Boycott Philly? Why Philadelphia’s Licensing and Taxing of Blogs is Creeping Fascism
By Darren Wolfe
August 28, 2010
The recent decision by the City of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania to require a Business Privilege License ($50 a year or lifetime cost of $300) of blogs and that the blogs be taxed on any profits has generated a well deserved outcry from free marketers across the country. Many have invoked Chief Justice John Marshall’s famous words, “The power to tax involves the power to destroy.” They are right, this will be the end of independent blogging in Philadelphia and around the world when this spreads across countries.
The tax is actually the least of the threats to blogging the city is creating. The major threat is the licensing. Once the precedent is established that blogs can be licensed the government’s control of the blogosphere will grow in small increments until it can shut us all down by simply requiring and then denying said license. Simply charging a high licensing fee will close the majority. There’s no doubt in this libertarian’s mind the government would love nothing more than to have the Internet as limited and controlled as it has television and radio. In other words, they will apply the corporate media model to it. All these independent bloggers have been a great source of anxiety for our rulers. Why the masses are actually getting some truth! This is a tremendous threat to their power. Much better for them if there are only a few corporate sources of information.
Does this sound far fetched? Let us consider a little history in other media namely television and radio. Back in the bad old days there where only three major television networks operating nationally. There were some local stations too, of course. Radio was and still is owned by large corporate entities. Now cable and satellite television have expanded the number of channels available, but the change has not affected the government’s control of the media. All need a license to operate.