Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the christmas-edition dept

This week, we saw a disturbing argument from a top US surveillance lawyer that technology has made the Fourth Amendment “outdated”. One anonymous commenter won first place for insightful by refuting this as directly and bluntly as possible:

The 4th amendment doesn’t become null and void just because you have an easier time violating it.

In second place, we’ve got a response to the crazy South Carolina anti-porn bill that would mandate filters on all devices and charge people $20 to remove them. Machin Shin wondered how exactly that would play out:

Maybe it was his intention all along “But any manufacturer or seller that didn’t want to install the system could pay a $20 opt-out fee for each device sold.”

To me that pretty much says “$20 tax is being added to every internet device” because charging an extra $20 is a lot easier and cheaper than jumping over the impossibly high bar set for filtering the entire internet with 100% accuracy.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with a comment from Jeremy Lyman on the subject of the monopolies and anti-net-neutrality actions of the big ISPs:

If other video providers don’t like it, they’re all free to build national wireless data distribution networks and unfairly leverage them as they see fit.

Oh, wait. No. No, they’re not allowed to do that at all.

Next, after a tiresome and daft commenter made some simplistic and binary assertions about regulation and capitalism, Chuck responded with a thorough and measured response on the subject:

I’m just going to go ahead and say this plain: I am not most Techdirt readers, but actually, YES, I do hate Capitalism and I am pro-regulation.

Now, to be fair, I actually don’t hate Capitalism. Capitalism, though, is like faith. If you have BLIND faith, that’s a bad thing. It shows a complete and total lack of understanding of the nature of humanity. Faith, giuded by evidence and reason, can be a good thing. Like faith that the president won’t start a nuclear war tomorrow. Sure, he totally could, but I have faith, based on the fact that he hasn’t for 8 years and his policies are all diplomacy-first, that he won’t.

BLIND Capitalism is no better. “Greed is good” may be a joke to most people, but to an alarmingly large part of the richest, both here in the US and the world abroad, these are words to live by. Capitalism is a system of risk and reward, and that’s actually a BAD thing. It actively encourages people who can afford to risk their money to do so, and rewards them with even more money. The people who have to gamble the clothes on their back and the food in their bellies in order to “make it” lose more often than they win, and usually because the people who are already established can afford to shut them down with very little risk to themselves.

Moderated, tampered Capitalism can be very good. A system like the Nordic Model – which is neither free-market Capitalism nor outright Socialism – is the ideal system. It is not a difficult system to find fault in, but then neither is ours, and the difference is their elderly are more well cared for, their children are smarter, and they are overall happier people. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as it were.

And yes, I am pro-regulation. I am actually pro-unionization. Unions and regulations fill the same role, which is to keep corporations in check. Without one or the other, companies have zero logical reason not to engage in the worst possible behavior in search of the almighty dollar. We don’t need both unions and regulation, but since American is (now) one of the least unionized nations on earth, I’m happier with more regulation than neither. Unions are still the ideal solution, but regulation is a decent stand-in.

So yes, in a certain sense, I hate Capitalism and I am pro-regulation, if you want to be overly simplistic about it, but like most things, it’s more complicated than that. In truth, I love workers and I am pro-union. But that may be such an unimportant nuance (to you) that you can’t see the difference.

There is still a difference, though.

Over on the funny side, our first place comment comes in response to a dental firm that attempted to route around safe harbors and take down bad reviews by abusing trademark law (only to be SLAPPed down). One anonymous commenter posited what reviews might look like under such a regime:

Dr. [Name] did my [dental procedure]. Both Dr. [Name] and his assistant Miss [hygienist] were courteous and the [dental procedure] was done in [time period]. I have recommended him to both [family member’s name], my [family member’s relation] and to [coworker’s name].

In second place, we’ve got another response to the South Carolina anti-porn bill, this time from a confused anonymous commenter:

But I was told it was democrats who wanted to regulate every aspect of our lives!

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we remain on that post, where one commenter suggested that solving the issue might be as easy as re-installing Windows 10 to remove bloatware. David saw a contradiction in that idea:

“Getting rid of bloatware” does not jibe with “re-install Windows 10”.

And finally, we’ve got one more response to the question of regulation and capitalism, but this time it’s That One Guy taking a slightly more sarcastic approach:

Absolutely right, there are only two options, an all Encompassing Government with All the Power and No Government At All!

No middle grounds!

You’re either for everything the government does(and you’re wrong), or anything the government does is wrong and to be fought at all costs. No exceptions and no grey in between, it’s literally impossible to think that some things the government does is good and some things are bad, and the first should be encouraged while the second should be called out and fought against.

Entertaining venting aside, when you want to discus what people actually say, in the articles and in the comments, you might find people willing to listen instead of just brushing you aside as dishonest.

That’s all for this week, folks!

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