Let’s shut down the internet

I have had a good run at this blogging thing, but it seems that I may be contributing to a growing problem.

The problem is the internet.

Just about every modern-day problem can be blamed on the internet. Hackers, viruses, cyber-bullying, internet fraud, and an overwhelming preponderance of cat pictures. It’s all the internet’s fault.

This internet thing has got out of control, and it’s time to stop. Let me explain how bad the problem has become.

The Law Commission has recently pointed the finger at irresponsible bloggers who will write just about anything to get attention, and it’s now causing problems for our justice system. The recent Law Commission report into our contempt laws (which refers to “Internet blogs” at page 51, in order to distinguish them from that other type of blog) reveals that jurors are going online and using Google to find out all sorts of things about the cases they are involved in. Something must be done to stop this terrible modern innovation.

The behaviour of these irresponsible jurors is inexcusable. Why can’t they be like our judges, who I’m sure never ever use Google to check out the people before them? But even if one of our judges did go online to investigate a party to a case before them, that judge would almost certainly remain completely impartial. You see, our judges are magical beings.

And then there’s social media. It’s turning us all into narcissists and attention-seekers, and what possible good can come out of people communicating with each other and making new connections? With all this tweeting and Facebooking, our every thought, our every movement (including our bowel ones), can be shared online. It’s a terrible thing, and we’re all turning into ego-driven monsters.

Twitter’s causing all sorts of problems for people, especially those in positions of authority. It’s even being used by politicians to question the integrity of our Parliament’s Speaker. It’s all a bit tough on poor old David Carter, who I happen to think is doing a splendid job for his party. He’s possibly the best Speaker National’s ever had.

Twitter regularly gets politicians into trouble, perhaps because it allows voters to see the real side of our elected representatives. Sometimes what we see isn’t particularly pretty, so obviously we need to blame all of Twitter, rather than the tweeter.

Twitter has even been used by people to express opinions that some would rather not be heard, and it has proven to be a powerful tool for activism when properly harnessed. No wonder John Key’s agin’ it.

King CanuteAnd then there’s Google. If you have ever posted anything online, or had someone post something online about you, Google will be able to find it. This vast and powerful search engine never forgets. But imagine if you’re a dodgy doctor, a politician with an unfortunate back-story, or someone who has been caught possessing child abuse images. What if you could make that regrettable past just go away? The European Court of Justice is doing its best to accommodate the wishes of those who would like us to forget all those terrible things they once did, but in attempting to control the behemoth that is Google they are acting more like modern-day Canutes trying to command the tides.

So let’s just make their jobs easier and shut Google down.

People will do stupid things online, because people do incredibly stupid things offline all the time. People can be cruel and hurtful when they engage in online activity, but the internet doesn’t have a monopoly on cruel and hurtful behaviour.

The difference now is that when we are stupid, or cruel, or crazy or racist online, our words remain for all to see. This is obviously a major problem for those among us who are stupid, cruel, crazy or racist, because people can use the same medium to challenge or denounce, or simply share, our offensive or oafish behaviour. Before the internet I could be as racist as I liked, and only my closest friends would know I was a racist prick. Now if I go online and express an opinion about black people or Asians, I’m likely to end up in a huge fight with people. Which is obviously not fair. I was only saying what I thought everyone else was thinking.

Look, I’m not saying things were always better in the days before the internet, but they were certainly simpler and less challenging. And I bet nobody ever received a spam telegram.

So let’s all call it a day. Let’s just make everything easier for regulators, politicians and health officials. Shut down your Twitter account, delete your Facebook profile, and walk away from your blogsite. Ring your internet provider right now and tell them you’ve had enough. You need your life back. You want to go back to the way things used to be. Do you remember that golden age of humanity when we trusted everything our leaders told us, and didn’t use Google and Wikipedia to fact-check what they were saying? Do you remember how if you wanted to listen to some new band, you had to go down to the record shop or borrow your mate’s CD? Remember how hard it used to be to buy stuff from overseas?

When regulators and officials worry about the internet and propose ways of banning it, or controlling it, or punishing people for using it, what they’re really trying to do is control the information people can access. And for good reason. Information is power, so why should they let those stupid peasants have any? Why let people think for themselves?

So let’s put a stop to the internet right now. But I might just wait for others to start first, before I shut this site down. If that’s okay with you.

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  1. Pingback: Imperator Fish: Let’s shut down the internet - The Standard

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