Paul’s Poetry Corner: On Being Your Pillow
Start of July 11 Column

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

Just right for the week after The Fourth: John Perry Barlow was a pioneer of the Internet who died in 2018. Back in 1999, I ran an item on his Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, which he declared in Davos, Switzerland and dated February 8, 1996. He wrote and said a lot of important things about the Internet, but this document might have been the most important.

The Internet offers a potted summary: The declaration laid out an optimistic vision for an egalitarian internet that would allow anyone to express their beliefs “without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity” and without government regulation.


Robert E. Malchman

I don't know if that "Declaration" is more moronic than it is bombastic, or vice versa. Guess ol' JPB, sitting fat, dumb and self-impressed in Davos didn't anticipate corporations getting involved and exploiting lies, disinformation and "alternative facts" in order to drive revenue. He's like the British at Singapore, all guns aimed at the sea (the "governments") when the real threat was in the other direction, about to smoke his rear end.

The "internet" can't govern itself. That's been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It's time to repeal section 230 and make platforms liable for the injurious falsehoods the promulgate. More government is the solution, not the problem.

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