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The US decides to take another step towards stagnation

What is all the more galling is that this “net neutrality” nonsense wasn’t stopped by a Republican-controlled Congress. This cannot be just blamed on Obama and his cohorts, argues Dr Hurd:

The federal government — and this probably includes most of the Republican Party, as well — cannot stand the idea that the Internet economy was a successful instance of (in today’s context) relatively unhampered market capitalism. It’s precisely because this model of (relatively) unhampered capitalism worked so well that government now has to regulate it. Otherwise, it could be held up as a model for the rest of the economy. “If the Internet works so well with little or even no regulation, then what does this suggest for health care, education, lending, and all the other sectors of the economy under government management or control?”

The statists who run the nation’s capital can’t have it, and they won’t have it. That’s why Obama and his Democratic majority on the FCC pushed this through. And that’s why the Republican-led Congress won’t lift a finger in protest. Most of them are just fine with it.

The people I hear defending the Orwellian-named Net Neutrality do so on the premise that it will bring this or that benefit to the consumer. Which consumer? Any action of government bringing benefit to one party (or company), by definition brings harm or loss to another. On what basis does the government take over management of the Internet itself to “benefit consumers” when the government will be the one picking winners and losers based on political — never economic — considerations?

The only proper role for government is a crucial one — to uphold contracts voluntarily entered into by consumers and businesses. Without such a role for government, there would indeed be chaos and anarchy. Advocates of “Net Neutrality” want us to believe that turning the Internet into a public utility will inaugurate this role, when the government was already playing that role all along. The real and only possible purpose for this rule is to ensure that government sets the terms of contracts into which customers and businesses would otherwise freely enter.

Here are more thoughts from the Internet Society.

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49 comments to The US decides to take another step towards stagnation

  • CaptDMO

    Well, you know…gub’mint administered “fairness” and all.
    Just like the Progressive “demands” that ANY “other than progressive” thing posted on the internet
    be accompanied by “approved” opposing opinion, at the expense of “other than Progressive” folk that
    actually built it. (Contrary to the Progressive in Chief’s, et cet. claim of “you didn’t build that”)
    A public utility…complete with “Commerce Clause” and “eminent domain” uh….penumbras.
    There’s a reason that more conservative folk are reclaiming the “implication”, and actual value, of the “R” credential of those elected by the majority to represent them, WITHOUT exponential “compromise”.

  • Paul Marks

    J.P. the Act of 1996 (the only Act of Congress you can be pointing to) says nothing about “Net Neutrality”.

    The government takeover over the internet is (not is not) the fault of Mr Obama and his minions.

    Certainly Republicans could have done more to oppose it – but all those “freedom fighting” (actually literally true if one thinks about it – in that they fight freedom) young people and Californian internet people (Google and so on) would have screamed “Fascists” (pity they do not know what these word means – they think it means control of government by business, i.e. the NKVD agitprop reversal of what the word Fascism actually does mean), and so on – even more.

    Take “Shep” Smith on Fox News – their evening news presenter.

    Government regulations are good, it ensures safe food and drink (private business wants to poison their customers you see) – net neutrality will help the “little guy” against “big business corporations”.

    So a Republican politician watching Fox News (let alone the other networks) would feel his or her position was hopeless – quite hopeless.

    Government is there to help the people you see, business is evil.

    Even Fox News agrees – at least on the news shows (a few comment people such as Judge N. try, without success, to enlighten the brainwashed majority).

    Tacitus – the more laws there are, the more corrupt the state is.

    But what would he know – he is a dead, white guy (and a Roman “Imperialist” as well).

  • Paul Marks

    We have reached the stage of the Greek city states in the period of their terminal decline – or the late Roman Empire after Diocletian.

    Where there is a “problem” (real or fantasy) there must be a “law” to “fix the problem”.

    Law is not the nonaggression principle (as with Cicero or Edmund Burke – or Bastiat “The Law”) law is some utilitarian thing to promote “happiness”.

    If that is the aim of law then there is no limit, no limit at all, to what the state can do.

    Rousseau’s “Lawgiver” is just the tyrant of Thomas Hobbes, with a fake smile upon his face, and lying cant about the “general will” coming out of his mouth.

  • Eddy

    ‘was enacted by a Republican-controlled Congress’
    No, it was enacted by the FCC 3 votes to two.

