There's some truth behind these complaints. The Internet does make some people isolated. It does allow ignorant ideas to spread. But so what? It also creates new forms of human interaction and allows the crowd of users to correct ignorant mistakes.
Schieffer is prematurely old, but even hip novelists like Dave Eggers and Jonathan Franzen worry about the Net. Eggers' latest novel suggests it creates "unnaturally extreme" needs, and a Franzen essay attacks "technoconsumerism." Comedian Louis CK gets laughs by worrying that cell phones just keep us distracted -- but not really happy or sad -- until we die. He'd prefer his kids didn't have them.
They are right that any activity can become a time-waster, but to all the fearmongers I say, stop whining! Overwhelmingly, innovation brings us good things. It's even changed the way Americans find love. A University of Chicago study says 35 percent of new marriages now start online.
We don't think twice about miracles like computer dating or email or the fact that, today, most everyone in the world has access to all the world's knowledge on a little phone. We take it for granted that we can put a piece of plastic into a wall and cash will come out -- and the count is always accurate. Government couldn't do that. Government can't even count votes accurately.
In a free market, a symphony of desires comes together, and they're met by people who constantly rack their brains to provide better services and invent solutions to our desires.
It's not a few people desiring guns that I fear. It's government getting in the way of all those new possibilities.