The truly deplorably tendency to regulate behavior by codifying and punishing inappropriate views as “hate crimes” will no doubt accelerate after the killing of the abortion doctor in Kansas and the Holocaust museum guard in Washington. What is worse, perhaps, is private sector attempts to anticipate such legislation by purging themselves of all objectionable content. A friend checked out of the Dulles Sheraton Hotel yesterday morning. Before leaving to catch his flight, he used the hotel internet service to check the sites that he reads each day. He could not access Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty site. The message “Code 451 – The access to the address above is restricted. According to our harmful content database, SiteCoach does not allow you to visit this page” appeared. When he tried again and held the key down a very brief message appeared that said “Forbidden: keyword racist.”
I know that there are a number of companies that offer internet screening software that does word searches to identify objectionable content, but if Ron Paul’s website is racist then virtually every website I read every day would be condemned by the same standard. If the private sector, to include sites like google, is forced to adopt some kind of voluntary community standard it will result in the end of the internet as we know it. It will mean that either the government or a Rupert Murdoch-type will be able to position himself to dictate the standards of the screening process and will be pretty much able to filter what we read, much like the “all the news that’s fit to print” environment before Al Gore (ha!) invented the internet.