Ready to do an interesting experiment?

You’ll love this. It’ll be fun.

Here’s what you do. Make a new word processing document or spreadsheet, and start making a list of everyone you’ve ever heard push for net neutrality. If you have no idea what net neutrality is, it’s a nicey-nice phrase for regulating the internet by placing it under the umbrella of the FCC. You know, the FCC, those really nice, rational, fair, uncorrupt guys who decide what you can or can’t say on television or radio stations.

Any time you hear any of your friends or family say they want net neutrality, put them on your list. Any time you hear any political pundit, TV personality, or celebrity push for net neutrality, put them on there too. (And if course, if you are for net neutrality, put yourself on the list as well.)

Keep adding to the list whenever you hear people call for or support net neutrality.

Then, and this is the hardest step, keep the list handy where you can access it and not forget it 5-10 years from now. I realize that might sound difficult, but wherever you keep your main documents, keep your net neutrality list in there. I promise you the payoff is worth it.

Then, once net neutrality becomes law, and it will, since government grows and freedom diminishes every year, keep that document and don’t delete it.

Here’s the final step. Several years after net neutrality becomes the law of the land, if you ever hear a friend, family member, political pundit, or celebrity who is furious that the government isn’t letting them say something on the internet, pull out your list and see if their name is on it.

I think you’ll be very surprised that you may find their name is on your list.

Then laugh (or cry) at how irrational people are about government power. If you know the person personally, you can point out to him or her that they were the ones screaming for the government to regulate the internet in the first place. That probably wasn’t a very good idea, was it?

Of course, I already know it’s not a good idea for government to regulate the internet. But sadly, I’m probably in the minority, and like most of these kinds of issues, people are going to have to actually suffer real pain before they realize what they did was wrong.

I promise you this is going to happen to thousands of people now screaming for net neutrality. It’s going to pass, then the government will prevent these people from saying things they want to say on their web site, blog, YouTube channel, Twitter, or whatever.

One of the fundamental flaws in human nature is that those who beg for more government power over their lives tend to be the same people who later are the most angry when government uses that same power against them.

Click right here and read Fred Reed’s latest article. He lays out this insanity better than I ever could. And start your list! (I’ve started mine!)

11 thoughts on “Do This Fun Experiment With Net Neutrality

  1. You can put me down on the list. Enforcing net neutrality should be something even libertarians agree is a justifiable area for government to control. It has nothing to do with controlling ideas, it simply gives everybody equal right to the internet. In fact, net neutrality prevents internet companies from controlling what can and can’t be said on the internet. I know it’s popular to say the government can’t do anything, but my customer service when dealing with government entities is vastly superior to the customer service I’ve gotten from Comcast, and I trust the government way more to not mess it up than I do Comcast.

    Now, you could say that giving them this power to regulate is a gateway to letting them control what we can and can’t say, but that simply isn’t the case. First of all, they already can control content. If you don’t believe me, try posting child pornography or a request for a hitman to kill your ex wife on one of your blogs. Secondly, this argument throws the baby out with the bathwater. It would be like saying that because the government has used out military poorly for the last several decades we should get rid of the military altogether.

  2. Enforcing net neutrality should be something even libertarians agree is a justifiable area for government to control. It has nothing to do with controlling ideas, it simply gives everybody equal right to the internet.

    If government wants to give everyone equal rights on the internet, they should allow the decoupling of the final mile of cable to anyone’s home and allow any company to offer internet service to you and me. Then if any company restricts access to whatever, you can simply switch to another company. No regulations needed.

    At the moment this free market competition can’t happen. Why? Government won’t allow it.

    In fact, net neutrality prevents internet companies from controlling what can and can’t be said on the internet.

    ..and gives that power over to the government.

    I know it’s popular to say the government can’t do anything, but my customer service when dealing with government entities is vastly superior to the customer service I’ve gotten from Comcast

    Of course, because Comcast is a monopoly. It has a monopoly over the internet cable signal coming into your house. Monopolies (like government and Comcast) are bad.