  • Mr Ecks

    Long ago I read that radio signals can be transmitted around the planet by bouncing them off the constant influx of micro-meteorites that enter Earth’s atmosphere from all directions. It was spoken of as an emergency replacement for satellites–one that can’t be shut down or disrupted. I am not a technical guy but I wonder if that could be the basis of a net that they cannot stop or control–at all.

  • I can’t for the life of me think why the net should be “neutral” (whatever that means: in any context, I can’t see it as desirable, let alone achievable). You might as well legislate for neutral music.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Complacent take from Bloomberg.

  • […] Dr Hurd, quoted in a post at Samizdata. […]

  • Every tax, every regulation comes with it an army of bureaucrats and behind that an army (with guns) of enforcers.

    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

  • […] Dr Hurd, quoted in a post at Samizdata. […]

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Eddy, Congress could have overturned the FCC, but it did not do so. So the point about the GOP’s uselessness stands.

  • PaulH

    @Tim: In case your confusion is not just a rhetorical device, in this context neutrality means that companies shouldn’t be required to pay for me to be able to download their content at a particular speed.

    At the moment Google pays for cat videos to be uploaded to the internet, and I pay to download them. Generally the faster I want to be able to download them, the more I have to pay. What cable companies (who entirely coincidentally are some of the ‘platinum’ sponsors of the Internet Society quoted above) want to do is also charge Google for the speed at which I get to download cat videos. It’s a little like you paying your phone company to make a call to me, me paying my phone company to receive the call, and then you paying my phone company as well (because money, as the kids say).

    In theory this wouldn’t be a problem, as consumers could switch to another internet provider who didn’t charge Google (or alternatively didn’t downgrade Google’s service to me), or I could choose to stick with this differentiation between services in return for presumably lower bills. In practice most Americans have a choice of literally ones of high speed internet providers. Whether that’s because of evil corporate profiteering or evil government cronyism doesn’t really matter, because there’s little prospect of it changing (though Google is, unsurprisingly, having a go).

    So the neutrality is purely about who should pay, and how many times, not about the opinions being expressed or conveyed. In that context music already is neutral; the quality of the music you listen to on Spotify, for example, is not currently determined by how much Spotify are willing to pay your ISP, but on how much each of you are willing to pay your own ISPs.

  • lowlylowlycook

    PaulH,

    I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure there is actually no internet that cat videos can be uploaded to and downloaded from. In other words, you seem to imply that ISPs are running servers and that it’s not fair for ISPs to charge both the uploader when their videos are downloaded. Instead, there needs to be a connection from a server that holds cat videos to your device that displays cat videos and that connection has to be paid for. It’s not obvious to me that, if a large part of internet traffic is cat videos, the company that makes it’s money by putting ads in cat videos shouldn’t be paying for a large part of the maintenance and upgrading of the internet.

    Also, you might want to spend some time to think about how the costs will be transferred to consumers as they surely will. Again, there is nothing wrong with Netflix having to charge more because their users are the ones stressing the internet’s infrastructure. If ISPs can’t charge Netflix won’t they have to start enforcing limits on their users based on what they pay to a much greater extent than they do now?

  • Whether that’s because of evil corporate profiteering or evil government cronyism doesn’t really matter, because there’s little prospect of it changing

    In fact it matter enormously as it cuts the very reason “why is there a monopoly/oligopoly” of ISPs in so many places. This is a classic case of a government solution to a problem rooted in the actions of government.

  • PaulH

    @llc – I was radically simplifying. In slightly more detail, Netflix has a connection through its ISP to the ‘backbone’ of the Internet, as do I. Netflix pays its ISP to put its content on the backbone, and I pay mine to retrieve that content from the backbone. Each of those ISPs may be paying for access to the backbone. If they’re a very large player they may own part of the backbone, in which case they probably have peering arrangements where they carry other ISPs data for free in return for their data being carried in turn. The very largest can keep all of their traffic on their own part of the backbone, never having to pay or swap with another company – in effect it’s possible for data to pass from a supplier to a consumer without touching ‘the Internet’ at all, as it may remain on the ISP’s internal network.

    So, I request an episode of Buffy from Netflix, and they make a connection from the Netflix ISP, through some part of the backbone, through my ISP, to my device. I have paid for the data to be delivered from the backbone (or if you like, from the midpoint of this stream of data), just as Netflix has paid for it to be delivered to the backbone. At no point have Netflix tried to force data on me, nor on some other poor innocent; I am only getting what I requested. Similarly we have each paid for the speed, quality of service etc. of that data as it travels through our half of the transaction. So what is my ISP trying to charge Netflix for, that has not already been paid for?

