David French has slowly become one of my favorite columnists. Over the years, he seems to have become only more libertarian while the rest of the right becomes more authoritarian. Something that I can truly respect.
Recently, he chose to set his sites on Senator Josh Hawley. Or, as I know him as, the fraud populist. Specifically, going after his new SMART Act. For those who don’t remember, it is the legislation that would YouTube Autoplay.
From National Review:
Welcome to the Republican Daddy state. It responds to a social challenge with a blunt instrument that hurts responsible users of popular applications — which is to say, the overwhelming majority of all users — while not providing any concrete evidence that it will cure the extraordinarily complicated underlying problem it’s attempting to address: the rise of anxiety, depression, and polarization that correlates with the rise of social media and the smartphone but is caused by a multiplicity of factors.
This is a point more people need to bring up. Correlation does not equal causation. I know that sounds obvious to most people, but yet everyone seems to forget it unless someone else points it out.
I’ve written before about a study that found a link between people who drink a large amount of Coke and bone density. However, further research found that people who drank a large amount of Coke often did not drink anything that would help counter bone density. The causation wasn’t the Coke, it was them not drinking things other than Coke. At worst, Coke was proven to be neutral.
Time and again, the theme is the same. Here is this new form of entertainment that some people don’t use responsibly, and so concerned citizens turn to the government and ask, “Can’t you save us from ourselves?”
I like this part because I wrote nearly the exact same thing in my article on this:
I also can’t help but notice the Senator has done nothing to address TV addiction. Where’s his bill against two part episodes? How about a bill banning TV shows from having ongoing story lines? Why not regulate how long a TV channel can play the same show in the same time slot?
Of course, Hawley grew up with TV so he doesn’t see it as a big deal. Just as the next Josh Hawley won’t see social media as a big deal, but be panicking over whatever the new thing is at the time.
I’m very glad I’m not the only one noticing this cycle. Whenever something new comes out, people simply do not understand what it is and how to use it so they’re scared of it. Of course, it’s human nature to be afraid of the unknown, however it always makes you look quite ridiculous in hindsight.
Here’s my favorite example of this: Did you know when Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs came out doctors thought it would be dangerous to watch? How silly. The reason was because that was the first feature length animated film to be released to a mainstream US audience. Before then, no cartoon had been longer than 10 or 15 minuted. As such, doctors were actually worried looking at animation for that long would cause eye damage.
Turns out, that’s not true.
Lastly, there’s this point:
If government does decide to help Americans be “reasonable” online, it will play whack-a-mole, reacting constantly to the dizzying new developments in online interaction, creating a labyrinth of red tape all the while.
This is something that can not be overstated. The Government moves slower than the internet, technology, and the free market as a whole.
For instance, did you know MySpace is a monopoly:
As the old adage goes, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then you probably have a duck. MySpace is unquestionably a communication and information network which, like any other kind of network, grows in value with each additional user.
. . .
All of this is to say MySpace looks like a natural monopoly and, judging from usage patterns, certainly appears to be behaving like a natural monopoly.
I sure didn’t. Didn’t even know they were still a thing to be honest.
Another article claims they are larger than over 190 countries:
If it were a country, MySpace would be the seventh biggest, ahead of Russia and Bangladesh, though not all users are active. It had 153,339,321 users when I started writing this article and 153,523,640 when I had finished. What does this growth bode for the future? For the first time a like-minded media generation will grow up interacting instantaneously: globalisation personified. Maybe we won’t need CVs any more as our lives will be there online.
And so is Yahoo:
Gathering eyeballs has been the company plan since its inception. It turns out that this pack of Net-besotted, Yahoo!ing-their-brains-out, twenty- and thirty-something Web surfers have real business savvy, and their near-flawless execution and brilliant marketing have eviscerated the competition.
Government does not know what will happen next, even most consumers don’t know what will happen next.