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Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'm not so sure about your example, Cass

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).

"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.
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).

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.


me said...

hey cool, the unfairness doctrine for the interweb...SURE, that's cool right after the news is forced to report both sides. For every gangbanger shooting over drugs or "respect" we get to hear one about a self defense shooting.

Democracy is threatened? Please, the only thing challenged is celebrity worship and fake news...oh wait, government control through the media. The mob rule isn't at risk here.

Government backed (read control sites where the controls are once again crammed down our throats)public websites.

this is what he wants things to be like (bad language, so be warned)

me said...

Hmmm, linked to the wrong thing.

Try this

Yuri Orlov said...

*mutter mutter mutter*

Arg, what a dolt! There's no way in hell I'd put links to the Brady's and The Gun Guys for example on my site. He wants to force me to do that?

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Well, he would only force you if "encouraging" you didn't work.

By the way, how would something like that work with the gun forums--as far as I know (and I've looked), there aren't any online forums dedicated to promoting more restrictive gun laws. Would that make it "unfair" for there to be forums that oppose gun laws?

Anonymous said...

And just think, if H.R. 1955 gets passed, Sunstein and friends will be that much closer to getting their wish..

I linked to this in a censorship roundup post, but can't trackback since my blog isn't on Google. It's here if anyone cares:


Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Thanks for the link, Spirit--the way you tie together these various infringements on the First Amendment paints a rather chilling picture, does it not?

Anonymous said...

It's quite chilling indeed. I've been watching their moves on the 1A front after getting dragged into a video game "scandal" a few years back, and have noticed lots of creepy similarities with the anti-gun movement.

In fact, that's pretty much what got me to start paying attention to gun politics again after thinking it was safe since the Democrats lost in '94 - '04.

Anonymous said...

Sunstein basically raises two separate but overlapping issues:

(1) The Internet encourages the formation of special interest communities, which sometimes turn into public policy echo chambers, which in turn degrades public policy debate.

(2) The gun community, represented by the NRA, is a bunch of extremist wackos, and we need more gun control.

Point (1) seems to be a reasonable hypothesis. Point (2) is simply Sunstein's personal opinion.

We can accept one without the other.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

I'll buy that, PN, although in acknowledging that I can accept one without the other, I'm not willing to obligate myself to accept either. The point (1) may have merit, or it may not--it's not really something that concerns me personally, but there might be something to it.

I get nervous, though, when I see things like " . . . adds that government regulation of such a system is worth considering." Arguing that perhaps the government should have the power to require some kind of internet "fairness doctrine" is madness.