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Cass Sunstein: Fascist totalitarian or totalitarian fascist?

WorldNetDaily’s article about Cass Sunstein is laughably wrong and scarily partisan. Now that Obama has nominated Sunstein to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the anonymous article in WND presents suggestions and ideas in Sunstein’s nuanced and clear-eyed works as if Sunstein were putting them forward as federal policy. The weirdest is Sunstein’s thought that it’d be useful if software could tell you that a message you’re about to send is a flame, and then keep you from pressing the send button hastily. In the hands of WND, this becomes Sunstein using the power of the federal government to mandate that it read all emails and block ones it doesn’t like.

I disagree with Sunstein on many points. In particular, Sunstein famously worries that the Internet is a causing us to harden our hearts and minds, enabling us to hear only from people with whom we agree. As an overall characterization, I think that misses too much else of what the Net is doing…even as I agree that the Net undoubtedly has that effect, too. I disagree with him, but I’m thrilled to have him in the Internet conversation. At the very least, his concern should remind us that the good things that the Net does and can do won’t happen automatically; we need to be vigilant and imaginative. At the most, he’s right and we need to heed him.

So, given that a concern about polarization has become the best-known piece of Sunstein’s powerful writings, the WorldNetDaily’s polarizing article can this morning reassure us that unintended irony remains the strongest force in the universe.

[Later that day: Julian Sanchez does a great job tracking down the quotes ‘n’ context (AKA The Truth.]

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