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Government The Internet United States Politics

J. P. Barlow — Internet Has Broken the Political System 773

Posted by kdawson
from the citizenry-who-knew-too-much dept.
MexiCali59 recommends an account up at Hillicon Valley on a speech by John Perry Barlow to the Personal Democracy Forum in New York. "The deluge of information available on the Web has made the country ungovernable, according to EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow. 'The political system is broken partly because of Internet,' Barlow said. 'It's made it impossible to govern anything the size of the nation-state. We're going back to the city-state. The nation-state is ungovernably information-rich.' ... Barlow said there is too much going on at every level in Washington, DC, for the government to effectively handle everything on its plate. Instead, he advocated citizens organizing around the issues most important to them. 'There is a circle of fat around the Beltway that is incredibly thick. We can no longer try to run this country from the center. We've got to run it, just like the Internet, from the edges.' Barlow also said that President Barack Obama's election, driven largely by small donations, has fundamentally changed American politics. He said a similar bottom-up structure is needed for governing as well. 'It's not the second coming, everything won't get better overnight, but that made it possible to see a future where it wasn't simply a matter of money to define who won these things. The government could finally start belonging to people eventually.'"
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J. P. Barlow — Internet Has Broken the Political System

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  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Friday June 04, 2010 @01:23PM (#32460396) Homepage

    But they can also find the opposite. Just because it's on the internet doesn't make it factual.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, 2010 @01:25PM (#32460430)

    "In the general election, Obama got about 34 percent of his individual donations from small donors, people who gave $200 or less, according to a report from the Campaign Finance Institute. Another 23 percent of donations came from people who gave between $201 and $999, and another 42 percent from people who gave $1,000 or more."

  • by JesseL (107722) * on Friday June 04, 2010 @01:39PM (#32460634) Homepage Journal

    Obviously the Federal government still has a role to play; with things like national defense, diplomacy, regulating interstate commerce, and protecting the constitutional rights of citizens. That stuff is spelled out in the constitution.

  • by epiphani (254981) <epiphani&dal,net> on Friday June 04, 2010 @01:52PM (#32460860)

    The growth of government is directly tied to the growth of corporations. If you consider governments and corporations in the same category, here are the top 20 by revenue:

    US (Federal)
    Royal Dutch Shell
    Exxon Mobil
    Saudi Arabia

    Now, tell me, if BP had been at the top of this listen, what would have the outcome of this current situation have been? Or a better question: what would Nigeria be able to get BP to do about a disaster like this, given the entire budget of their government is half of BP's annual profit.

    While corporations exist in their current form, governments must always exist that are larger. Otherwise we're _really_ screwed.

  • by Em Emalb (452530) <> on Friday June 04, 2010 @02:00PM (#32460984) Homepage Journal

    So you'd be okay if the south brought back slavery?

    Having lived in "the South" my entire life, every time I see someone ask this question it makes me want to scream.

    What the fuck do you think is keeping people "down here" from keeping slaves? Laws? Bullshit. How about it's morally extremely disfuckingtasteful and something that is a stain on the history of our country?

    How about that people and their morals change?

    How about common decency and respect exist down here in the "backwards as shit" south that a lot of people seem to think is one step away from becoming a bunch of drooling breeding idiots? Christ, people, WE'RE THE SAME AS EVERYONE ELSE. WTF?

  • Re:yes and no (Score:3, Informative)

    by Chris Mattern (191822) on Friday June 04, 2010 @02:02PM (#32461024)

    the problem with the "destroy government" crowd is that we need strong regulations for something like the economy to work. since 1994 when the republicans took over congress, we have systematically taken away governmental regulatory powers over the economy and wall street. the result is the financial meltdown in 2008.

    Try again. The financial meltdown of 2008 was caused by the subprime mortgage disaster, which was directly *encouraged* by the Federal government through Fanny Mae and the "community reinvestment" requirements. If the Federal government had stayed out of it, it wouldn't have happened. Did you know that Fannie Mae got more Federal dollars in bailout costs than any bank, by far, and is currently demanding yet another large bailout tranch? Probably not; it's not a fact most people who are spinning this story want you to know. Democrats in Congress are in fact insisting that Fannie Mae must stay in business, to "protect the American homeowner."

  • by Luke has no name (1423139) <fox@cy b e r f o x f i r e .com> on Friday June 04, 2010 @02:06PM (#32461110)

    I agree with GP. States' Rights all the way. That doesn't mean we don't have a Federal government: The Constitution still exists, and besides some parts (Commerce Clause) being abused for the sake of Federal expansion, I think it's a great document. One must always enumerate governments' powers, not their restrictions.

    To your point on slavery: That would be in violation of the 13th amendment.

    If enough people wanted slavery back, we could call a Constitutional convention or have Congress repeal that amendment.

    People forget that the Constitution, while being the end-all and be-all of our laws, is mutable.

  • Re:yes and no (Score:3, Informative)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday June 04, 2010 @02:08PM (#32461130) Journal

    since 1994 when the republicans took over congress, we have systematically taken away governmental regulatory powers over the economy

    Hey, who was the President from 1992 to 2000 that signed all of that into law?

  • by TheFlamingoKing (603674) on Friday June 04, 2010 @02:32PM (#32461496)

    Jim Crow segregation was institutionalized in Plessy v. Ferguson. Plessy is a case where the State of Louisiana passed a racist law, and after the case was argued, the State upheld the racism - it's not a private property matter. As a result of the 7-1 decision, the racists had the power of the federal government at their hands, telling the people that separate but equal was not just an option, but a mandated federal policy.

    This is where people argue against "libertarian policies" when the reality is that government institutionalizes racism. Plessy is not the only case; the "war on drugs" is an equally vile racist policy that the US uses to discriminate against minorities and impose uneven punishments towards certain races. It's hard to argue that the government protects the people from racism when there are documented cases of the government making that racism law and upholding it through the use of force.

  • by cmdr_klarg (629569) on Friday June 04, 2010 @04:49PM (#32463542)

    So you're not going to vote Pawlenty/Bachman in '12?

    As much as I dislike Pawlenty, Bachmann is worthy of true contempt. She is completely and utterly batshit fucking insane.

  • by lgw (121541) on Friday June 04, 2010 @05:15PM (#32463858) Journal

    Here you go. [] It was rare for feudal "government positions" to be passed down more than one generation, and increasingly rare beyond two, because any position was only yours until someone stronger took it from you, or your boss, or his boss, etc. Pretty much the only way to build wealth was to take land from someone else to gain some land for yourself (not always directly, but land somewhere was the usual reward for backing the winning side), and there was little outlet other than that for ambition.

"Take that, you hostile sons-of-bitches!" -- James Coburn, in the finale of _The_President's_Analyst_