The Chilling Effect of Obama's Attack on the iPad

By:  JBS Staff
05/10/2010
       

Obama Commencement SpeechFox News suggests he's the iLiar for his recent attack on technology, but President Obama's commencement speech to a graduating class is more noteworthy for its potentially chilling effect on online speech and on free speech in general. As Fox notes, the President was at least disingenuous in his remarks to graduates of Hampton University on May 9.

Speaking of iPods, iPads, and Xboxes, the President claimed he doesn't know how to work any of them. Odd, certainly, for a man who has claimed an almost addiction to his Blackberry, and who told the Associated Press that he has Michael Jackson songs on his iPod.

More serious than his ability to keep his story straight are the chilling statements he made about technology and democracy. Speaking to the graduates, President Obama said they are "coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter."

In this environment, he said, "information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it's putting pressure on our country and on our democracy."

Net Neutrality, ipad, ipods, xboxesTo clarify, here is what the President had to say: we have too much information to choose from, and not all of it is accurate, and consequently our government is in danger.

What he didn't say, but what might be reasonably implied, is that we need a "solution" to this "problem."

This is statist propaganda at its finest. Contrary to the president's beliefs, in a free society the concomitant free flow of information is essential. More information is better than less. In fact, this is one of the key points of the First Amendment, that the government not be allowed to infringe upon freedom of speech or the press, so that the free flow of information is not impeded. Is the president, then, suggesting that the government should act to control the flow of information?

Interestingly, he noted that this flow of information puts pressure on government. Of course, that is exactly what it should do. In a republic like the U.S. (not a democracy as the president said), government is instituted by the people and for the people. Consequently, government is answerable to the people and the peoples' and states' representatives. This is only possible when citizens have access to timely and accurate information. When this information conveys knowledge of government mismanagement or worse, naturally the citizens may insist upon changes and repairs, putting pressure on government. Recognizing the importance of this, the Founding Fathers crafted the First Amendment, in part, for just this reason.

It must again be asked, because he objects to the functioning of the press and the free flow of information, is the president a statist?

It would seem the answer is yes.

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