Eternal Vigilance and the Beer Store

As I heard the story, back in the day in my home town, there was no beer store. One day a group of people suggested one be built but it was shot down. Some time later, again, more people said it should be built but that was rejected. Some time later even more people said there should be a beer store but that, too, was rejected. Finally, one day, a majority of the people said there should be a beer store and, this time, they got it. Democracy in action? Maybe, but this is a parable and, as go all good parables, the application is much broader.

In a previous blog, I linked Michael Geist’s article on the copyright lobby coming back from the dead to pressure the government into more copyright reform and this after an ongoing national debate that has spanned the better part of the last decade if not more. The lobby never stops. The citizenry, equally, can never stop. We must raise our children and continue, ourselves, to know and understand the issues, and ceaselessly work to prevent the slippery slope that lobbies perpetrate in their own unceasing efforts to get what they want.

It’s not just about a beer store. It’s not just about copyright legislation. Instead, this blog is a reminder that our victories are only for the moment. They are not strategic on the way to a final decision. So we must continue to face up to the opposition time and again, knowing and understanding the issues, and being able to respond with sound, convicting reason.

Undead ACTA Still Thrashing

Check out Michael Geist’s latest update The ACTA Fight Returns: What Is at Stake and What You Can Do. Here’s an excerpt:

The reverberations from the SOPA fight continue to be felt in the U.S. (excellent analysis from Benkler and Downes) and elsewhere (mounting Canadian concern that Bill C-11 could be amended to adopt SOPA-like rules), but it is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that has captured increasing attention this week. Several months after the majority of ACTA participants signed the agreement, most European Union countries formally signed the agreement yesterday (notable exclusions include Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, Cyprus and Slovakia).

This has generated a flurry of furious protest: thousands have taken to the streets in protest in Poland, nearly 250,000 people have signed a petition against the agreement, and a Member of the European Parliament has resigned his position as rapporteur to scrutinize the agreement, concluding that the entire review process is a “charade.”

It’s a democracy folks. Let’s make our voice known.

National Security: An Excuse That Has No Place In A Democracy

If the government wants to get out of something, they need only utter “national security” and all concerns are nullified. This excuse is abhorrent and has no place in a democracy.

If the government wants to get out of something, they need only utter “national security” and all concerns are nullified.

This excuse is abhorrent and has no place in a democracy.

Authorities should be demanding better explanations. If a source is at risk of exposure, fine, say that. If it’s another case, say that.

If you can’t come up with anything more palatable than “national security” then it’s a clear sign you have no ground to stand on.

Shame on you people who use the excuse of “national security”. You are not worthy of the democracy you enjoy.