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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 8/28/10

Boycott Philly? Why Philadelphia's Licensing and Taxing of Blogs is Creeping Fascism

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The recent decision by the City of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania to require a Business Privilege License
($50 a year or lifetime cost of $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

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.

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!".

Photo by Rob Kall, shot from the courthouse where OEN Managing editor had was arraigned on charges later dropped. We believe she was arrested for taking photos of police

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Darren Wolfe is the former Eastern Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. He presently blogs as the International Libertarian His articles have also appeared in, (more...)

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