09. June 2005 · Comments Off on More On FEC Comments · Categories: Politics

A new blog, Skeptic’s Eye, by former FEC staffer Allison Hayward, has lots on the comments concerning regulation of the blogosphere. Here’s a bit I really like:

Now, I realize that the cliche about “breathing room” – or “breathing space,” comes from first amendment cases and is not original to the commenters. But, isn’t “breathing space” sort of the minimum “space” necessary to sustain life? I do much more in my day that breathe.

Moreover, “ample” is that slippery kind of word that means different things to different people. Here, the people submitting the comment were also behind the court case that overturned the FEC’s original regulatory exception for the Internet. So, I’d estimate their tastes are more on the lean side than some of us would prefer.

Here’s another rhetorical device: “ordinary” as a modifier bestowing political virtue. That is, commenters advocate that the rule should protect “ordinary” citizens who use the internet, or “ordinary” people who purchase inexpensive advertising (as in the Center for Democracy and Technology’s comment). The modifier suggests there is a group out there of “others” who need not be protected, because they are “extrordinary” in some fashion. It seems to me this device attempts to hide concessions about regulating those “others” – hey they’re not of the people so who cares if they can’t participate, in a way that, at least to me, poses troubling populist tones. Who do we think is working on computers at corporations, labor unions, universities, foundations and party committees? I think an investigation would show that they are “ordinary” people.

The last senence illudes to a statement in the comment: “…individuals using their own ‘computer equipment and services.’” As members of a team blog, are we “individuals?” And just how many blogs don’t rely upon a remote hosting service?

Hat Tip: InstaPundit

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