Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


The quality of health information on the internet

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 09 March 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:557

Rapid Response:

Samuel Johnson on regulating the internet

One of the favourite hunting grounds for those with a passion for
regulating and "getting things right" is language. In the preface to his
great dictionary, Samuel Johnson wrote: "Sounds are too volatile and
subtle for legal restraints. To enchain syllables, and to lash the wind,
are equally the undertakings of pride."

I think Johnson would have said the same about regulating the
internet. Being dead, he cannot, of course, disagree with what I suggest
he might have said. This is perhaps a naughty game to play. What might
Plato have said about the internet?

Richard Smith, Editor, BMJ

Competing interests: No competing interests

15 March 2002
Richard Smith