  • PaulH

    @Perry – My apologies, I was being sloppy. Yes, it is important, but I’m not sure I want to wait for the overthrow of our current system of government so that I can watch cat videos. Yes it’s another small step down the slippery slope, but given the choice of fighting the government over a regulation that maintains the profitable status quo with a potential risk of future exploitation, or the actual exploitation we’re already suffering, I know which I’d prioritize.

  • Laird

    Of course this is a government “solution” to a government-caused problem. That’s true for most “solutions” offered by government. But at its core, and despite all the slick rhetoric about “consumer protection”, “fairness” or (God help us) “neutrality”, what this is really about is expanding the power of government. It’s that simple, and anyone who believes otherwise, or who thinks that somehow this is going to benefit consumers, is seriously deluded.

  • Alec Muffett

    I’m basically pro-net-neutrality and – state regulation as it might be – I don’t see it as a bad thing; running wires and/or fibre to peoples’ houses is a monopoly of some form and can be argued over in the usual way. When the monopoly becomes an opportunity to leverage the economics of scarcity onto the people under the monopoly – so that traffic is differentiated by virtue of source, ie: with whom one is communicating – then it becomes a very bad thing in my book.

    The problem – as I see it – is when people treat data as a “material good”, or treat the Internet as “material space” / cyberspace / a domain*; whenever that happens, peoples’ understandings and arguments-through-analogy go terribly wrong. [see footnote]

    For me, the “data is a good” or “data is a service” arguments are all trumped by “data is speech”, and therefore permitting traffic shaping is a prior restraint upon with whom you wish to speak and at what speed. It’s the same reason that Strowger invented the phone exchange**, that a monopolistic intermediary which inhibits “natural” access to resources (bandwidth) is an oppressor.

    Flip the scenario on its head, however, and I am fine with it. If the end user wants to pay extra for a better quality of communication (eg: double their bandwidth) or some particular kind of premium communication or service of which the carrier takes a cut (eg: well, on the internet I don’t know, but for telephones I would say premium-rate 0900 numbers) – and I am fine with that. Just not the other way around. I don’t quite know how to square these two positions yet, but I’m working on it. I suspect it comes down to the difference between paying for a particular diameter of pipe and expecting my provider to not fuck around with what flows through it, versus paying for transactional phonecalls.

    In any case: data is speech. Where provided as common-carrier “bandwidth”, anyone who messes with what is permitted to flow through that bandwidth for some perceived “public good” is enacting censorship; if they’re doing it for their own good, basically ditto. If you’ve only one ISP at your disposal, I feel there’s a problem. I’m not terribly happy about the means, but I feel that this probably helps.

    * http://www.slideshare.net/alecmuffett/how-to-think-clearly-about-cybersecurity-v2 – if you are interested in the fallacy of cybersecurity and how the State uses it to waste money.

    ** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almon_Brown_Strowger#Rotary_dialing

  • Laird

    Alec (and PaulH), google “regulatory capture.” This will not end well.

  • Alec, I think the problem is it is actually *not* a technical problem, it is a political problem. If companies can lay their own wire and/or set up WiFi or whatever technology applies in a given place and time, then it is not really a monopoly just because it is coming in on a wire. I mean I have both cable internet and DSL, so it is not like I do not have choices even now. Indeed even if there is only one provider, if the state does not make new entry into the market difficult, the monopoly provider can only remain one by not acting like a monopoly provider.

    If there is an ISP monopoly/oligopoly, it is almost *always* because of government action (and in the long run, remove the word ‘almost’). The key issue is that now the state has well and truly has hammered the thin end of the wedge into place, does any seriously think it will be a benign wise disinterested party?

  • PaulH

    @Laird: The cable/telecoms companies have captured their regulator more thoroughly than perhaps any other industry (outside of defence, perhaps) – see http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2007/pulpit_20070810_002683.html for one example. Therefore preventing cable companies from differential charging based on data type must be what the cable companies want. So we should oppose this because then the cable companies will be able to charge Google and Netflix more, which will really teach Comcast et al. a lesson?

  • lowlylowlycook

    PaulH, your ISP is trying to charge Netflix because the ISP’s customers that use Netflix are using much more bandwith than those that are checking the latest comments on Samizdata. The alternative to your ISP charging Netflix is for them to be mush more aggressive in metering or limiting that amount of data that you can download based on what you pay them every month which is what Alec says is the proper alternative. In my opinion, the difference is not a big enough problem that we need to do something so potentially disastrous as invite the government to regulate what to now has been both an vital economic engine and an avenue for probably the highest degree of freedom of speech to yet exist.

