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Gypsy & Willy - The Original Libertarian Bloggers

How Can You Laugh at a Time Like This?

Gypsy & Willy

No. 231

EXTRA!

The Thought Gestapo Is At It Again!

July 29, 1999

Recently, we wrote a special computer program that sends off an inquiry to Lycos, one of the major search engines, and then "spiders" the resulting sites looking for "mailto"s, those pop-up email forms that people put on their web sites to solicit email. Indeed, there is one at the bottom of this very page. Using this software, we collected a list of about 1800 email addresses from sites that returned from a search on "libertarian," "liberty" and "freedom." We assumed that people with email addresses on such pages would share some core values with us and MIGHT like to read our column were they to know about it. So we first sent them an explanation of what we were doing, identifying the exact page from which we got their email address, and suggested they visit our site or possibly exchange site links with us. Some of the addressees (about 25) simply asked us not to email them again and we immediately removed their names from our list. Others were addresses to "webmaster," "support," "info" and the like, so we removed those as well. Some of the email simply bounced...that is, was undeliverable. This left us with a list of about 1300, to whom we sent a copy of our last week's column (A Judgement Call).

Now we do not believe that this mailing was "spam"...unsolicited commercial email...since, if a mailto is NOT a solicitation for email, what is it? And, of course, we were asking no money for anything, so we hardly qualify as "commercial." Don't we WISH we could somehow get paid for the work that goes into publishing this column each week!

But, a hitch arose. The infamous Black Hole psycho-cyber-terrorists reared up and bit us once again. A fair percentage of our columns (about 6%) were blocked on their way to the intended readers. You may have been one of them. This very column may be reaching you via a third party, who has agreed to help us distribute it past the censors. Since you HAD received our earlier mailing, we assume that someone, somewhere, recently decided that HE was in charge of deciding what YOU should read. Perhaps he didn't like the way we savaged the Kennedy family in the wake of John John's "tragic" errors. Perhaps, he simply doesn't like us. Who can say? Only the terrorists "know" what their agenda truly is.

Now we have written about the subject of spam and the Black Hole List before (Spam, Punishing the Victims! and Punishing the victims! - II), but it was a general discussion and, while we identified the perpetrators, we honestly felt that they were so full of it, that they would quickly fade away. But now we realize it's time for us, ALL of us, to go after these Internet Storm Troopers, because that's what they are.

They pretend to be nothing but wholesome upright Netizens who are looking out for YOUR well being. You can see their self-serving rationalizations at the home-site of the chief terrorist, Paul Vixie, who has become sort of the Osama Bin Laden of anti-spam fascists. We strongly suggest that you take a look. You will quickly recognize the true-believer nature of his arguments, how he has chosen to discuss only one side of the issue.

For example, his first assertion is that spam...and you will note that Mr. Vixie reserves ABSOLUTELY the right to decide what is or what is not spam, never quite defining it in a way that would make it "perfectly clear"...he asserts that spam is "theft of service." Whose services are being stolen? Why HIS of course! He used to make that part more plain, once asserting to us personally that the ISP's actually OWN the Internet, not us users...but, we suspect his fellow techno-thugs advised him that was a bit over the top and just might offend the "little people" whom he needs to continue his "struggle."

He also makes many arguments to the effect that it is in YOUR best interests to suppress spam, carefully concealing the truth that it is HE and his cohorts that will, in the end, decide FOR you what you may or may not read. He is not leaving it up to you to block or discard what you do not want, but rather has enlisted a corps of cooperating ISP's...presumedly those that agree that THEY own the Internet...to block ANY and ALL email traffic from an offending source, INCLUDING innocent people who are not involved one way or another in the dispute. Sound like any OTHER "freedom fighters" you know of?

He speaks of openness, lack of censorship and free speech, as if he really believes in those things. But, does he? Check it out: "mail must" be of "equal benefit to the sender and recipient" to be acceptable (who decides?); free speech must correspond only to what "the recipients choose to hear," and he avoids defining censorship at all. Instead he speaks of con artists and scammers...hey, we all know who THEY are, right? Each of us has received numerous get-rich-quick schemes and clearly fraudulent offers of pie-in-the-sky. But, do we need Paul Vixie to tell us what we can or can't be exposed to? Aren't there already laws against fraud and deception?

Oh, yes, Paul will claim that they, the anti-spam brigade, are not policemen. You know what, he's right! Policemen are forbidden by law from behaving in the summary manner of Paul Vixie. They have to at least pay lip service to your basic rights. He is just what we have labeled him, a techno-terrorist who aims to get by force and coercion what he can not get by persuasion. Having failed to convince any significant portion of Internet users that spam is a vital threat to their well being...one that rises to the level of needing Congressional action...he is throwing a massive techno-tantrum and enlisting the assistance of other spoiled children to do so.

You understand, that even though Paul Vixie has a mailto on HIS site asking for comments from viewers of his materials, we and everyone else serviced by our ISP can NOT write to Mr. Vixie using that mailto, because it will be blocked! This self-appointed guardian of decency has decided that we are unfit to be heard. In other words, anyone who disagrees with him is a priori censored. He doesn't want to hear any discussion, any dissent.

We have a different theory about the Paul Vixies of the world. Frustrated by freedom, irritated by people who don't agree with them, they go on holy crusades, spending huge amounts of their time and energy fighting these dragons they have invented. Perhaps, since so many of them are men, they have extraordinarily small penises, or a deficiency of testosterone or are just sad they aren't women...but "Who can blame them for that?" adds Gypsy.

Like you, we would rather be spending our time doing more pleasing things. Our column this week was going to be an update on the career of Jesse Venture, our governor...a MUCH happier subject, we assure you. But no. We have to deal with these perverts first. That is why we have issued this column as an "EXTRA", rather than waiting until Monday. It is never too soon to take action against vigilantes. Like mice, if you give them a cookie, they will want a glass of milk. So, Monday, you can expect to read about Jesse Ventura in this space, instead of Paul Vixie.

So, we are going to ask you to spend a little of your time to put an end to this nonsense, once and for all. If your ISP is one of the agents of the Black Hole Terrorists, ask them to justify it. If there is a choice in your area, threaten to go with a different ISP. And, by all means, visit Paul Vixie's site and give him a piece of your mind. Send him a copy of this column along with YOUR opinion of self-appointed mediators of YOUR freedom.

We can't speak for you, but these people give us the creeps. Like the Drug Warriors and the movie censors, they are not people we would feel comfortable inviting into our homes. They speak the language of 1984...Newspeak...bondage is freedom...censorship is openness...hate is love. We expect them, at any time, to claim they are "saving the children". Come on, let's get rid of them...by ridicule if no other way.

Talk to you later...


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