Why Information Prohibition isn’t Feasible

If you had to choose, from a purely practical point of view, would you rather try and enforce a prohibition on alcohol or tobacco? I think most people would agree that tobacco is the better choice — that it is easier to enforce is readily apparent, at least to me.

There are several big differences between alcohol and tobacco. To look at  two:

Production: Tobacco needs to be grown from plants, which need to be grown from seeds and need nutrients, light and water; it takes a substantial amount of time. Alcohol can be produced from just about any organic matter.

Evidence: Tobacco smoke, unsurprisingly seeps into and stains it’s surrounding environment. Alcohol, on the other, is not airborne and while the ethanol evaporates, it doesn’t last that long.

Just looking at these factors, it is clear that it is much more difficult to run a prohibition against alcohol than tobacco.

The same relationship exists between alcohol and information… Only, it’s magnified. It can be copied almost instantaneously and the evidence deleted with the click of a mouse or a few keystorkes.

It wasn’t for lack of trying that the prohibition of alcohol failed.

So, why is that governments are trying their hand at information prohibition in the form of censorship and copyright?

You’d need to have an insanely low watched:watchers ratio in order to enforce it… I don’t think its practical do dedicate a substantial percent of our population to enforcing copyright.

And that’s before we look at the ethical issues with the sort of invasion of privacy that would be necessary…

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