    I trust the government way more to not mess it up than I do Comcast

    That’s scary statement. I don’t like Comcast either, but Comcast can’t bomb countries, take money out of your paycheck and give it to millionaire bankers, throw you in jail, garnish your wages, revoke your driver’s license…shall I go on?

    you could say that giving them this power to regulate is a gateway to letting them control what we can and can’t say

    Yep.

    And you’re about to prove it.

    but that simply isn’t the case. First of all, they already can control content. If you don’t believe me, try posting child pornography or a request for a hitman to kill your ex wife on one of your blogs

    Then it is the case. And because they control that content, soon they will control more. Because letting them regulate it is a gateway to letting them control more of what we say.

    Thank you for proving my point.

    It would be like saying that because the government has used out military poorly for the last several decades we should get rid of the military altogether.

    The difference is we need a military, but we don’t need the government watching for porn and hitmen on online. The free market is more than able to filter these things just fine, and since I’m a free speech absolutist, I believe you should be allowed to say literally whatever you want on the internet, the government should stay the hell out of it, people can filter it using largely free software, and if someone has a real problem with what you say online, they can sue you for libel or slander. That’s how freedom is supposed to work.

    But I’ll put your name down on the list. 🙂

  3. First time I ever heard this connection made with net neutrality.

    Just a small point, the government will then not directly control the internet. It is still up to the ISPs to enforce the rules. And while a lot of ISPs ban childporn pretty quickly, it is usually the only thing. (My ISP also cuts your connection if your machine gets turned into a zombie and starts spamming).

    In most cases it is actually the companies that are the worst censors. (in my exp at least, see twitter, and other social networks overly quickly banning people they disagree with).

    So if you want to maximalize freedom. (Like I know you want). It seems you are between a rock and a hard place. Either have companies ban content they dislike, and throttle content they dislike, or the government gets control. With the issues you described above.

  4. Just a small point, the government will then not directly control the internet.

    Correct. Nothing horrible will happen immediately. It may actually “work” for a while, then people will say, “See? It’s working great!” I’m talking about years later.

    Go here and read the 7 Principles of Government and pay close attention to items 4 and 5. A big new government program, NEVER, EVER does exactly what you want it to do and no more. That’s a fantasy that never happens. It ALWAYS ends up doing way more…not immediately, but eventually. (And rarely will you like the “more”.)

    And while a lot of ISPs ban childporn pretty quickly, it is usually the only thing. (My ISP also cuts your connection if your machine gets turned into a zombie and starts spamming).

    In most cases it is actually the companies that are the worst censors. (in my exp at least, see twitter, and other social networks overly quickly banning people they disagree with).

    That sucks, but all of that is okay, since that’s all a part of the free market. As I talked about when I was discussing free speech a few posts ago, it’s not censorship if a company does it to you; since in a true free market you can always go somewhere else.

    And remember that as I said to Tony above, monopolies are NOT the free market.

    So if you want to maximalize freedom. (Like I know you want). It seems you are between a rock and a hard place. Either have companies ban content they dislike, and throttle content they dislike, or the government gets control.

    You’re correct in that none of our choices are really great. This is one of those “take the least bad” scenarios.

    The “least bad” scenario is this:

    Government completely deregulates the internet signal coming into your house. Then everyone with a high speed internet connection has their choice of four, five, six, even more big, viable, high-speed internet companies instead of one shitty one (or perhaps two).

    True, because they’re big corporations many of them will act like jerks by censoring stuff or throttling other services or providing horrible customer service. But under this scenario if any one them pulls that shit, you simply cancel them and have five more options to choose from, all of which are desperately competing for your service, who likely aren’t doing that evil stuff, or at least aren’t doing it nearly as badly. (Nothing in life is perfect.)

    Perfect system? Nope, but it’s far less bad than A) what we have now with a government-created monopoly on your internet signal from shitty companies like Comcast and B) the government in control of what you can and can’t say on the internet.

