Monday, February 15, 2010

i taw a putty tweet

Mexican politicians want your Twitter.

But not to chat with you.  If some of them have their way, you may be speaking with a federale at your front door, instead.

Every time a new technology comes along, politicians feel threatened.  It is something new they cannot control.

And it is always the same theme: politicians feel threatened when people share information that vaguely threatens governmental interests.

The obvious example is the role personal computers played in destroying the commie-fascist dictatorships of Central Europe.  A lesson that the Red China thugs have learned well -- in their attempts to restrict internet use.

Email.  Cell phones.  Blogs.  They have all put twists in governmental tails -- and tales.

Now, it is Twitter's turn in the barrel of infamy.

You may have seen the story already.  Twitter has been available in Spanish for only three months.  The good citizens of Mexico City quickly put it to a good use -- sharing information on radar speed traps and drunk driving road checks.

At least one politician rose to the bait and said, in his best Gandalf voice: "This will not stand."

I do not want to be accused of putting words in a politician's mouth -- a place I would never willingly place my hand.  So, let's hear directly from federal Representaive Nozario Norberto (of the Party of the Democratic Revolution -- any surprise at that?).

We have to regulate these websites to make sure there aren't people breaking the law, making death threats, or committing crimes via electronic means.

Did you catch that subtle shift?  We jump from the horror of "death threats" to the mundane "committing crimes."  And guess who gets to determine what these informational crimes might be?

He even talks about a
“cybernetic police force” that will help reduce crime.

Perhaps he means the law to be that scary and far-reaching.  But I cannot understand why my neighbors would like to be like Red China or Hugo Chávez.

And that does not even address the common sense objection.  Why Twitter?  Do politicians not know that every technology is a potential -- and current -- tool for crime.  That is what we call freedom in a democratic republic.

Of course, proposing a law and enacting it are two different things.  This one will probably eventually end up where most stupid ideas go to die -- prime time television.

Whenever Mexico tends toward its more authoritarian roots, one saving grace keeps freedom on its stride.  Most Mexicans simply go on about their lives as if there had been no new dictate.

There was an old Soviet Union joke that workers pretended to work and the state pretended to pay them.

In Mexico, the government enacts new laws, and the people go about their merry way.  I offer driving in Mexico (especially, Mexico City) as Exhibit A, and rest my case.

This may be as close to a libertarian heaven I will ever see.

I should twitter you that --

-- if I knew how.


Leah Flinn said...

you are exactly right - it's not that Mexico is a lawless wild west. It HAS laws, but the people do not give their consent to be governed by them...please take note, Americans.

Steve Cotton said...

The freedom is exhilarating. We once knew that lesson.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps those politicians should first put a stop to armed robberies of entire city buses in Mexico City.

When they've solved that little problem, then they can worry about the lurking dangers of Twitter.

Meanwhile we can regard them as the pendejos that they are.


Kim G
Boston, MA