“Blogs vs. Twitter & Facebook” Arguments, As Applied to the Bill of Rights

There have been a lot of posts (and political lobbying) within the past few years by a dying Media 1.0 establishment and a gullible public to discourage the creation and reading of blogs, this time by encouraging Twitter and Facebook as replacements for blogs. Examples: 1 2 3 4

Rather than go on a standard political rant about this issue like any other blogger would, I thought I’d apply this to each amendment in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution.

(Note that the content in this article may not apply to blogs hosted on major “community” sites such as Google and Myspace. Since they are run by major corporations, with Myspace owned by the parent company of Fox News, they may be subject to the same/similar issues as Twitter and Facebook.)

1st Amendment: No Establishment of Religion (basis for “Separation of Church and State”), Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Peaceful Assembly, Right to Petition the Government:
Blogs have empowered the people more than ever, as they expose media bias and blackouts, political scandals, and more corruption you would never find out about on TV or radio. Information about diverse religions and philosophy available on the Internet is discouraging many parents from vaccinating their children by temporarily changing their religion or claiming an exemption. Some religious issues reported by Media 1.0, such as sexual abuse issues in the Catholic Church, have been subject to further debate on blogs – for example, the role of the vow of celibacy required by most priests. Material critical of Islam, such as the movie Fitna and depictions of Muhammad, freely spreads through blogs, causing Islamic theocracies to play whack-a-mole, banning entire Web sites and threaten to execute their owners. As a means of news, blogs containing audio and video, such as embedded material uploaded onto YouTube, have enabled individuals to “broadcast”, regardless of archaic laws. Broadcast licensing was originally designed to prevent interference according to issues not present in the age of GPS, satellites, digital transmissions, and “simulcasting” (the ability to put multiple channels in a single frequency, such as with Digital TV and HD Radio). However, they eventually became a means of media control. It took many media blackouts for obscure anti-establishment politician Ron Paul to gain media exposure in 2008, and in the 2004 Democratic primaries an antitrust-minded man named Howard Dean was mocked out of the race over a pep rally. Many grassroots campaigns, spread via blogs, have been highly successful. The Internet has made it easy to send e-mails and faxes to Congressmen and -women, as well as make laws and transcripts available for full viewing.
What gives blogs the advantage with all of this over Twitter or Facebook is the fact that if you own or lease the hardware running your site, you have much more freedom, since the less contracts there are, and the more privacy rights you have (Facebook is notorious for a mysterious “selling out” on the importance of privacy rights some time ago), the freer you are.

2nd Amendment: Right to Bear Arms:
In a world of liberal and neo”conservative” media, true conservatives and libertarians have grown due to blogs. Efforts such as the “Ron Paul Revolution” presidential campaign of 2008, the successor group Campaign for Liberty, and Tea Party protests owe the Internet their success. In opposition to these efforts, bog-standard left-wing charges of “violent racists” and “angry white men” fly at innocent Republicans who now have a new opportunity to speak their mind. And unlike Twitter and Facebook, which respond to any one complaint by banning the user or material immediately, so-called “hate speech” and “harassment” accusations by the left-wing establishment can be resolved more easily and fairly with a hosting provider, even if similar bans are in their contracts.

3rd Amendment: No Quartering of Soldiers:
Many blogs, such as the anarcho-capitalist LewRockwell.com and Justin Raimondo’s Antiwar.com, frequently criticize wars, foreign policy measures, anti-terrorism laws, and the actions of the US military (in fact, LRC is banned from offices of US intelligence agencies). No longer are complaints about the military or government limited to our minds or homes – while none of us, whether criminal or peaceful, are anonymous to authorities in any way, blog pseudonyms enable us to publish all kinds of crazy ideological arguments without our families and friends even knowing. Again, Facebook and Twitter will shut anything “hate speech” down immediately.

4th Amendment: Search & Seizure, Warrants, Right to Privacy:
The establishment has grown very successful in defeating the protections of this amendment. Laws such as the Patriot Act have eroded this right, and social networks and search engines have become goldmines for both private industry and government agencies. Facebook and Twitter are no exception – those sites store backups of your actions even if you delete your account. Web hosts have their own privacy policies and law enforcement measures which may be much less invasive. Other laws, such as the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, have granted these same broad powers to copyright holders, though in some cases they are used for purpose of censorship or forming trust-like “holding” organizations rather than copyright infringement.
And while Media 1.0 will censor or twist anything that reflects badly upon its own industry (or any other industry for that matter), and Facebook has “mysteriously” reversed its stance on privacy rights recently, blogs such as Slashdot have risen to fill in the blanks.

5th Amendment: No Double Jeopardy, No Self-Incrimination, Right to Life, Liberty, and Property, Eminent Domain:
6th Amendment: Right to a Speedy Trial, Nature of Trials:
7th Amendment: Right to Trial By Jury:
Acts which threaten the establishment have led to intelligence agencies and copyright holders to engage in dealmaking which is slowly trending towards entire leasing of your machine. Blogs have been reporting these efforts by Microsoft, Apple, the MAFIAA, and others, as well as reporting hacker attacks on remotely-stored personal data, which is sometimes marketed as “cloud computing”. After eminent domain laws were extremely loosened to allow seizure of property by Wal-Mart, bloggers not only reported the story, but debated the consequences. Trial by jury is being threatened through the expansion of forced arbitration, mandated by a federal law irreversible by states, including to Web sites about cartoon characters, rapists, neglectful murdering nursing homes, and consumer electronics purchases, but people are getting together and fighting the law, and some arbitration companies have left consumer dispute markets. The banking industry’s role in the current recession, reported by bloggers with an anti-establishment bias, has helped with this issue as well.

8th Amendment: No Cruel or Unusual Punishment:
Information regarding foreign wars have been reported by bloggers, with Media 1.0 dishonesty even being videotaped. Torture and other events at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo would be easy to hide if blogs didn’t exist, and there would be less questioning the claims made by the President about national security and foreign dictators. The use of pseudonyms have encouraged people to discuss and debate the Israeli lobby without fear of being publicly labeled an anti-Semite, even if they secretly are one.

9th Amendment: Rights Not Limited to Constitution:
As rights such as copyright protection have been broadly expanded in length and scope, bloggers have been making use of Creative Commons licenses to waive such rights for the benefit of themselves and others. This even includes musicians who rely on a cult following and touring, such as Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead, who have left major labels and still kept their fans. Some have gone even further and released material entirely into the public domain, as controversial creationist figure Kent Hovind once did. I myself have released much of this blog’s content into the public domain.

10th Amendment: States’ Rights, Other Rights Belong to States & People:
Due to dissatisfaction with the establishment, fueled by blogs and the Tea Party movement, many libertarians have started a “Tenther” movement, proposing that the US become a confederacy where states have nullification rights over an ever-expanding federal government. Many want to repeal other Constitutional amendments associated with infringing on states’ rights, including parts of the 14th (birthright citizenship, bill of rights applies to states), the 16th (direct federal income tax), and the 17th (senate popularly elected like the house is, something I want to see repealed). Twitter and Facebook, once again, will shut down anything after somebody points the race card.

27th Amendment: Limiting Congressional Pay:
(part of original Bill of Rights, but not ratified until 1992)
Bloggers have been able to monitor Congress like never before, including not only laws and transcripts in their entirety, but also exposing financial and sexual scandals, ties to various lobbies, and other forms of corruption Media 1.0 would never report, and would be extremely difficult to spread via Twitter.

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