osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,
osewalrus
osewalrus

PIPA/SOPA and Shochad

"Do not take shochad, for shochad blinds the eyes of the wise, and twists the words of the righteous." Deut. 17:19.

The word "shochad" is usually translated as "bribe," or sometimes as "gift." As a concept in Jewish law, it generally means 'being given some benefit that creates a possible conflict of interest by making you feel better about the person giving you the gift.'

I think about this a lot in the context of PIPA/SOPA. It's not that PIPA/SOPA supporters in Congress are hypocrites. It goes even deeper. They give every appearance of literally not comprehending that they are saying and doing things so utterly at odds with their normal behavior and belief system that the only way to account for it is a literal interpretation of Deut. 17:19.

For example, I am sure that if you had asked Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) a year ago: "If every major cybersecurity organization and trade association and expert said something would create a major security hole in U.S. by making it impossible to implement DNSSEC, would you require every ISP in the country to do it as a matter of law?" I'm sure he would have said: "Of course not, that would be crazy!" But what is his great "compromise" now that National Sandia Labs, Former DHS cybersecurity czar Stewart Baker, Steve Crocker (current ICANN chair who previously chaired the DNSSEC process), and Paul Vixie (author of BIND, the dominant DNS software) have all said PIPA/SOPA's proposed DNS blocking mandate will make it impossible to implement DNSSEC in the U.S.? According to his press release, his great 'compromise' is 'We will still make it a law, but after we make it a law but before we flip the switch we will study how bad it will be first.'

One would think you would study how bad it would be before you make it a law, yes? And Leahy is supposed to be one of these guys who "gets it" about the Internet. So what gives? This goes beyond "campaign contributions from my corporate masters." It's "but these guys put me in the Batman movie! How can they possibly want something so bad? It must not be that bad."

Similarly, one would not have imagined that Rep. Lamar Smith, (R-TX), conservative Republican, would vigorously defend the rights of the porn industry against an amendment from a gay Democrat. But there he was at markup last month, unabashedly protecting the porn industry from an amendment that would have barred them from using SOPA. Why? Because Hollywood said: "No amendments, that's the strategy, make it happen." And so he did. Meanwhile, Marsha Blackburn, the Tea Party stalwart who gets worked into a fine frenzy about the evils of regulating the internet if anyone even thinks the words "network neutrality" in her presence, insists to audiences of flabbergasted Tea Party Patriots that it is not only totally OK to order all broadband providers to restructure their networks so that Eric Holder (and any future AG) can block websites at will, it is not even regulation at all -- just law enforcement. And the Obama Administration can be totally trusted to use this power wisely in a way that would never imperil the freedoms of all Americans.

This goes deeper than hypocrisy. Hypocrisy requires at some level that the individual know this action is contradictory to their stated values or, as Pope put it, hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. Hypocrisy would be 'well, I recognize this looks bad, but here is why it is necessary.' This is an utter inability to even realize that what you are saying and doing so flatly contradicts everything you stand for that appears almost like some kind evil mind control, like the scene in some SF movie or TV show where the alien or supervillain or whatever says "no, those aren't your friends, those are your worst enemies come to kill you, fire!" and then we flash to an image from the victim's pov where everyone now looks like giant ants or something.

Or, as Deut. 17:19 warns, like their eyes have been blinded and their words twisted.
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