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By Dawson, Stephen | Review - Institute of Public Affairs, September 1999 | Go to article overview

Free_Enterprise.com


Dawson, Stephen, Review - Institute of Public Affairs


IT'S ALL ABOUT INFORMATION

For me, the most exciting thing about the Internet is that it frees me from geographical constraints in my associations. It does this in two ways: it makes available information that was either never before available, or only available to those who were prepared to devote massive resources to the search, and it provides a truly low-cost means of international communication.

The information that was previously unavailable to me was that there are other people in the world who share some aspects of what some would consider my rather strange outlook on the world. That this information can be used to make contact with these people at incredibly low cost lifts it from the evolutionary improvements in the communication-to-cost ratio achieved in recent decades, to a revolutionary advance.

Consider some possibilities. The Internet could permit power boundaries to realign themselves along ideological and intellectual lines, rather than physical ones.

Such changes can be expected to be opposed by governments everywhere. The stuff of power would be severely diminished if exercised by individuals. That is perhaps why the chattering classes so admonish the Australian electorate for failing to make the changes they seek in our Constitution-one of the few in the world, it is worth noting, in which fundamental changes are in the hands of the populace. It is why such things as Citizen Initiated Referenda on legislative issues are either considered dangerous, and routinely besmirched, because odd bodies like the League of Rights also happen to support them (do we support murder because the League of Rights is opposed to it? …

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