Patricia de Lille is an Authoritarian Idiot

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As most of you probably know, Patricia de Lille wants to censor blogs; or at least use government intelligence agencies to track down bloggers so they can be exposed to crippling lawsuits from over-sensitive public officials, which in practice amounts to the same thing.

Having heard De Lille being interviewed on radio this evening, I was struck by the extent of her ignorance on the subject of everything technological. She wants to regulate blogs, yet she struggled to articulate what a “blog” even is. When someone cited Wikipedia as an example of a successful self-regulating system, she had no idea what it was. In short, De Lille doesn’t have anything useful to say about the internet, but the episode has taught us a great deal about the sort of politician she would be in government. Simply put, she would be one those nanny-state busybodies who wants to regulate everything she sees, despite having only the vaguest understanding of what she’s restricting.

Perhaps most telling of all was De Lille’s flippant dismissal of the value of anonymity to maintaining free speech. Blogs’ coverage of South African politics is so much more interesting than the mainstream media precisely because bloggers can speak their minds freely. Unlike journalists and academics, they don’t have to worry about career repercussions if they offend the wrong person. De Lille is happy to turn off this fascinating and lively debate in order to spare Simon Grindrod’s feelings. Obviously, I don’t think that’s a trade-off worth making.