It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Thursday, January 12, 2006

47 U.S.C. 223

Something happened last Thursday that is bound to be thrown out in the courts. President Bush signed into law a prohibition to be anonymous in Internet communication. The law is intended to prosecute those who “…utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both." Although it supposedly does not apply to interactive Internet communication, such as blogs and chat, I would not be so sure if it remains in that context. So for all those bloggers out there that want to tear apart an argument incognito, if this law sticks, be wary of any slippery slope that may occur. The Cato Institute brings-up a great point about the abridging the freedom of speech. Although I am not normally one to cry foul and whine that my rights are being violated, Cato pointed to the fact that many of those who we now consider patriots during revolutionary times, pamphlets distributed in the cause of liberty were signed anonymously and with pseudonyms. Were these people annoying to the British? I think the Brits may have even called their behavior harassment.

Why is this important to us as Catholics? The freedom of speech, the right to gather together, the freedom from government intervention in religion, are all connected at the hip. With a constraint on speech goes the right to whom we are allowed to speak. With the abridgement of the right to assembly and speech, those are the cornerstones of the public practice of our Faith. The right to be unknown gives a voice to the most timid among us that may just be stepping out onto the stage of debate. The free exchange of ideas, for the proud and the weak, should not be regulated in any way by government law, but by the free-market of ideas. This is perhaps the most feasible way to have justice in speech.

I close with a passage from the New Catholic Dictionary, by no means authoritative, but perhaps with insight:

“Both Church and State have a right to censor the speech and the writings of their subjects. This right, however, should be exercised with great care. Censorship may lead to spreading information in ways doing more harm than would the open discussion of such facts; and the suppression of open discussion may lead to underground discontent resulting in ultimate revolt. Particularly in the political field, where there is usually room for difference of opinion, freedom of speech and of the press is likely to act as a safety valve, and be the lesser of two evils. Progress frequently comes from the clash of opinions. Governments, civil and ecclesiastical, may wisely adopt something of God's tolerance.”

Lets be careful and watch this one.

New Catholic Dictionary

(Afterthought: I would also contend that if a Democratic controlled Congress or a Democrat president had done this, Republicans and the like would be hopping mad. We need to be vigilant not to just let the power corrupt absolutely as we cheer our candidate. I still believe in the President, but I cannot approve of this action.)