    Again, you need to think about how the various costs are going to get passed down to consumers. Don’t do the usual shallow analysis that assumes the government can come in and tweak just one variable and everything else will remain static.

  • Mr Ecks

    The scum of the state WANT control–does anybody seriously think that the FCC gang aren’t going to start worming–from Day 1 –to get the power to control Internet content. Under Obama–a slug who already has used the Bill of Rights as bog roll?

  • Laird

    PaulH, you got your wish. And now we’re all going to get it, good and hard. You are so totally focused on the short-term benefit of not paying a little extra for all the bandwidth you use downloading Netflix movies that you’re blind to the long-term effects of government control of the internet. Enjoy your victory while you can. Eventually you’ll see that it was a pyrrhic one. But of course by then we’ll all be thoroughly screwed.

  • PaulH,

    Many thanks for the explanation, most useful. I get it now.

  • PaulH

    @Laird & LLC: I’m not trying to save money. I want to be charged for what I use, the point is that *I* want to be charged for what *I* use, whereas the cable companies want to be able to charge Netflix for what I use, and then have Netflix charge me what they’ve been charged for what I used. That way Netflix looks expensive compared to my cable TV and my ISP’s streaming service (often basically the same thing). I imagine their hope is that I drop Netflix, making my internet service cheaper to provide (though not cheaper to me, of course), and pushing me to pay more to my ISP at the same time. A win-win, for the ISP.

    Whatever happens I have no doubt the ISPs have an amount of profit they intend to make. Now they’ll have to (continue to) make it direct from me, so that I’ll know about it and can decide if it’s worth it, rather than hiding it behind Netflix and Google and whoever else.

    But let’s turn the question around, Laird. Do you think that the water company should be able to add $5 to the cost of every garden hose you buy because of all the extra water you’ll be using? Or do you think it’s better that you pay for the water you use, and leave NeverKink out of it?

  • Laird

    You’re still focused on irrelevant minutae and missing the big picture, PaulH. I don’t want to pay more than I have to, either. But that’s a small price to pay for keeping the government out of the internet. We all lost yesterday, big-time. You just don’t realize it yet.

  • lowlylowlycook

    “But let’s turn the question around, Laird. Do you think that the water company should be able to add $5 to the cost of every garden hose you buy because of all the extra water you’ll be using? Or do you think it’s better that you pay for the water you use, and leave NeverKink out of it?”

    This analogy doesn’t seem like it fits. It’s much closer to what wireless companies do when they tack on an extra charge for each device.

    The ISPs have found that their customers prefer the illusion that the internet is free once you pay to get connected. Just because you’d prefer that internet data be metered like water is, doesn’t mean you have any right to demand that the government step in and enforce your preference.

    Finally, I somehow doubt that if the ISPs are forced into a business model where they charge by the GB, that Netflix, etc., will seem cheaper to consumers. Especially when the rates for data at prime time viewing hours are increased.

  • lucklucky

    We are entering the epoch of Totalitarian Democracy.

  • Jake Haye

    Presumably no ISP could unilaterally decide to start charging content providers for carrying their traffic, so they could do it only in collusion with other ISPs, i.e. anti-competitively and therefore anti-free-market.

  • Chip

    PaulH may be right, or not.

    For me, I’d prefer to see whatever market distortion that’s been predicted actuall materialize first.

    Will traffic be throttled, will costs rise, information not flow?

    We don’t know till it happens. And then we should give the market a chance to fix it.

    The market has been incredibly effective in pushing the Internet along till now.

    And if the market distortion a persist, THEN, and only then, we can talk about the government.

  • Tedd

    Mr Ecks:

    It doesn’t need to be that complicated, and what you’re talking about basically already exists. It just needs a critical mass of people.

  • Pouncer explains how it used to work at the Interstate Commerce Comission starting here:

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/net-neutrality-thumbnail/#comment-61238

  • […] The US decides to take another step towards stagnation […]

  • I should add that the ICC was a packet regulator. And the regulations were Byzantine. And ignored. And don’t forget lawyers. By the time the lawyers get done with it your packet delivered late will be long forgotten. But you can be sure fines will be assessed – eventually – and you will NOT be a beneficiary.

  • William O. B'Livion

    Johnathan Pearce February 27, 2015 at 2:34 pm
    > Eddy, Congress could have overturned the FCC, but it did not do so. So the point about the GOP’s uselessness stands.

