A Critical Analysis of Esther Dyson’s ‘Cyberspace: If You Don’t Love It, Leave It’

Posted: October 17th, 2013

A Critical Analysis of Esther Dyson’s ‘Cyberspace: If You Don’t Love It, Leave It’





A Critical Analysis of Esther Dyson’s ‘Cyberspace: If You Don’t Love It, Leave It’


The article, “Cyberspace: If You Don’t Love It, Leave It” by Esther Dyson provides credible insight regarding the immeasurable domain of cyberspace. Dyson focuses on the facets that cyberspace has offered on a societal milieu. These features primarily constitute the capability and power of the user to conduct surfing on any matter without facing restriction and regulations. Alternately, regardless of the obvious detriments that cyberspace poses on society especially children, the author acknowledges that regulation of the internet through censorship is wrong and as such, does not constitute a solution for regulating unapproved websites. Additionally, Dyson illustrates the parallels amid the factual and the virtual world by describing the manner in which each community evolves in a similar way. Nevertheless, in order to evoke reason in this controversial topic, Dyson utilizes the constituents of rhetorical situation in order to convey her rationale on the intricacies encompassing cyberspace.

Incidence in Present Context and Personal Perception

The review on cyberspace is set in present context. The recent advancements in technology facilitate the need for focusing on matters resulting from the use of technology. Furthermore, it is evident that the Internet defines the contemporary age. With innovations in communication and other milieus, the Internet has introduced numerous forms of methods and facilities that encourage social interaction among its users who range from children to adolescents and adults. Currently, numerous cases of cyberspace crime constitute a considerable portion of cases delving on the occurrence of child pornography among members of the female gender. In addition, most of these cases involve children presently in their teenage years, who are the victims and perpetrators who comprise older persons posturing as younger persons in order to appeal to the children. With the evidence based on the mentioned findings, it is clear why regulation of cyberspace presents a controversial problem. Nevertheless, in agreement with Dylan’s assertion on cyberspace, censoring and regulating cyberspace is not a rational situation towards combating the vices associated with the Internet. On a sociological perspective, external regulation and censorship will only augment the need to access such vices and expound the problem further.

Components of the Rhetorical Situation

The Author

The article, “Cyberspace: If You Don’t Love It, Leave It”, is written by Esther Dyson. She is noted as being assertive yet truthful in presenting her opinions about the structure of cyberspace and its effects on the society. She is a credible author as she makes claims that are based on legislation that is documented and available to the public. The author is also commendable as she encourages people to take control of their access to communication as the potential for abuse is real. The author also takes a deliberate approach to connect with the readers by making implications that link the audience to her own thoughts. The author is also noted as taking a stand and making assertions that are more of a representation of her ideals, as opposed to a mere presentation of the facts of the topic at hand.

The Topic

Regarding the information she presents regarding the issue of cyberspace and the problems of regulation it implies on the society, the author presents herself credibly and truthfully throughout by expressing her opinions regarding cyberspace and the society. In the article, Dyson acknowledges that regulation is important in the world of cyberspace. However, she also adds that exercising responsibility is imminent within the society instead of consistent dependence on government sanctions. Additionally, Dyson’s assertions throughout the article are credible based on her significant knowledge regarding past events, trials and official gatherings between republicans associated with cyberspace. For instance, Dyson points out occurrences of government regulation on cyberspace by referring to the Exon-Coats Amendment which sought to secure cyberspace among children. Alternately, Dyson appeals to ethos by asserting that people should possess self-responsibility and control over their faith and beliefs. She supports this by asserting that electronic communities require self-regulation instead of government sanctioning.

The Audience

Regarding appealing to the audience, Dyson does this by utilizing examples that the audience can relate to and their community. This level of interaction assists the audience since it focuses on the routine activities and associations people face. Furthermore, the author uses the pronoun, ‘we’, indicating that she belongs within the similar level that the audience occupies. Alternately, Dyson provides special assumptions regarding her audience. For instance, she assumes that every parent exercises overprotection and that the audience is against cyber spacing. Nevertheless, the higher historical milieu restricts Dyson’s argument since it focuses on the present. In addition, the social context also restricts the argument of the author since the people reside in a time that necessitates them to adhere to political accuracy. Dyson also possesses clear morals and values, as evidenced in her reference to the Telecommunications Reform Amendment, which illegalizes indecent communications for persons below 18 years.

