Skip to comments.'Net Neutrality' Is Socialism, Not Freedom
Posted on 10/20/2009 4:09:02 PM PDT by yoe
Advocates of imposing "network neutrality" say it's necessary to ensure a "free" and "open" Internet and rescue the public from nefarious corporations that "control" technology.
Few proposals in Washington have been sold employing such deceptive language -- and that's saying something. But few public policy ideas can boast the unashamedly socialist pedigree of net neutrality.
The modern Internet is a creation of the free market, which has brought about a revolution in communication, free speech, education, and commerce. New Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski apparently doesn't like that. He stated last month the way Internet service providers manage their networks -- in response to millions of individual consumer choices -- is not sufficiently "fair," "open" or "free."
The chairman's remedy is to claim for the FCC the power to decide how every bit of data is transferred from the Web to every personal computer and handheld device in the nation. This is exactly what the radical founders of the net neutrality movement had in mind.
The concept can be traced to an iconoclastic figure, Richard Stallman, a self-described software freedom activist who introduced the term "copyleft" in the mid-1980s. In his 2002 essay "Free Software, Free Society," Stallman fiercely attacks the idea that intellectual property rights are one of the keystones of individual liberty, so important that patents and copyrights are affirmatively protected in the body of the Constitution.
According to Stallman, "we are not required to agree with the Constitution or the Supreme Court. [At one time, they both condoned slavery.]" Like slavery, he says, copyright law is "a radical right-wing assumption rather than a traditionally recognized one." Rebuking those who might find a Marxist flavor in his call for a "digital commons," Stallman turns the tables, writing: "If we are to judge views by their resemblance to Russian Communism, it is the software owners who are the Communists."
Eben Moglen's 2003 treatise The dotCommunist Manifesto is more honest about the thinking behind net neutrality -- it's sprinkled throughout with the language of communism's great and bloody revolutionaries. The people must "struggle" to "wrest from the bourgeoisie, by degrees, the shared patrimony of humankind" that has been "stolen from us under the guise of 'intellectual property.' "
How does one bring this about? The professor of law and legal history at Columbia University would start with the "abolition of all forms of private property in ideas."
Most bold and radical of the neutralists is Robert W. McChesney, founder of Free Press -- the leading advocacy group in Washington pushing for net neutrality. In an August interview with a Canadian Marxist online publication called the Bullet, McChesney rejoices that net neutrality can finally bring about the Marxist "revolution."
"At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies," McChesney said. "We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control."
He's right: Net neutrality divests control over the Internet from the private sector to the government. And in typical Marxist fashion, innocuous words -- the language of neutralism and liberty -- cloak an agenda that would crush freedom.
That's the agenda President Obama's FCC is pushing.
James G. Lakely is co-director of the Center on the Digital Economy for the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank. His policy study, "Neutralism: The Strange Philosophy Behind the Movement for Net Neutrality," can be found at www.heartland.org.
My opposition to it is very simple - Government oversight, management, and mandates over privately owned assets (routers, switches, fiber) and Government control over terms of service (bandwidth) between two consenting parties.
Oh they're just getting started...
Suspicion is one thing, but opposition to Net Neutrality just because the Obama folks are for it is unnecessary. “Even a broken clock...” and all that. This opposition to Net Neutrality is people begging for corporate control of the Internet. The Interstate Highway System and air traffic control are socialist programs, too, by these standards.
The Interstate Highway System and air traffic control are socialist programs, too, by these standards.
The interstate highway system is one thing I know a little about since my Mother bid Jobs for the state highway department a good portion of her life. Boy the stories she told about that process! In a nutshell it was all about appearances money-wise. They never chose the highest or lowest bidder regardless of how well they might do the jobs - it was a completely political process because of the very nature of it all.
Everyone was watching how much got spent on a project both internally and externally, public and private. It was nothing more than a dog and pony show designed to make appearances... if that isn't marxism or socialism, I really don't know what else to call it!
Contact your politicians to oppose this vote! Pour it on and don’t let up!
You bet I will! Thanks and Please help keep this in the forefront - all Freepers need to attack this threat head on.
Pretty crappily organized website, I’d say. Hard to search and find anything useful.
Tax dollars at work, LOL.
They keep extending the limits, beyond anywhere near their original intention.
Please expand and explain why this is relevant.
"Two, individual property rights are a good thing, but unlimited copyrights and patents (de jure monopolies) are not so good. "
Which is why that are not observed. The object of discussion is vacuous.
