Joho the Blog » I give up. Repeal everything.

I give up. Repeal everything.

Robert Samuelson has an apparently serious op-ed in the Washington Post arguing that we should “repeal the Internet.”

He says:

If I could, I would repeal the Internet. It is the technological marvel of the age, but it is not — as most people imagine — a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it. I grant its astonishing capabilities: the instant access to vast amounts of information, the pleasures of YouTube and iTunes, the convenience of GPS and much more. But the Internet’s benefits are relatively modest compared with previous transformative technologies, and it brings with it a terrifying danger: cyberwar. Amid the controversy over leaks from the National Security Agency, this looms as an even bigger downside.

Excellent idea! Really well-argued! In fact, why stop there?

If I could, I would repeal the First Amendment. It is the governmental marvel of the age, but it is not — as most people imagine — a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it. I grant its astonishing capabilities: the TV talking heads, the bumperstickers, the op-eds that have to overstate their case to get published, and much more. But First Amendment’s benefits are relatively modest compared with previous speech rights, and it brings with it a terrifying danger: free thinking. Amid the controversy over leaks from the National Security Agency, this looms as an even bigger downside.

Indeed,

If I could, I would repeal oxygen. It is the chemical marvel of the age, but it is not — as most people imagine — a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it. I grant its astonishing capabilities: the way it’s used by cigarette lighters, the buoyancy of kiddie swim fins, the infomercials that entertain us with how it helps remove cranberry juice from table cloths. But oxygen’s benefits are relatively modest compared with previous chemicals, and it brings with it a terrifying danger: life on Earth Amid the controversy over leaks from the National Security Agency, this looms as an even bigger downside.

 


Here’s the MadLibs version of the paragraph. Create your own!

7 Responses to “I give up. Repeal everything.”

  1. As far as I know, GPS is totally unrelated to the Internet, except that some programs use it. The fundamental technology is independent of the Internet (consider your stick-on dashboard GPS). Does this affect the rest of his thinking?

  2. Good point.

    If we’re feeling charitable, we can say that he meant “GPS-based map services.” But given that he’s writing for a large readership, he should not have left the false impression that GPS is an Internet service.

  3. If I could, I would repeal all guns. They are the technological marvel of the age, but it is not — as most people imagine — a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without them. I grant guns astonishing capabilities: the instant access to vast amounts carnage, the pleasures of holding people against their will and taking their possessions, the convenience of killing people who get in your way and much more. But the benefits of guns are relatively modest compared with previous transformative technologies, and they bring a terrifying danger: War. War without having to actually engage your opponent. Amid the shenanigans of the National Rifle Association and the controversy over leaks from the National Security Agency, this looms as an even bigger downside.

  4. Why be charitable when a a pundit with zero technical expertise parrots fear-mongering from companies selling consulting services to the US government?

  5. If I could, I would repeal punditry. It is the journalistic marvel of the age, but it is not — as most people imagine — a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it. I grant its astonishing capabilities: a venue for politicians’ trial balloons and anonymous attacks, jobs created for countless public relations professionals, the foil that gives us the pleasures of the Daily Show and the Onion and much more. But punditry’s benefits are relatively modest compared with previous journalistic innovations, and it brings with it a terrifying danger: vapidity. Amid the controversy over leaks from the National Security Agency, this looms as an even bigger downside.

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