‘Net neutrality’ is another of those nice sounding phrases Tim Wu came up with. Like many of the ‘equality’ phrases such as marriage or income equality, it seems obviously some good and wonderful. Propaganda often does have a nice ring to it as long as one doesn’t look under the, often very thin, surface. Robert M. McDowell takes a look under the surface of net neutrality and explains: This is why the government should never control the internet.
“Net neutrality rules have been sold for a decade as a way to keep the Internet “open and free” by keeping Internet service providers (ISPs), such as phone and cable companies, from blocking or degrading Web sites. Its advocates have argued that ISPs have an economic incentive to act anti-competitively toward consumers and competitors. In a common hypothetical they cite, ISPs would slow — or buffer — traffic for Netflix unless it unfairly pays for more access points, or “off ramps,” and better quality of service.
“In truth, however, market failures like these have never happened, and nothing is broken that needs fixing. If consumers were being harmed by ISPs, ample antitrust, competition and consumer protection laws already exist to fix the problem. And major broadband providers have pledged, in their terms of service, to keep the Net open and freedom-enhancing. Why? Because it is good business to do so.”
In other words, the effort is another of the leftist anti-business efforts based on the idea that the government can do it better than the collective. Collective is another term often used as a paean for socialist ideas but in this case it refers to the individuals in the market whose decisions must be served in a capitalist economic environment. It is the antithesis of the centralized control by un-elected elitest bureaucrats.
“In refreshingly honest congressional testimony, Wu has crystalized the net neutrality movement’s goal: “FCC oversight of the Internet.” His simple statement acts as a dog whistle to regulators, telling them to sweep everything about the Internet under the government-controlled net neutrality umbrella— technical operations, business decisions, content and speech. State manipulation of the Net would shape “not merely economic policy, not merely competition policy, but also media policy, social policy” and “oversight of the political process,” according to Wu’s testimony. Current regulations simply do not “capture” the Net the way more government powers would through powerful new rules, he argued.”
This effort shows two phenomena that are usually visible in emotionally driven appeals for a ‘government fix. One is the fact that the fears used as a rational have never happened. The other is persistence.
“During my seven years as a FCC commissioner, I lived through several iterations of the net neutrality debate. Its proponents have broadened the term’s definition each time to serve their own growing purposes, both here and abroad.”
The need is not there but the persistence to force a government solution anyway certainly is.