"Three, "net neutrality" is simply a maintenance of the present situation with regards to the Internet's architecture, that is, transit providers agree to pass each other's network traffic without preference or prejudice... Without net neutrality, many ISPs have figured that they can introduce what is effectively variable-rate tolling"
Variable rates is a completely different issue from "preference or prejudice," and yet you speak of them in the same breadth.
Businesses routinely give volume discounts. This form of price discrimination has been studied and discussed ad nauseum, and there are absolutely no objections to it.
What makes bits and bytes different from prickles?
"There is absolutely nothing wrong with "net neutrality" on principle."
Well, it robs those that invested into infrastructure of fair return. You may see nothing wrong with that but it is wrong nonetheless.
I am not an expert on patent and copyright law, however, to my knowledge the duration of copyright has not changed since 1978. Patents are potentially affected by WTO, which may lengthen initial patent to 20 years (from 17 years for most patents now) but there would be no allowable extensions (another 17 years.) So, if anything, new treaty obligations would effectively shorten patent terms.
Anyway, the original poster spouts Stallman's crap about patents as if it were true. Among many inaccuracies FSF/Stallman claims the Founders did not intend to allow software patents. Complete nonsense. They clearly did not intend intellectual property protection to be extended merely to durable innovations. [FSF/Stallman in fact claim there is no such thing as intellectual property, and that merely using the phrase is impermissible.]
I notice, however, that in subsequent posts the author doesn't come back to defending Stallman. Perhaps he thinks the "great accomplishments" of GNU need no defending. Or perhaps he's finally actually read the GNU GPL, a promiscuous legal agreement that essentially sucks up any intellectual property even remotely connected to GNU and makes it "free;" (i.e. steals it) a document no person with an ounce of sense would sign on to actively or tacitly. In any event, if he wants to come back and debate Stallman with me, I would love it. The guy is just about the biggest whackjob alive.
Please do tell me what part of Comcast or Time/Warner or Verizon's networks were built with taxpayer funds, and then I'll accept your lame comparison.
how hard’s it gonna be to duplicate the net? it can’t be captured.
Why doesn’t he move back to Keyna? He has NO RIGHT to change America into a socialist/communist crap hole. That boy is going to push too far and he’s going to meet America’s finest patriots, and I can promise you they won’t be there to share a beer with him!
The modern Internet is a creation of the free market, which has brought about a revolution in communication, free speech, education, and commerce. New Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski apparently doesn't like that.
I am confused. Net neutrality used to be used to describe the very things which helped create the internet, and I had always understood as an effort to continue and preserve that. Wasn't the idea to prevent a third party from keeping one from using certain sites, or particular equipment or software to connect, or to download particular content? Why would we want that? And how would that be an example of the way the internet was created? Have I been confused about the meaning of this term all these years, or has it simply morphed in meaning?
It just doesn’t stop. It’s Acorn. Healthcare. Cap and Trade. Troop movement in Afghanistan. Fox News. On and on.
The White House keeps throwing all of these balls in the air. They have so much stuff going on. It’s like they are trying to overwhelm the public. There is too much for us to keep track of. In the meantime they are doing this and that in the background while we are too busy to notice. They want it that way.
It’s a sticky wicket.
Current internet service providers never promise that you will get content from any source on the internet as fast as the slower of your own link to the provider or the provider’s own link to the backbone. To be able to keep such a promise if the providers were forced to make it universal, they would need to make investment in equipment bandwidth that most customers would not use or would only use rarely. This would jack the price way up. I would be more in favor of full disclosure to customers of individual ISP policies on the matter. If Joe Blow Telecom is slowing down a competing feed from Jim Schmoe Telecom, Joe should be required to say so to potential and current customers. Then Tim Grow Telecom could advertise that they slow down nobody’s feed, but they also charge more for that characteristic. And customers can choose what they want.
The “viral” nature of a GPL license means only that if you pass on TO SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF YOUR OWN PERSONAL OR BUSINESS ENTITY something of your own bundled with something you got by GPL, you have to license the whole shebang to that someone under GPL. The GPL license is very clear and it (apologies to Obama) has been twittered and blogged and stuff all over the place if you cannot read plain English. Nobody is getting suckered by Stallman’s GPLs.
The neutrality advocates are mostly complaining about “last mile” introduced inequalities. I would agree that is not a publicly funded part of the link. The historical core internet was a tax funded DARPA project.
All we have to do is try and win some battles in the meantime.