Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Virtually Useless

web, crime, virus, government, illustration

Here is something I don’t quite understand about us moderns — we, oh-so-sophisticated citizens of the world; we who say that government is instituted to help us . . . but often we expect almost no real help when it comes to even the basics.

Take this very “virtual” venue: the Internet; “the Web.”

This wasn’t a thing in the first decade of my adult life. I never expected to spend so much time “on” something that did not, then, exist in any meaningful way.

Well, computers opened up brave new worlds for us, but, did you notice? Bad guys were right there from the beginning, making “viruses” and “spyware” and “malware” of all kinds. Destroying billions of dollars of data and equipment, robbing us of the most important thing of all: time.

And what did the United States government do?

Nothing, or next to it.

Belatedly, and haphazardly, it scraped together a digital defense for its own infrastructure, and began to cook up ways to surveil us all.

But did it offer to help? What programs did it provide the public, or the states, to assist us with bad guys trying to steal our savings, credit, and virtual identities?

I haven’t seen anything. And our local governments have stood around useless, too.

Yet I haven’t heard anyone complain.

Our security has been up to us. Long ago, John McAfee invented the first anti-virus software, and an industry grew up from his kernel — and that industry is where we turn to for help.

Government has mostly just stood by — in the sole area of the computer industry that it could plausibly have warrant to “interfere.”

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.


Ask the next question.

Questions Answered:

Does government fulfill its main function consistently?

Who do Americans turn to for effective security?

The Next Question:

If government doesn’t even bother doing its main job, why give it more jobs?

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web, crime, virus, government, illustration


By: CS Admin


  1. John F. Brennan says:

    The government is reactive and therefore powerless in a very rapidly evolving or innovative segment.  That is why it could not control the internet or designer drugs. The reality is that regulation is only possible in a mature sectors and normally for the benefit of established players. Taxis, education and medicine all come to mind and in each strong argument can be made that the restrictions are impeding progress, which, of course, they are to the favor of the regulated few. 

  2. Drifter says:

    The Internet is the worlds larges library but it does not preclude the reader’s responsibility to do research and sort out ‘good’ information from ‘bad’ information. There are inherent problems with all relatively societal infrastructure items but that is not necessarily a logical reason for government involvement and regulation.

    In reference to the last indecipherable sentence of this article: “Government has mostly just stood by — in the sole area of the computer industry that it could plausibly have warrant to “interfere.” What does this mean?

  3. Not So Free says:

    Do we really want the government to “help”?
    Usually their “help” only exacerbates the problem.

  4. Paul Jacob says:

    No, my point is most certainly not to have the government intervene — just to point out that they are . . . well, virtually useless. AND that we can help ourselves thru the free market. 

    • John F. Brennan says:

      Paul, I would wish government intervention was only useless, for in my personal experience is is invariably counterproductive. 

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