Writing in the Guardian, Dan Gillmor argues that SOPA and PIPA aren't foolishly extreme because their proponents don't understand the net; rather, they are extreme because their proponents understand that the net breaks the monopoly of the powerful over communications and organizing.
So, why do they make unsupportable statements?
Because they don't dare make an honest argument. If they were saying what they believe, it would go roughly this way:
"The internet threatens our longstanding control of information and communications, and that is simply unacceptable. Therefore, it is essential to curb the utility of the internet for everyone else."