“Withholding information is the essence of tyranny. Control of the flow of information is the tool of the dictatorship.” ― Bruce Coville

The purest and most valuable commodity is information. People want information and expect it to be free. Most folks wish to be informed and stay informed. The internet has allowed people from all around the world to become more knowledge about any subject matter on the planet. If you do not know something “google” it. Learn and appreciate that you have the ability to do so.  I become frustrated with people who remain ignorant because of laziness. These folks may ask me a question and I do not happen to know the answer so they let it go. What would be the harm in pulling out the cellphone in your pocket and doing a quick Google search? Nothing. Its how we learn. You cannot help people like this.

When information is as free flowing as it is it becomes hard to distinguish between what is real and what people have made up. The internet is a beautiful thing. It allows for  people to exchange ideas in large ways. People can inform themselves on any topic in the world. You can do enough research to become a self professed expert on any subject matter. Truly it is an exciting thing. However, we have to watch the wolves in sheep’s clothing who wish to pollute the internet with things that are completely made up or have no real value. There are website devoted to nothing but fake new stories and pushing out crap that is designed to anger folks. These idiots simply want a reaction. Admittedly, some of the sites are for satirical purposes only and will set disclaimers. Frankly, I have always disliked this notion. I think misleading the public is dishonest and a disservice to everyone. Writers should be responsible and only print truths.

I do not believe in censorship. I love the first amendment. However, I do believe in common sense and responsible transfer of information.

Earlier today an article was floating around Facebook about legislation in Tennessee that would allow the public school system to start gay to straight conversion therapy. The idea would be Tennessee would eliminate gay students via the public school system. When I read this article I immediately had my doubts and did some research and concluded this was false. It was evident that this article was designed to anger people and see what type of reaction could unfold due to this false information.

Unfortunately, there was plenty of reaction to this news story. My newsfeed was filled with outrage and anger over this “news” story. Admittedly, I disagreed with the very notion of the article so I welcomed the disagreement with something so vile. However, what was evident is that people all to often believe what they read on the internet. People take things for face value and do not stop to research and corroborate what they just read with another news article that can validate the new information. This is extremely dangerous and seriously needs to be something we as people work on. After all, the internet is a free exchange of information with little to no control of what is out there and when its put on the internet it is out there forever.

While this example highlights the danger of the internet and of free flowing information I daresay that the internet is definitively worth the risk. The connectivity that the internet offers is truly amazing. As a person who constantly uses the internet I could not imagine my life without it. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to. Some folks might think this is sad but the benefits that the internet has created is awe inspiring. People find long lost family members, Soldiers video chat with their loved ones,  Charities can raise 100,000 of dollars in ways that could not have been done before. So while there are people out there that intentionally do things that hinders the free flow of real information, no one can argue that the internet’s ability to innovate is beyond compare.

When you give information to the people wonderful things can happen. Things once thought  impossible will have an opportunity to be done. Freedoms can be given and awareness can be raised.

This in itself is humbling.

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