Brendan Pierson, of Reuters, reports that, “U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan ruled that comments on the president’s account, and those of other government officials, were public forums, and that blocking Twitter users for their views violated their right to free speech under the First Amendment of Constitution.” Prior to this ruling, Trump had established a history of blocking individuals and groups that used the social media platform to criticize his politics and/or his personhood. Trump’s personal use of the First Amendment does not, according to Judge Buchwald, justify blocking citizens from his Twitter feed but he may, as a legal alternative, “mute” accounts that he does not want to interact with. (Pierson, 2018)
Trump’s inability to “block” users from his official presidential twitter is indicative of the power and importance of social media in politics today – it may not be a physical platform, but it’s arguably more vital than any tangible soapbox. Twitter voices can be amplified faster and heard farther. It is essential to the way our democracy is shaped and moved by the citizens it is supposed to serve. It cannot be seen as any less vital, then, that Net Neutrality is protected. If you love the First Amendment for its protection of internet use as a means of political/social action, then you must love the Second Amendment for its implied protection of unfettered access to the internet.
If you argue that the Second Amendment exists to protect the People’s right to fight against a tyrannical government then I will argue that the only way to do that in modern times is to protect a citizen’s right to access the internet. Your weapons, no matter how amassed they are, will not stand against the U.S. government. Your militia, no matter how large, cannot stand against the U.S. military. You can’t actually defeat a tyrannical U.S. government in this technological age with just the Second Amendment’s “right to bear arms” protecting you. But, if in the process of interpreting this new court ruling about Trump’s Twitter and the original purpose of the Second Amendment you can include Net Neutrality, then you can get a lot farther.
Corporatization of the internet means less access to the internet in general, a great deal less privacy, and less control and influence over your own government. There are loads of reasons that people defend their right to own firearms. But if you’re using the “defend against a tyrannical government” argument and simultaneously not defending Net Neutrality then, at best, you’re ignorant. At worst, you’re lying about why you want to own guns.
Defending yourself, your compatriots, and your country against a tyrannical government cannot be done without the internet. Many will argue it can’t be done without bloodshed and bullets. Regardless, if the purpose of the Second Amendment is to clothe ourselves in the weapons of tyrant-fighting, then we must defend Net Neutrality.
Very short, very good, very relevant: David Shephardson, Reuters
Long, good, empirical: Dillon Sweigart
My name is Chelsey Olau, and this is how we defend Net Neutrality.