebay. Each exists with minimal interference by the managing authority–those who run each site merely set up the forum and restrain abuse (in Wikipedia’s case, by checking edits to articles for accuracy; in Cragslist’s and Ebay’s by monitoring legality and honesty of postings). Other than that, users are free to participate and contract with each other as they will. The managing authorities of each site generally stay out of people’s way and let them live.
Isn’t that how government should work? Maintain a framework for successful societal operations, as per the constitution, but otherwise stay out of the way?
If someone points out problems with these sites (like a Craigslist killer), I’d respond that punitive regulation causes more problems than it solves (OSHA, anyone?). The freest society is the one that causes the fewest problems.
Truly, the Internet’s success is due to the unfettered innovation of individuals (Facebook, anyone?). I think it would be hilarious to see a satire of what Wikipedia, Craigslist, and Ebay would look like if they were run by liberal governing ideals. Does anyone really think that heavy-handed interference and proscription would make them better?