“My rights. My liberty. My license!” (More Japan-side expat internet commentary.)

I’ve been thinking about contemporary times.

As someone who is law-trained, and in fact maintaining bar admission, “rights” has its own significance to me. Liberty, too. After all, the Constitution seeks to protect life, liberty and property. (Nothing about “pursuit of happiness”.)

Certainly well before the last 5, or even 50 years, people began to confuse rights and liberty, with something more generally described as “license“:

a. Lack of due restraint; excessive freedom: “When liberty becomes license, dictatorship is near” (Will Durant).

b. Heedlessness for the precepts of proper behavior; licentiousness.

On the internet, you get folks who argue things in terms of their right to say and do, or their liberty to say and do. But I wonder if it isn’t just license.

[More in a while.]

[Yeah, so as I’m saying, last week I did a post about a couple of the goofier games that these people with an internet presence having been playing in 2012. Not even an exhaustive list, but a couple. I took the effort to catch up on where some of these things are, what is going on. Man!

Of course, people have their right to use the internet, their liberty. But to the objective observer, it looks a lot like license. And we’re not even getting into the shadowy element of the people who want to say whatever the hell they want anonymously. This is just [concerning] the people who have self-identified, and spend their day going at each other on the internet.

What did I say back in the spring? When it comes to foreigners in Japan, this nonsense is because there are no regulations, no prohibitions. Foreigners in Japan do things over the internet that no set of Japanese would ever consider doing, because of the ramifications.

(Yes, I appreciate that someone can sit in one of the quadrilateral provinces of Canada and pretend to be in Japan doing this, or have their Tor software route their messages out of Japan through Romania, but the bottom line is still that it’s license where people want to pretend it’s liberty.)

I don’t pretend to have the answer to this all. As I said last week, I think a lot of it involves human behavior that is very old (millennia old), and that all that’s new is the hardware. But I do wonder whether the people who engage in it realize that it accumulates; and, after a while, looks really bad.

I try to describe what I see, appreciate your reading it, and not be seen as taking sides. However, at some point I do have to conclude what I do.]

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