We live in a wonderful new world where knowledge and information can be sent at nearly the speed of light across the globe. The Industrial Age is giving way to the Information Age and with that revolution there are bound to be forces that fight this evolution. Government, as always, is one of those forces. Government thrives off of the status quo and control of information, every tremor caused by new technology gets the bureaucratic machine moving to slow things down and those in power fight to maintain it. But in many ways the genie is out of the bottle, you can’t stop the internet or exchange of information except through tyrannical restrictions that are nearly impossible to impose on an armed, diverse public spread over a large geographic region. That doesn’t mean the state won’t try though.
I believe that 3-D Printing will revolutionize the world. From ears, shoes, art, human organs, cars, homes, and guns the ability to input blueprints into machines will change the economy in ways unknown since the internal combustion engine, assembly line, and printing press. It is the idea of a 3D Printed gun that has sprung the state into action, but the ramifications could be far reaching. The government has utterly failed in the past at restricting information, from copyrights to state secrets it seems that the truth will always get out as the market moves faster and can adapt to changes than bureaucrats can fathom.
What I find interesting about the current demand from the State Department to take files offline (files that have been shared 100,000+ times already and are being hosted in countries around the world) is that they have not accused the creator of a crime. They are ordering the restriction of spreading information, a right protected by the 1st Amendment, while they investigate if a crime was even committed. They are enforcing punishment without even the accusation of a crime, much less the conviction. If the government is allowed to control what people talk about and what ideas are shared online they have rendered freedom of speech void.
I have always been curious how far gun control advocates are willing to go. I’ve heard some say we should ban all guns, but that raises some practical questions that could have far reaching effects on individual rights. If I can’t buy or own a gun can I build one? What constitutes “a gun”? If I can’t build one can I draw diagrams and write down how to build one? If not, can I discuss building them with my friends? How much speech are people willing to censor when the subject is something that is uncomfortable for some but causes no harm? It appears the state believes that blueprints sent in electronic format should be stopped… that information should be stopped… that discussions should be stopped… I wonder if they will be willing and able to send agents with guns to stop “free” people from talking about guns.