The following was submitted by Robert Rash.
Editor’s Note: The following represents the views of the Robert Rash and not necessarily the views of Gamechurch.
I was once a Political Science Major. In fact, I was 4 classes shy from graduating with that major. Having decided to go into ministry, I still from time to time like to put the Poli Sci hat back on to examine some of the latest political controversies. As many of you probably know, the internet is really upset with the SOPA and PIPA bills that Congress is currently looking at. Many sites are participating in an internet blackout as a form of protest. Today, I would like to submit to you a critical analysis of both the bills in question and the movements that are fighting against them. Because, quite frankly, they are both really annoying me.
Both SOPA and PIPA are bills that were designed with the intent of protecting against piracy. However, as the saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” To be honest there needs to be something done to prevent piracy. Piracy doesn’t just affect the music and movie worlds. It affects the gaming world as well. Games like Half Life 2 have been victims of rouge hackers who go in, steal the game code, and make copies to distribute whether the game is completed or not. Whether or not you believe that piracy hurts big companies, many of you here are Christians and it clearly states in the Bible that stealing is a big no-no. Piracy is theft, don’t kid yourself. It’s gotten worse and it needs to be addressed. However, SOPA and PIPA in their current forms are not the answer. The bills are poorly worded and give the government as well as big businesses too much power. If certain measure in the bill were allowed, things like gameplay videos and machinimas can potentially be restricted and any user caught posting them could come under serious trouble.
To be quite honest, the bills in all of their audacity don’t make me angry. They don’t scare me into believing that our government is going to end up likeChina’s. However, the movement to fight SOPA is perhaps even more poorly conceived than the bills themselves. The bills are patently terrible but the movement to fight SOPA is full of immaturity and ignorance. Some of the most outspoken about the bills are other videogame journalists. Here are some of the reasons why the Anti-SOPA movement is getting on my nerves.
- Google: Google, being one of the strongest fighters against SOPA, currently still operates inChina. Let’s be honest, the SOPA bill is nowhere close to being as bad asChina’s censorship. SOPA wants to stop piracy,China blocks history and world events (go toChina and try to look up Arab Spring orTiananmen Square, I dare you)! To makes matters worse, Google conforms to these standards. Google allows this censorship with no protests to the Chinese government, whereas other websites have decided to not operate inChina. Google, you smell of hypocrisy.
- Let’s use big words and not know their meanings: Some leaders of the movement are calling SOPA and PIPA “draconian.” Do us all a favor and before you use a word look up its true meaning. Draco was a psychotic leader who believed the only good punishments were torture and death. SOPA is nothing like this. You want to call something draconian look at Saddam Hussein’s regime.
- Black out/Passive Aggressive Status/Changed Profile Pic Day: I’m sorry this little exercise is as arbitrary as the, “Don’t Buy Gas” Day. This isn’t really a protest; this is people acting like kids threatening to not eat supper. You want to do something? Start writing to your Congressman or protesting in public like the Tea Partiers or Occupy Wall Street crowd.
- The Perceived Passion: I’m sorry but this proves to me that if the Internet was a person, it would be a 13 year old brat. This is what makes you angry? This is what motivates you to come together to fight the government? Millions of unborn children die each year because of legalized abortions, do you rally for them? No. Human Trafficing and Slavery is still very present in theU.S. today, but do you commission your congressmen and women to do something about it? No. Our government is so corrupt, the tax system is designed to take as much money from you as possible and you not know about it. Where is your movement for that? Nowhere. My problem is that there are so many bigger issues that have come and gone or that are still around and we get upset because we won’t be able to post a Jay Z song (that we got off of a torrent) to our blogs. Much of what upsets us about SOPA are mere affronts to our personal comforts.
- The Ignorance of How our Government Works: The outrage over SOPA neglects to adequately consider the tenuous nature of its “current form.” When a bill gets sent to Congress for approval, it goes through a constant state of change. Bills are constantly rewritten. The bill as it presently stands is destined to fail. Our Congress will not let it pass. It will either be rewritten or killed on the spot. If I am wrong and it does pass, someone will immediately sue. I would then foresee the case will go to the Supreme Court and then be ruled unconstitutional.
- The Politicians who are for SOPA: I am going to keep this short and sweet. YOU WOULDN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THIS IF YOU ACTUALLY VOTED OR IN THE CASE OF THOSE WHO DID, YOU ACTUALLY DID YOUR RESEARCH ON THE CANDIDATES! The only reason those politicians are there is because the people elected them. Some may point the finger at lobbyist but it’s you, the American citizen, that puts a person in power.
The fact of the matter is this, SOPA and PIPA are really bad bills with good intentions. However, the way that we are fighting the bills are wrong. We need to start electing and following people that have are true interests at heart. When we want to fight a bill, we need to do more than sit around and complain or turn our webpage off for a day. Start contacting your congressman. If he doesn’t act, vote him out of office. I’m not asking you to agree with me. I know I made some of you angry. I am just asking you to think about the short comings and the good intentions of both the SOPA bill and the movement against it. Learn how politics and our government works (even though it may not feel that way, our governments power truly comes from our willingness to give it out). What we learn from this can and should be applied to the next bill that comes up and is unconstitutional (I’m thinking about new anti-video game legislation that keeps popping up every two years). My hope in writing this is that we as American citizens grow in our understanding of how our government works. As we grow, hopefully we will find healthy ways to fight bills like SOPA or Anti-Video Game laws before they become more sophisticated and powerful.