‘Homegrown Terror’ Act an Attack on Internet Freedom? by Rep. Ron Paul

Dandelion Salad

by Rep. Ron Paul
December 7, 2007

Before the US House of Representatives, December 5, 2007

Madame Speaker, I regret that I was unavoidably out of town on October 23, 2007, when a vote was taken on HR 1955, the Violent Radicalization & Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act. Had I been able to vote, I would have voted against this misguided and dangerous piece of legislation. This legislation focuses the weight of the US government inward toward its own citizens under the guise of protecting us against “violent radicalization.”

I would like to note that this legislation was brought to the floor for a vote under suspension of regular order. These so-called “suspension” bills are meant to be non-controversial, thereby negating the need for the more complete and open debate allowed under regular order. It is difficult for me to believe that none of my colleagues in Congress view HR 1955, with its troubling civil liberties implications, as “non-controversial.”

There are many causes for concern in HR 1955. The legislation specifically singles out the Internet for “facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process” in the United States. Such language may well be the first step toward US government regulation of what we are allowed to access on the Internet. Are we, for our own good, to be subjected to the kind of governmental control of the Internet that we see in unfree societies? This bill certainly sets us on that course.

This seems to be an unwise and dangerous solution in search of a real problem. Previous acts of ideologically-motivated violence, though rare, have been resolved successfully using law enforcement techniques, existing laws against violence, and our court system. Even if there were a surge of “violent radicalization” – a claim for which there is no evidence – there is no reason to believe that our criminal justice system is so flawed and weak as to be incapable of trying and punishing those who perpetrate violent acts.

This legislation will set up a new government bureaucracy to monitor and further study the as-yet undemonstrated pressing problem of homegrown terrorism and radicalization. It will no doubt prove to be another bureaucracy that artificially inflates problems so as to guarantee its future existence and funding. But it may do so at great further expense to our civil liberties. What disturbs me most about this legislation is that it leaves the door wide open for the broadest definition of what constitutes “radicalization.” Could otherwise nonviolent anti-tax, antiwar, or anti-abortion groups fall under the watchful eye of this new government commission? Assurances otherwise in this legislation are unconvincing.

In addition, this legislation will create a Department of Homeland Security-established university-based body to further study radicalization and to “contribute to the establishment of training, written materials, information, analytical assistance and professional resources to aid in combating violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism.” I wonder whether this is really a legitimate role for institutes of higher learning in a free society.

Legislation such as this demands heavy-handed governmental action against American citizens where no crime has been committed. It is yet another attack on our Constitutionally- protected civil liberties. It is my sincere hope that we will reject such approaches to security, which will fail at their stated goal at a great cost to our way of life.

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see

Kucinich on HR 1955 Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act

US House passes Democrat-crafted “homegrown terrorism prevention” legislation by Naomi Spencer

On The Issues: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul by Lo (updated)

The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act: A Tutorial in Orwellian Newspeak By Robert Weitzel

The Violent Radicalization Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 by Matt Renner

The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act by Philip Giraldi

12 thoughts on “‘Homegrown Terror’ Act an Attack on Internet Freedom? by Rep. Ron Paul

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  7. I’m not a Ron Paul supporter, but damn this was well said. Bravo.

    DetainThis,
    Your views on NetNeutrality are quite misguided. The whole point is to stop corporations from controlling who sees what. There is no excuse for opposing it.

  8. Good evening, Lo.

    Ron Paul, to an extent, answers your question in his speech that you posted above.

    The federal government has no business regulating free speech and the free exchange of ideas.

    Nor should it be involved in regulating private contracts between internet providers and their customers.

    If said contracts are violated, there are advocacy groups, courts, and existing bureaucracies to sort those things out.

    If a service provider limits your ability to access something on the Internet, and if that limitation of your access was not specified in the contract you agreed upon, then drop the provider for another one; report them to the BBB, FCC, FTC, et al.; and if necessary, sue the SOBs!

    The Internet should not be subject to the federal death clinch. Thanks to govt. intervention, we can’t pick and choose the cable and satellite channels we want from our providers. Thanks to govt. intervention, we must pay all these gratuitous taxes and fees on our Internet and phone bills — all the things that have nothing to do with our internet or phone service! We pay taxes to parties that have nothing to do with the contractual agreement between us and our providers. “Net Neutrality” legislation brings us more of that.

    And where does the money go? Straight to the very bureaucrats and corporatists you think you’re targeting with “Net Neutrality” legislation.

    What Ron says about the “Homegrown Terrorism Act” is also true about “Net Neutrality” legislation (replace the words “homegrown terrorism” and “violent radicalization” with “breach of contract” or “loss of Internet access to particular sites”):

    Even if there were a surge of “violent radicalization” – a claim for which there is no evidence – there is no reason to believe that our criminal justice system is so flawed and weak as to be incapable of trying and punishing those who perpetrate violent acts.

    This legislation will set up a new government bureaucracy to monitor and further study the as-yet undemonstrated pressing problem of homegrown terrorism and radicalization. It will no doubt prove to be another bureaucracy that artificially inflates problems so as to guarantee its future existence and funding. But it may do so at great further expense to our civil liberties.

    “Net Neutrality” is another Orwellian term that really means “Fed-Corp-Net Bureaucracy.”

    And as is typically the case, consumers will pay the price in the end — literally and figuratively.

    I’m pretty sure that’s why Ron Paul votes “nay” on such legislation.

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