The recent decision by the City of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania to require a Business Privilege License (cost $300) of blogs and that the blogs be taxed on any profits has generated a well deserved outcry from free marketers across the country. Many have invoked Chief Justice John Marshall’s famous words, "The power to tax involves the power to destroy." They are right, this will be the end of independent blogging in Philadelphia and around the world when this spreads across countries.
The tax is actually the least of the threats to blogging the city is creating. The major threat is the licensing. Once the precedent is established that blogs can be licensed the government’s control of the blogosphere will grow in small increments until it can shut us all down by simply requiring and then denying said license. Simply charging a high licensing fee will close the majority. There’s no doubt in this libertarian’s mind the government would love nothing more than to have the Internet as limited and controlled as it has television and radio. In other words, they will apply the corporate media model to it. All these independent bloggers have been a great source of anxiety for our rulers. Why the masses are actually getting some truth! This is a tremendous threat to their power. Much better for them if there are only a few corporate sources of information.
Does this sound far fetched? Let us consider a little history in other media namely television and radio. Back in the bad old days there where only three major television networks operating nationally. There were some local stations too, of course. Radio was and still is owned by large corporate entities. Now cable and satellite television have expanded the number of channels available, but the change has not affected the government’s control of the media. All need a license to operate. Just as important they can be easily bought off with advertising. The government controlled the flow of information to the people. It is perfect example of fascism with nominally private corporations under the government’s control and doing their bidding.
Enter the internet. Almost completely unregulated it is liberty at its best. By the dawn of the twenty-first century people were getting information and opinions that could be hidden from them before. People are networking and communicating with like-minded people from around the globe. Anyone with intelligence, a computer, and internet access can blog successfully. Independently shot videos of all manner of things the government doesn’t want exposed can be disseminated easily and at no cost. Governments and corporations are profoundly threatened by this new freedom to communicate and trade independently. To them blogging is a menace that must be stopped!
This author very much doubts that the Obama administration will be suing Philadelphia to stop their taxing and licensing scheme like they sued Arizona over their immigration law. It’s all up to us to stop this tyranny before the internet goes the way of television and radio. To this end I ask everyone to join the boycott of the City of Philadelphia until they come to their senses and leave the bloggers alone. This travesty must be stopped here before it spreads. Please show your support at our Facebook page "Boycott Philadelphia Until the Bloggers Are Free!".