by Dr. Roger I. Roots, J.D., Ph.D., founder and President of Lysander Spooner University
I first heard the words “net neutrality” a few years back when I noticed that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was promoting it. I have been a card-carrying ACLU member for more than 15 years, and I generally support the organization on 1st and 4th amendment issues.
However, the ACLU’s position on “net neutrality” was quite illogical. The ACLU claimed that there was a danger that the internet was controlled by a very small number of media corporations. (That type of danger, of course, is undoubtedly real–but the remedy is always freedom: smaller providers can compete with the bigger firms as long as there are no regulatory barriers.)
The ACLU’s membership is composed mostly of people who call themselves liberals–and many of them hate and despise capitalism even while they claim to support civil liberties. “Net neutrality” was a proposal to “keep the internet free” by allowing the federal government to CONTROL AND REGULATE IT LIKE A PUBLIC UTILITY. (You can’t make this stuff up.)
During the Obama presidency his Federal Communications Commission (FCC) actually voted to concoct and impose just such a scheme of government control over the internet (without so much as an act of Congress authorizing such an imposition).
Of course, the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules produced THE VERY OPPOSITE RESULT OF WHAT THEIR PROPONENTS PREDICTED: “In the two years after the FCC’s decision, broadband network investment dropped more than 5.6%,” and thus the internet has been getting LESS COMPETITIVE, according to Ajit Pai (Trump’s FCC chairman).
And now that Trump is president, Trump’s FCC is moving (thankfully) to gut and abolish the stupid “Net Neutrality” scheme that Obama’s FCC put into place.
Every human being should cheer!
But the world’s bloggers and commentators are now condemning the FCC’s move as a gift to corporations. “Net neutrality” is a lie that will not die.
Here is a Reason Magazine story on the topic.