Thinking about The Internet’s Own Boy

This world we live in and are essentially born into does not give us a choice. Aaron Swartz knew this, but sought to use the internet as a means to give us that freedom of choosing. Each day we use the internet, millions of billions of words are being typed onto brightly lit screens carrying with them ideological philosophies, varying negative/positive/neutral rhetoric and much more. How can people benefit from these various perspectives; the ease of scholarly and philosphical information flowing about for people to read with the ease of one click from the comfort of their very own rooms. The movie made me realize that despite the term “Free World” as we consistently regard the United States as, are we really that free when it comes to educational opportunity. The capitalist market has taken advantage of this educational freedom and placed prices on every scholarly article. Digital Libraries such as JSTOR have placed a sort of “academic tax” on these articles that the “Free World” can benefit from. The movie itself caused me to question the very principles our society has chosen to found itself on, and to what extent should freedom be taken for granted? As Americans, we see that freedom is something that is never given but something that you are automatically born with. It is inherent. However, our societal principles on capitalism, perhaps contradict that very basis that it chose itself to found on. We are not free if we are forced to use an american express card to read a document that dictates the law (that of which every American should know — after all it’s our civic duty, right?). We are not free if we are not allowed to read certain scholarly articles written by intellectuals seeking to inform the world of their view points, only to be hindered by a greedy publisher seeking to obtain profit for “supposed” educational benefit. How free are we really?

Image: “Nicolas Felton and Aaron Swartz” by Nick Gray is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0