This is a response to a recent posting by Clive Hamilton on crikey.com.au. I have edited it slightly to fix certain typos and errors of expression the original post. I also use this opportunity to expand on points I could not previously express because of space constraints on Crikey.
In the comments of his original post, Clive wrote:
> 1. The implication is that if parents want to screw up their children then that's their business alone.
The implication of your argument, Clive, is that all parents want to screw up their children.
If this wasn't an implication of your argument, there would be no reason for a mandatory ISP filter. You know that is true because you have actually written statements to this effect in other places.
If your arguments have any validity at all, and I am not granting that, then the strongest case they build is that adults with children should have their ISP feeds filtered.
Filtering everyone's feed because it conveniently absolves you of explaining to Australian parents that they are all irresponsible reprobates who can't be trusted to bring up their own children without Government help is not sufficiently good grounds to filter my internet connection or anyone else's.
BTW: in your scheme, will households with children be allowed to opt out of the optional filter? If so, on what grounds? Who gets to decide that a parent is sufficiently responsible to monitor their own children's internet use?
As for the allegedly theoretical nature of the threat of censorship. You are proposing the construction of censorship apparatus that will censor sites about anorexia as easily as it will censor porn. This is the practical outcome of your proposal. Whether it actually will censor it doesn't matter - the infrastructure will be there, ready to be switched on the next time a regressive Government takes power.
There is no benefit in filtering my Internet connection. Unlike others who apparently need to do it for their job, I have no reason to view child porn, online or offline. The imposition of a mandatory ISP filter on my connection provides zero practical benefit to me, or to anyone's kids.
> It's not viewed as another useful mode of communication but as the source of ultimate freedom. Home alone in front of my computer I can travel where I like and evade my responsibilities to society.
As to your argument that we seek to evade responsibility, that is rubbish. The only person in this debate advocating abdication or evasion of responsibility is you, Clive.
Our argument is that adults are absolutely responsible for their own Internet use and should not be relieved of this responsibilty. Similarly parents should be responsible for the Internet use of their children and, unless they are incapable of it, should not abdicate that responsibilty.
You have consistently argued busy parents must be relieved of this responsibility and that adults without children must bear the consequences of this abdication.
To characterise our position as an evasion of responsibility is absurd, considering your own position.