"Voluntary Censorship" vs. Govt Legislation

Jim Burnes jim.burnes at ssds.com
Wed Aug 6 12:04:48 PDT 1997


Considering the volume of email you're

receiving on this topic, I doubt that you

will get around to reading this letter.

But for what its worth, the whole idea

of heading off Federal legislation by

policing ourselves is surrendering everything

that we've won from the defeat of the

British in 1776 to the defeat of the CDA.

(a slight overstatement seeing that the

Brits don't seem to have Parliment passing

CDA laws)

Can you imagine going into a library and

having censorship ratings stamped on the

bindings of all the books there?  The

very thought nearly brings tears to my eyes.

Last week I watched Farenheit 451 and

realized how close we are coming to that

sort of society.

If people want their information censored

then they should "donate" money to their

church and have it write filtering software.  This

would be a great way for churches to make

money -- all tax free.  Chances are that

people would be able to find a church that

agrees with their tastes in censorship.  They

may even attend that very organization.

Think about it!  Rather than bland names

such as CyberSitter or NetCop or whatever

you would have a "Parish Priest" that filters

all references to clerical pedophilia, a "Rabbi

Goldberg" that bans everything it considers anti-

semitic and a "Baptist Minister (southern edition)"

that pretty much bans... well .. a lot.  Microsoft

has been trying to sell user agents for a while.  This

would beat the hell out of Bob.  Someone might actually

use it!  You would know exactly what you were getting

and people won't usually sue their church if they should

happen to miss a nasty URL once in a while.

The church agents could also keep a tally of all the

bad information the kids had been protected from and

the nature of the information -- just in case the 'rents

need to save them from mortal peril.

As for the concept of an RSACi rating

for "news sites" that are "officially approved"

I can only say this is the most Orwellian proposal

so far.  After fifty-plus-years of "official"

news I'd say that most people have had a

belly full.  The pure arrogance of such an idea

is simply repulsive.  To call this hypocrisy would

be a affront to hypocrits everywhere.

Rather than discussing this issue with the

government I suggest you take it to a council

of churches where it belongs and not the Feds.

The last time the Feds staged a morality

play they burned twenty children to death.

For an example of how well the media served

the people during that "rescue attempt" I refer

you to charred corpses of little girls at Public

Affair's Waco Holocaust Museum at:


Would Public Affairs get an official

"news site" stamp of approval?  I thought


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   make the best of what's still around

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