I’ve Detected a False Dichotomy

In a way you almost have to admire statists. Regardless of how often they are proven wrong they always managed to find some way to make ultimatums that make their opposition look like really bad people. Case in point, the current debate over Internet surveillance laws that is taking place in Canada right now. Opponents of Internet surveillance laws say they will violate the privacy of Canadian citizens while the supporters have said anybody who opposes said laws support child pornography:

But when Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia attacked the Conservatives for “preparing to read Canadians’ emails and track their movements through cellphone signals” – which does appear to be a severe distortion of the bill’s powers – Mr. Toews’s counterattack was fierce.

“As technology evolves, many criminal activities, such as the distribution of child pornography, become much easier,” he told the House. “We are proposing to bring measures to bring our laws into the 21st century and to provide police with the lawful tools that they need.

“He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”

“Child pornography” is the new say for statists to say, “Shut up slave!” without actually using the word slave (as that word has some negative connotations). Anytime they want to shove a new law down our throats they either claim it’s for the children or to fight terrorism. In this sense you have to give the statists credit for being consistant. While anti-statists find an almost uncountable number of reasons statism is bad the statists only need one; fear. When anti-statists say Internet surveillance is a violation of laws protecting people from unwarranted search and seizure the statist only needs to reply with one of two boogeymen; child pornographers or terrorists (or, theoretically, terrorist child pornographers).

I doubt it needs pointing out but the choice between an Internet free of government snooping and child pornography is a false dichotomy. The Internet is remarkably good at policing itself. When a highly undesirable thing appears on the Internet groups like Anonymous move to attack it.