CHAPTER NINE

POLICIES AND PROPOSALS

different perspectives; they would also reflect a healthy degree of mutual respect.

I do not suggest or believe that government should require anything of this kind. Some constitutional questions are hard, but this one is easy: any such requirements would violate the First Amendment. If site owners and bloggers do not want to provide icons or links, they are entitled to refuse to do so. What is most important is that we could easily imagine a situation in which icons and links are more standard practices, in a way that would promote the goals of both consumers and citizens, and do so without compromising the legitimate interests of site owners.

them merely build on existing practices. What is especially important in the current era is that we retain a sense of the grounds on which we can evaluate them. To those skeptical of the proposals outlined here, it makes sense to ask: If we seek to enlist current technologies in the service of democratic ideals, what kinds of practices would be better?

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The Tyranny of the Status Quo

The tyranny of the status quo has many sources. Sometimes it is based on a fear of unintended consequences, as in the economists' plea, "the perfect is the enemy of the good"-a mantra of resignation to which we should respond, with John Dewey, that "the better is the enemy of the still better." Sometimes it is grounded in a belief, widespread though palpably false, that things cannot be different from what they now are. (Things were different yesterday, and they will be different tomorrow.) Sometimes proposed changes seem to be hopelessly utopian, far too much so to be realistic. And sometimes they seem small and incremental, even silly, and to do nothing large enough to solve the underlying problems.

The suggestions I have offered here are modest and incremental. They are designed to give some glimpses of the possibilities, and also to do at least a little bit of good. Some of

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