    Not that I think they will, but it’s been less than 36 hours, and they’re all in a tizzy over the funding of the Department of Helpless Stupidity.

    I expect that Comcrap (in hte interests my current sort of employer), AT&T, Verizon and Cox are having discussions with their Lobbyists, and that Changes Will Happen.

    Of course, since it’s coming from Big Business they won’t be GOOD changes.

  • Patrick Crozier

    Two points:

    1. Regulation (including this) involves violence and violence is wrong.

    2. I am quite happy to believe that the free market left to its own devices will produce all sorts of situations where there is very little direct competition for a service. railways, electricity and water come to mind. However, there is always indirect competition. The decision to take a bus, the decision to buy bottled water etc. And monopolies are highly vulnerable to new technology. IIRC, there used to be a monopoly called the London Hydraulic Power Company. And then electricity came along.

  • Jake Haye

    Re Pouncer’s comment linked by MSimon:

    First paragraph is a false analogy with how telephone charges vary by distance.

    Second (long) paragraph is a false analogy with how postal services offer different priorities (first class, second class, etc).

    The analogy is false because any number of postal services can serve the same delivery route, and the charges can’t be used to stifle competition with the postal company’s other interests. If a postal company in a monopoly position decided to start selling DVDs and imposing an extra charge on anyone posting a DVD via its service, that would be a closer analogy.

    The part about increased demand in remote areas funding network rollout is true no matter who pays the cost.

    The third paragraph is about ISPs wanting to ‘balance load in available capacity’, but that misses the main point, which is about carriers in a natural monopoly situation leveraging that monopoly to stifle competition in other areas (content provision). Carrying costs are already accounted for in the price users pay for access.

    On the other hand, the resulting regulation will be all the more heavy-handed and incompetent, with scope for rapid mission creep left in accidentally-on-purpose precisely because there is a rational case for regulation to bring the market closer to perfect competition.

  • Jake Haye
    February 28, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Ah. I see you missed the point. It was not about how ‘net regulations will be like ICC regulations.

    The point is –> how regulators work.

  • As to perfect competition. Only possible where the technology is stagnant.

    In the Tesla (AC) vs Edison (DC) era perfect competition was not possible because at that time DC was local and AC was “global”. DC could not hope to harness Niagara Falls for New York City consumption. AC could do that.

    We are in a similar situation re:comms. About every 10 years we get a very large upset. Regulation today then locks in the current incumbents.

  • The technical aspects of this are certainly interesting, but are totally beside the point. The technical discussion is basically about how the Internet is imperfect (which it certainly is), and which of those imperfections should the government fix and how. So it all boils down to the question: is government a good solution to life’s imperfections (even if we ignore the fact that so many of those imperfections are created by that same government)?

  • Julie near Chicago

    1. Why should Company X not offer a discount to customers who purchase massive quantities of its product or service?

    2. Why should Company X make the small-scale user or purchaser pay more just because he doesn’t buy as much, nor as often?

    Two ends of the telescope…two ways of looking at the issue.

    Or,

    3. Why should the large-scale user be forced to subsidize the small-scale user, which is what happens if pricing differentials are forbidden?

    4. Why should the small-scale user be punished for using less than the large-scale user?

    These questions, or variants of them, are at issue in lots of commercial enterprises.

    Why not let Company X do the preferred-customer-discount thing and Company Y do the everybody-pays-the-same (whether flat-rate or per unit), as they wish, and let the customers decide for themselves which company to patronize? Or, perhaps, both.

    Just a thought.

  • Martin in Virginia

    I have a couple of comments on the FCC’s recent vote on “Net Neutrality.”

    First, the unproven monopolistic behavior the FCC’s regulations are supposed to fix is caused by government. In most parts of the US high-volume data service customers hav a “choice” of one high-volume data plan to their home and/or business because the other operators have been locked out via chummy franchise agreements made with the local government. If the US Constitution’s commerce clause means anything, it should be used to quash monopolistic local franchise agreements. There are no “natural” monopolies, only those that government creates, then offers to fix for us through regulations and more laws.

    The other comment I have is that the FCC appears to have violated the Administrative Procedures Act because they voted on “Net Neutrality” regulations before the regulations had been finalized, or even made public.

  • PaulH

    @Martin: The monopolistic behaviour has been proven, as for example when AT&T blocked bittorrent traffic, or when Cogent and Comcast downgraded Netflix traffic. In all cases the ISPs were being asked by their users to transmit data that the users had paid to receive.