On a separate context, the audience that the author concentrates on comprises users of cyberspace who possess dissimilar ages, vocations, learning and cultural locales. Dyson supports this by acknowledging that cyberspace embraces all constituencies such as children, adults, interracial persons and even sociopaths such as pederasts and porn fanatics. As such, Dyson focuses on more than a single audience and thus, does not limit the readers to cyberspace users only but also the lawmakers. Alternately, my personal opinions regarding the article agree with the author since it is true that each person possesses responsibility over their choices and actions. Initially, most readers may express hostility towards cyber spacing, however, after reading Dyson’s rationale, most of them will experience conscientious conflict based on the role of personal responsibility in mitigating cyberspace. Conclusively, the subject within the article affects the subject since it bears personal relations based on the widespread use of cyberspace.

The Context

The topic exalted in the reading by Dyson is equally ethical and cultural since it discusses considerably regarding the manner in which individuals relate towards cyberspace. Additionally, the ethical topics comprise taboos such as pornography and illegal information that Dyson uses in the discussion on cyberspace regulation. Nevertheless, it is clear that the subject of Dyson’s discourse is controversial since it initiates conflict based on either cyberspace regulation or individual responsibility. Regardless of the topic’s conflicting nature, it is surprising that the previously debated topic associates with the author’s previous works such as ‘A Design For living in the Digital Age’. Regarding the article’s writing timeline, it is probable that the article was presently written, hence indicating a chronological trait. Consequently, the milieu of the article involves the regulation of cyberspace by parents without censorship through restricting access to things they do not want their children to witness. Furthermore, the article’s milieu also expresses the role of the community in exercising responsibility towards cyber spacing. The author directs the article to every culture with respect to the discourse matching cultural beliefs and thus, respecting all cultures. Additionally, the culture that produced this type of communication expressed unawareness and closed-mindedness towards the phenomena. Concluding, Dyson utilizes historical references and allusions such as referring to Senator Jim Exon, who was in charge of manifesting the Exon-Coats Amendment, in order to place the article in a certain period and location.

Limitations and Inventive

The author experienced various limitations in the inception of the article. For instance, the main limitation was Author-related since she did not employ examples or statistics to accentuate her points. The audience also experiences limitations based on our knowledge regarding the topic and thus prevents the author from delving deeper. However, Dyson’s background supports her argument since she possesses considerable experience regarding the topic. Nevertheless, it is evident that the author’s character restricted her argument since she fully supported her proposition without considering the opposing side. The author was also limited based on the larger social and historical milieu, which restricted her from delving into issues such as politics. Accordingly, Dyson was aware of her article’s limitations but did not ignore them since she focused on delivering her idea through exercising logic in her explanation and raising awareness regarding cyberspace. Additionally, the author’s claims are credible since they exemplify facts and illustrations and further employ open-mindedness, where she actually explores other taboo issues such as labeling and justifies her conclusion.

Regarding users of cyberspace, the issues presented by the author are widely relevant. The theory within the article supports the issue by indicating the manner in which the problem exists as well as the outcome of the inapt utilization of the Internet and a wise solution towards resolution. Moreover, in providing more relevance to the article, the author can include more statistics in order to achieve maximum comprehension of the article’s aim, which involves informing people regarding Internet issues. Additionally, the article asserts that proper use of the Internet is possible, and as such, the article can be a means of raising global awareness in all societies apart from the American society since it relates to phenomena such as real estate, which in turn can lead to a labeling revolution. By providing a moderated approach, it is impossible to use another approach since the issue already affects persons, families as well as societies. Nevertheless, the audience can mitigate the issue by improving and correcting their behavior regarding the internet.


The issue of cyber spacing has produced tremendous results in networking based on the accessibility of the Internet. However, cyber spacing has also encouraged illegal practices such as child pornography, which have deteriorated children. The article on cyberspace by Esther Dyson indeed explores deeply on the effect of cyber spacing on the society. Irrespective of the fact that the author mainly focuses on one side of the article, which involves discrediting regulation, Dyson presents the notion of individual responsibility and choice, which could assist in cyberspace regulation.

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