Library Filters: Another Perspective


After reading my news article and opinions on the issue of filters in public libraries and the recent Supreme Court decision mandating their use, Doug from XYCash had quite a bit to say in response – and believing in equal time for dissenting opinions, I wanted to share them with you:

[After reading Stephen’s article] I would argue several things. One, every decision that touches our industry and is not favorable is one step closer to all of us. More on that in a minute.

Two, and this is the *big* one, and is what the librarians were concerned about: Obviously titties and TS Eliot don't mix - but a better question is why time and again "safe surf" software has blocked ERA, NOW, and anything politically inconsistent with the beliefs of the ones who wrote and created the filter.

Everyone - and I hate to add XBiz to this list, but it is so - describes this as filtering public porn. Well, sure, porn will get filtered, but if you want a real scenario of where this can easily go, since the first big bold headline (and the only one anyone will ever remember) is porn no matter what happens, look at this.

Once the filtering software is in place - and it now has to be - the implications can be completely innocuous, and it may well help to build the "brave new world" that many Americans want (which seems to be heavily based on being told what they can and can't do) ...or they can be much more serious.

A concern I have is that while we have the ACLU and EFF, etc., they're set up to handle breaches of civil liberties from the viewpoint that our society is basically free. Now we have numerous laws in the past eighteen months which have taken us miles away from where we were. ACLU is used to taking a clear-cut case of injustice with a handful of people, or just a person, and helping them get it resolved. They're not rich, they don't have tremendously deep pockets. We contribute to them and I URGE every single adult webmaster to give when you can, even if it's $25, because I am worried about how they will be able to respond if there is suddenly a huge wave of civil liberties violations. It's not their fault - they weren't set up on the assumption we'd suddenly be faced the current onslaught. It shouldn't happen in a democracy. But now we are seeing so many different assaults on multiple fronts, only a handful directly against adult. Abortion rights, affirmative action, filtering... the control screws are being tightened, slowly but surely.

Think about this. In WWII, the Nazis targeted unpopular groups. Most people bought the reasoning. "Well they say they're stealing money from my business. I'm not Jewish. It won't be me." "Homosexuality - well I don't agree with that. I'm not gay. It won't be me." "Gypsies? They don't even pay taxes. I'm not a gypsy. It won't be me." In the end, it is *always* me.

It is the art of distraction, and wars against anything unpopular - be it terrorism, immorality, or whatever - are the key propaganda tool.

“Why of course the people don't want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” That quote came from Goering, Hitler's right-hand man.

Here's one more. It's recent: "If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."

In closing I'll just use some words from history: “...I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. ... corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” (Lincoln)

Sorry guys...some things just really strike a chord - Doug