  • Jake Haye

    @Julie near Chicago

    This is not an issue of volume but of content. ISPs can and do use traffic shaping/throttling/charges etc to control volume and always have. The issue is about ISPs with content provision services (movies on demand etc) disadvantaging competing providers (e.g. Netflix) by leveraging their position as network gatekeepers.

    I’m speculating here, but presumably this would also prevent them from e.g. censoring news stories they don’t like too.

    I don’t like government interference either, but my impression is that lockdown of the internet by corporate monopolies would be essentially indistinguishable from lockdown by the state.

    All that’s only in principle, of course. I’m sure that in practice the bill in question will undermine freedom rather than protect it, surprising no-one.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Jake, as to your first paragraph. Yes, but:

    1) The positions I outlined are the ones I hear taken by the average Joe who decides to opine (and librul/Progressive vs. “Conservative”/”libertarian” is not a reliable indicator of which view will be whose).

    2) Furthermore, as I said, a variant of these views occurs within the management of various industries — not just among the general public — and the actual situation here is in fact a slight variant of the example I gave. But the principle that Joe is following in the Net Neutrality debate is the same.

    Although it is probably true that some of the Joes have learned that there is a variety of grounds upon which they can take either side of the debate — if the debate relies on the underlying principles of “fairness” implicit in arguments 1 through 4 above.

    Moving on to “lockdown” (good term!):

    In the first place, ANY failure by a business concern to provide product or service X to person Y who wants it can, with a little creative stretching of terminology in some vaguely plausible direction, be seen as a form of “censorship” or some dreadful practice analogous thereto. (Bill Whittle did a masterful example of how this works some years ago, but has long been unavailable to any but Premium Subscribers — in principle, an example of the present dispute! Why am I prohibited from riding First Class just because I bought a ticket for Coach?)

    But frankly, while it’s bad enough that left to its own devices (relatively speaking), the MSM only provides news that suits its views, and even that is slanted sometimes beyond all recognition, why in the world would anyone think that governmental regulation would result in LESS censorship?

    The old Internet is as close as anyone has come in recent memory to uncensored presentation of material, be it news, commentary, history, fiction, or entertainment.

    Scratch “in recent memory.” The old, un-“regulated” Internet may be as close as we can get to what I’ll call “open publication.”

    (The only improvement to the Old Internet that I can think of would require government to get out of the communications industry root and branch. I don’t see this happening anytime soon….)

    If doctors were not required by law to show “competence” according to some standard … who would protect us against quacks?

    If Big Pharma, or even littler drug companies, were not required by law to hold new drugs off the market until some government outfit decided they were both safe and effective … who would protect us from Vioxx? –Oops, maybe not the best example. *g*

    The Real World is disappointing, disillusioning, and disheartening in very many ways, but there is little about it that governmental intervention is going to improve.

  • jdm

    How utterly depressing that so many well-spoken and otherwise seemingly lucid commenters can’t see the woods for the trees in this Net Neutering.

  • jdm
    March 2, 2015 at 1:32 am

    Everyone who favors dreams of what it would be like in their “perfect world”. Forgetting that:

    1. The world is not perfect, nor is it perfectible.
    2. Some one else will decide.
    3. That some one else will have their best interest at heart – not yours.

    The Interstate Commerce Commission was started on a similar premise – “we are getting screwed by the railroads on freight rates”.

    It all hinges on the meaning of “Neutarlity” for the dreamers.

  • Julie near Chicago

    jdm,

    Very good summary. The commenters seem get it also.

    Julie,

    But frankly, while it’s bad enough that left to its own devices (relatively speaking), the MSM only provides news that suits its views….

    I’m sure that what you meant is that we all suffer because the MSM always seems to take the PC line on the news, covers only PC-standard happenings, and so forth — which means what it produces tends to be “factually, intellectually, and ethically challenged.” I’m positive you didn’t mean that anybody, even the MSM, should be censored in any legal way, shape or form. Why, that could end up as an un-Fairness Doctrine for the Print Press just as bad as the one there used to be for broadcast media.

    …To which I can only respond, “Of course.” I certainly and absolutely DO want the MSM “left to its own devices.” Just I want everybody else left to his, her, and their own devices in speech, print, and art. Oh lord, the caveats: For instance, that does not include lying (in some circs, anyway) and, depending on the country, treason. (I have to admit I don’t really mind if there’s treason in bloody Iran and some other spots, as long as the treasonous are in favor of liberty and benevolence.)