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Net Neutrality

Whenever James Corbett takes a position on something, I pay attention.

Why? Because James is one of the few journalists worth paying attention to.

However, like everyone, James has his blind spots and biases. For James, an avowed anarchist, it's government (the good parts).

Today James tweeted an interview on an anti-Net Neutrality article by Jeffrey A. Tucker, who had this to say:

Let’s grasp the position of the large content providers. Here we see the obvious special interests at work. Netflix, Amazon, and the rest don’t want ISPs to charge either them or their consumers for their high-bandwidth content. They would rather the ISPs themselves absorb the higher costs of such provision. It’s very clear how getting the government to make price discrimination illegal is in their interest. It means no threats to their business model.

By analogy, let’s imagine that a retailer furniture company were in a position to offload all their shipping costs to the trucking industry. By government decree, the truckers were not permitted to charge any more or less whether they were shipping one chair or a whole houseful of furniture. Would the furniture sellers favor such a deal? Absolutely. They could call this “furniture neutrality” and fob it off on the public as preventing control of furniture by the shipping industry.

These two paragraphs demonstrate a lack of understanding of what Net Neutrality actually means.

Net Neutrality is not about cost, in exactly the same way murder and freedom are not about cost.

All discussions of "cost" lead to rabbit holes and confusion.

Net Neutrality, like freedom, like apple pie, is just a principle, and a damned important one.

Just as it is the government's job to uphold fundamental laws (like "thou shalt not steal", "thou shalt not murder", and "thou shalt have freedom of speech"), it is the government's job — by extension — to uphold the principle of Net Neutrality, a simple principle that just says: on any given Internet connection, your ISP shall not discriminate between the packets you request.

Net Neutrality is born directly out of Freedom of Speech. It is a freedom of speech issue.

It's not about the "costs of shipping furniture/packets" any more than freedom of speech is about the costs of shipping books.

"Cost" is a red herring.

It's about you having equal access to speech.

It's about you being able to purchase the books and material you want.

Whether Amazon/Netflix/Google/whoever ship "housefuls of furniture" is completely irrelevant to Net Neutrality.

Given 1000 units of "bandwidth" that you purchased, you can use those 1000 units of bandwidth for whatever you want, whether it's Netflix, Google, or the Corbett Report.

That is all Net Neutrality is, and anyone who supports Freedom of Speech supports Net Neutrality.

If you are against Net Neutrality, you are against Freedom of Speech. Period. End of story.

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