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Democraphobia: Elites like Cass Sunstein mortified of a New Media world that allows the public to think for themselves 11/7/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Elites.

You might think that everyone is celebrating the Internet as an historic breakthrough that will provide the public with unprecedented opportunities to become more informed. But if you do, you are clearly not one of our nation’s power elite, who can only seem to find the dark lining in this bright, silver cloud.

For instance, U of Chicago law professor and former DC bigwig Cass Sunstein has penned yet another book telling us that the people cannot be trusted with this information. His first book on the subject, Republic.com (2001), is now laughable to the extent one can laugh at those who would be tyrants. Believe it or not, he suggested that the government should consider forcing web site operators to include links or pop-up windows to advertise sites with alternative political views. Apparently feeling he had not done enough in his assault on the free speech clause of the First Amendment, he now has a sequel, Republic.com 2.0, that batters freedom of association. He insists that something must be done to prevent people from giving too much attention and weight to views they already hold, rather than to opposing views. I don’t want to sound picky, but it might have been nice if, decades earlier, he had shown similar concern about journalists dismissing views that they didn’t particularly like at our monolithic, center-left news media.

Fortunately for those skimming his latest work at bookstores, there is a tell-tale sign in its early pages that perhaps they should not be using their hard-earned dollars to encourage him. Sunstein argues that the First Amendment is designed to promote democratic deliberation, but it doesn’t give us the right to do whatever we want. Hmmm…maybe he’s finally gotten something right about the First Amendment. But, I do seem to recall reading somewhere that in our country no elitist like Sunstein may deprive us of our rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Do you suppose he’s ever heard of the Declaration of Independence? (Hat Tip: Walter Abbott)


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