Blog 10: Republic 2.0
Overall I did not find Sunstein’s book to be that interesting.The book was repetitive and reading about blogging was not my favorite thing. However, I do think that he made some valid points in his writings. The point he made about the internet isolating people was a good point. People have tendencies to seek out the information that they are looking for. This also means when trying to do political research they will for the most part read articles that argue on the side of their beliefs. He also talks quite a bit about fragmentation and how it can lead to polarization. He talks about how the extremist can become extremely wrapped up in their ways of thinking through the internet. However he also talks about how the general public can gain shared experiences through this. I thought that this was a good point. Since technology today allows us to customize our settings to what we want people do not have to look at websites that go against their beliefs. This can be both a good and a bad thing. People are naturally inclined to search for things that interest them. I myself have found that I seek information that pertains to me, but since there is so much information floating around out there I tend to find myself on websites that talk about things I am not interested in.
The part of the book that I found most interesting was about the public forums. I think that Sunstein had an interesting view on freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is something that we use everyday and most of us do not even think about what it means. Sunstein looks at freedom of speech not as what the government cannot restrict us, but that we have access to people and places to speak. He had three main points. He said that freedom of speech ensures that we have a wide variety of listeners, that we have access to specified people and institutions, and it increases the likelihood that people are exposed. I think that he makes a very good point in these sayings. If we have a problem with a company or a person the government provides us with the ability to go confront the person or peoples that we have an issue with. Most people do not think of free speech this way and I definitely think that Sunstein brings the whole concept into a new light.
Something that I did not like in the book was when he talked about censoring or regulating the internet. I do not think that the government or anyone else should be able to censor what the people can and cannot find. There are plenty of things that I would never want to look at on the internet, but that does not mean that I think that they should be regulated by someone else. Other than that I did not really have a problem with the arguments made. I may not have agreed with all of his points but I would not necessarily argue with them. Overall I did not particularly care for the book. I thought that it was repetitive and focused on blogging, which is not something I particularly enjoy reading about. However for people who are interested in reading about this topic it would be a good read for them. Below there is a cartoon I found funny. It really has nothing to do with the book.