  5. As I read this kind of thing, I often find myself angry at what we are becoming every year as the frog gets boiled more and more. Our freedoms are diminishing and choices are being stunted. I know you like to live a drama free life and be happy, as do I so I wonder how you are able to not let this kind of thing in and shatter your mood. I have times where I consider not reading the news at all. Loving your unchained man book really great stuff.
    All the best,
    Gordon

  6. I know you like to live a drama free life and be happy, as do I so I wonder how you are able to not let this kind of thing in and shatter your mood.

    Easy. I stopped caring about society at large. About 15 years ago I realized that society is going to keep moving in very dumb directions regardless of how I voted or what I said publicly, even if I had millions upon millions of dollars to spread a certain political message and had millions of people who agreed with me.

    Thus I’ve shifted my caring from “society,” which largely wants to destroy itself as long as it happens “later,” to those 5% who are serious about making a better life.

    Working with those 5% is fun and exciting. Worrying about overall society is frustrating, and can’t ever be a path to long-term, consistent happiness.

  7. Solid post. I agree with everything. Several years from now I’ll come back here and we’ll review the shit storm

  8. I know this is an old post but as someone that has been a proponent of Net Neutrality for over 20 years I thought I would correct you on a few misunderstandings about what Net Neutrality is and how it is actually already law.

    First, as I’ve stated, Net Neutrality is already the law. You may be thinking “Non-sense! If it’s already the law then what’s with the push to make it the law?” Well, that’s because the issue is nuanced. The nuance being the difference between dial-up and broadnband. Net Neutrality is the law for dial-up because dial-up was carried by the phone companies and therefore was subject to common carrier laws. The internet started and flourished in an environment where net neutrality was the norm and the law, broadband was rare, and most people were using dial-up. The apocalyptic censorship scenarios suggested today, despite cleat Net Neutrality rules, were never even theorized back then. The internet under Net Neutrality was seen as a place of freedom, where ideas could be exchanged and new business models explored. It was amazing! But then broadband came along…

    Broadband was not a common carrier technology and therefore was not subject to Net Neutrality laws. Eventually broadband became the standard and dial-up went away, leaving an internet that was largely not subject to Net Neutrality laws. And what happened? Everything Net Neutrality proponents predicted would happen. More on that in a moment.

    But first, what is Net Neutrality? Net Neutrality is simply a legal prohibition on carriers from favoring or limiting data from other carriers. That’s it. What this breaks down to is that if individual A buys bandwidth from provider B, said provider can not choose to limit data coming from their competitor, carrier C, to individual A. Put another way, Comcast can’t extort money from Netflix by threatening to throttle them unless they share their profits with Comcast. By the way, this happened. Those costs got pushed to the customers of Netflix. Comcast produced nothing, added zero value, provided nothing to Netflix or their customers outside of what had already been paid for. They simply used the fact that the modern internet isn’t subject to Net Neutrality, like it used to be, to extract money from Netflix subscribers. And there’s no reason why every broadband carrier can’t do the same, pushing more costs on to Netflix subscribers in exchange for nothing.

    Here’s what Net Neutrality is not: It’s not new. It’s not a way for the government to censor the internet, that’s a proven fact as the government has never been able to use Net Neutrality to censor anyone. It’s not a way for the government to “take over” the internet.

    I hope that was helpful.

  9. Going back to this, I wonder if Caleb has changed his mind about it. I kinda wanted it to pass today, since now that it hasn’t, the state is going to find an even worse form of Neutrality that is going to eventually pass indefinitely, making the government the ONLY ISP.

    Stupid laws in their infancy are one ounce less worse than stupid laws that are able to be worked on.

  10. Apparently you do not understand what net neutrality means?

    Think anti trust.

    The ISPs should not be allowed to own any content providers.

    Since they are allowed to own content providers they need to be regulated or else the only content you will ever see will be the content from ISP owned providers,

    that would not be you CJ so you will be gone from the internet,

    is that what you want?

    I really don’t care what you do with your list because it is irrelevant.

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