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Obama’s Regulatory Czar Favors Internet Free Speech Limits

by on May.17, 2010, under The General Pursuit

Cass Sunstein, in line with his communitarian philosophy, is in favor of corralling free speech on the Internet.  Obama’s old pal from the University of Chicago Law School, who is Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has suggested a “Fairness Doctrine” for the Internet in which any opinion or view should be linked to an opposing one via required “electronic sidewalks”, and furthermore that technology should require a 24 hour cooling off period to prevent angry emails.  Click here for details.

He is also an advocate of a new fairness doctrine, in which he contends that a panel of “nonpartisan experts” would maintain “diversity of view” balance in broadcasting, according to WorldNetDaily.

Listen to his frightening viewpoint on keeping blogs balanced with opposing views:

Conclusion from The Future of Free Speech, by Cass Sunstein:

My principal claim here has been that a well-functioning democracy depends on far more than restraints on official censorship of controversial ideas and opinions. It also depends on some kind of public domain, in which a wide range of speakers have access to a diverse public — and also to particular institutions, and practices, against which they seek to launch objections.

Emerging technologies are hardly an enemy here. They hold out at least as much promise as risk. But to the extent that they weaken the power of general interest intermediaries, and increase people’s ability to wall themselves off from topics and opinions that they would prefer to avoid, they create serious dangers. And if we believe that a system of free expression calls for unrestricted choices by individual consumers, we will not even understand the dangers as such. Whether such dangers materialise or not will ultimately depend on the aspirations, for freedom and democracy alike, by whose light we evaluate our practices. What I have sought to establish here is that in a free republic, citizens aspire to a system that provides a wide range of experiences — with people, topics and ideas — that would not have been selected in advance.


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