This article is not really about gun rights vs. "gun control"--it is about the supposed danger of the internet fostering extremism (but don't worry--the gun issue works its way into the discussion).
Experts in the US are warning that as the internet becomes increasingly sophisticated people are using it to create their own worlds. Using filtering techniques they can block out everything they dislike and hear only what they want to hear and see only what they want to see.The article frequently quotes Professor Cass Sunstein, of the University of Chicago Law School. As an example of the internet fostering "extremism," Sunstein points to that most infamous of "extremist organizations," the NRA:
He also looked at the National Rifle Association (NRA).It is perhaps not surprising that Sunstein is concerned about opponents of draconian gun laws organizing their arguments on the internet--his own leanings with regard to that debate are fairly clear (also read Nicki's superb demolition of that piece).
"A group whose members lean against gun control will, in discussion, provide a wide range of arguments against gun control, and the arguments made for gun control will be both fewer and weaker. The group's members, to the extent that they shift, will shift toward a more extreme position against gun control,” says the professor.
It is in this vein that Sunstein sees the advent of the personalisation of information via the Internet as such a threat.
The problem with that thinking, Cass, is that wherever one goes, "the arguments made for gun control will be both fewer and weaker"--that's simply the nature of a position that lacks grounding in facts and logic.
In fact, I (and many of my like-minded compatriots) actively seek out arguments in favor of more restrictive gun laws (it being rather difficult to debunk what the other side is saying, without knowing what the other side is saying). The very weakness of the arguments advanced by the citizen disarmament advocates has done at least as much to push me into the gun rights advocacy camp as has what I have seen from people on my side.
Besides, is pro-rights "extremism" such a bad thing? Barry Goldwater didn't seem to think so, and I have a sneaky suspicion that the Founding Fathers didn't, either.
Oh--almost forgot about this little gem:
He also says people who set up websites should be encouraged as a matter of course to set up links to sites with differing views and adds that government regulation of such a system is worth considering.Because if defenders of the Second Amendment use the rights protected by the First Amendment too effectively, we'll just have to put a stop to it--right, Cass?
UPDATE: Illspirit has more.