Why Matt Drudge Can Stop Worrying

Matt Drudge appeared on Alex Jones’s Infowars. Here is how he has been quoted.

On the future of digital copyright: “I had a Supreme Court justice tell me to my face it’s over for me. Said, ‘Matt, it’s over for you. They’ve got the votes now to enforce copyright law. You’re out of there. They’re gonna make it so headlines–you can’t even use headlines.'””You thought Obamacare was shocking… wait until these copyright laws work their way up, and the Supreme Court decides you cannot have a website with news headlines linking across the board. Then that will end for me. Fine, I’ve had a hell of a run. It’s 20 years next year or 20 years about now. Hell of a run. I couldn’t have gone any farther. I feel completely–I have gone as far out of the galaxy as I can on this. I still wanna stay out here. But I have gone pretty damn far for what one individual can do in this culture. But I’m talking about the future. So I don’t know why they’ve been successful in pushing everybody into these little ghettos of these these Facebooks and these Tweets and these Instagrams–these Instas. This is ghetto. This is corporate. They’re taking your energy. They’re taking your energy and you’re getting nothing in return. Nothing… Ultimately, it’s boring, and the kids are always off to something new. Except for the something new is owned by the same freaking company or financed by the same banking system.”

I want to go through this, point by point.

First, I am astounded that anybody on the Supreme Court spoke with Drudge. Of course, Drudge is more famous than anybody on the Supreme Court, and he has more influence than anybody on the Supreme Court. But I’m still amazed that a Supreme Court justice spoke to him.

Second, the Supreme Court has a problem. It has zero authority outside the judicial boundaries of the United States. It can define copyright anyway it likes, but this authority is limited. In other words, if a company wants to set up a Matt Drudge clone outside the USA, the Supreme Court cannot do anything about it. If this outfit can gain enough traffic, it can replace Drudge.

Of course, the heart of Drudge’s site is not common headlines. The heart of Drudge’s site is Drudge’s headlines. He is the greatest copywriter in the field of headlines in the history of the business. He is also the richest. Nobody has made more money writing headlines than Drudge has.

Third, where is the state’s ability to enforce copyright law? The bureaucrats have to do it in a court, and the courts would be jammed beyond repair if all the copyright violations were brought into court. There are a billion websites worldwide. How is any court system going to adjudicate this? How is any group of bureaucrats going to enforce all this?

Fourth, I don’t care who owns Facebook, Twitter, or any of the rest of it. What I care about is this: the creation of ghettos. I think ghettos are great. Ghettos indicate Balkanization. Balkanization indicates social decentralization. Decentralization means the corporations can make all the money they want, but the politicians face a disaster. The politicians cannot gain unanimity for much of anything these days. You cannot run a grand crusade if half of the people who you want to recruit into your crusade have rival views on everything.


Drudge is worried about who makes the money. I don’t care who makes the money. I care who gets the votes. More to the point, I care about what the central government can do to enforce any of its rules on a vast conspiracy of ghettos.

We are seeing the breaking apart of the social foundations of large nation-states. The communication system is at the heart of this. When people can share their ideas, they share their ideas with people who pretty much agree with them. The ghettos are the source of future liberty.

The federal government is gridlocked. Liberals complain endlessly about this gridlock. They complain that it is no longer possible to get bipartisan support for anything in Congress. This is good. The lack of bipartisan support is exactly what is needed to keep the federal government from expanding legislatively.

The bureaucrats still extend their power, but bureaucrats really only want to get paid for as little work as they can get away with. The federal bureaucracy is gigantic, but generally it is impotent to change much. It cannot force major changes in the economy or anywhere else. Even the bureaucracies war against each other for funding and jurisdiction. There is no unanimity within the federal government. There are, quite frankly, multiple bureaucratic ghettos. We used to call them fiefdoms.

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