Meaningful Titles

I’ve been insisting that my students create original and meaningful titles for their essays. This backfired in a really big way when I received an essay titled, “Erotic Love Destroys Relationships.”

Woe be unto me.

More on Taxing the Internet

Somebody very unintelligent (well, what can you expect from Inside Higher Ed?) wrote an article praising the idea of taxing the Internet. Of course, this is the kind of person who writes things like “a sharp stratification of economic strata” and “the Internet may now be expected to assume more obligations to give back to global society at large a measure of its collective wealth”, so there is no need to take this person seriously.

However, it is curious how the slogan of “just tax the bastards” is so attractive to certain folks as a way to solve any and all problems that they don’t even stop to consider where encouraging greater governmental regulations of the Internet would leave us all. While some people are bravely fighting off all attempts at Internet censorship, some pseudo-Liberals are so enthralled by the word “taxes” that they don’t stop to evaluate the consequences of the measures they support. Once the government begins to punish certain completely legal online behaviors, censorship will be one step away. And the entities that will suffer as a result will not be Google, Amazon and Facebook. It will be me and you.

Liberals like to consider themselves much smarter than the perennially childish Libertarians. Still, there is no real difference between believing that all taxes are good all of the time and being convinced that all taxes are bad all of the time. Life is a little more complicated than that.

France Gone Weird

France keeps coming up with weird ideas on how to tax everybody into the ground:

“Personal data are the fuel of the digital economy,” Edouard Geffray, the agency’s secretary general, told the French version of the online magazine Slate. “Given that, it would seem like a natural idea to envision taxing the use of them.”

While business plans built on mining consumers’ personal information from the Internet are proliferating, so are concerns about the use of the data. . . Mr. Colin said the main goal of his tax plan would be to reward companies for providing their customers with useful information, while penalizing those that did not do so.

Taxation as means of social control is a very slippery slope. It might seem like a cute idea while the policies promoted are the ones you like. But how long before taxation is used to punish you for perfectly legal behavior that is not deemed acceptable by an elected official du jour?

Amazon Gone Weird

Amazon is confusing me with somebody. The list of books recommended based on my history of purchases is suddenly overrun by Westerns. I have never seen so many pictures of men on horses in my life.

This feels creepy. Like I got a peek into somebody else’s inner life all of a sudden.