Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard

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The Left isn't always wrong

I read the Power Line blog regularly. They generally have their head screwed on straight, unlike the Left. They do occasionally get it wrong, though, as in their posting on the FCC's push to adopt net neutrality regulations.

They don't allow comments on their site, but they do occasionally read and respond to email. I sent them this reply, in the hope that they'd do that, but so far, nothing...

Sorry, guys. I have to disagree with Scott's posting slamming the FCC on net neutrality. I'm normally a free-market conservative, but in this case I see a problem with no other solution.

Put simply, the problem is that the backbone carriers (AT&T, Comcast, Level 3, Verizon - in short, those who make money from carrying others' traffic) want the ability to pick and choose who gets good net service and those who do not, based on fees paid directly to them by those who provide content on the net. They claim this is only to help compensate them for the load placed on them by such providers as Google and YouTube. There's absolutely nothing, however, that would prevent them from simply dropping performance on any content provider they wished, for any reason they wished.

Let me bring this home to you: Let's say that Comcast is heavily influenced by the liberals that manage NBC after they succeed in buying them out. Never mind about discriminating against other sources of broadcast entertainment on the net. What would stop them from discriminating against Power Line? From deciding that you are a force for evil and should be silenced? That people should not have the right to read your words just as they do those of, say, The Daily Kos?

Nothing, that's what.

Normally, I would agree with those who say that market pressure would keep them in line. The problem is that there's no lever for a market to push on. Consumers don't get to choose which backbone carrier their net traffic goes over. The routing is all done automatically, at levels we never even see, let along get to inspect and influence. If I don't like Comcast's network management policies, there's nothing I can do about them because I'm not the one they're getting money from, even though they are affecting me.

This is a personal issue for me. My fame as the Tron Guy came entirely from my pictures, and later my videos, being spread across the net. In the kind of world that AT&T and Comcast want to create, that would not be possible, because I would have had no reason to know that, by paying their Danegeld, I would have gotten fame in return.

I firmly believe that governments have the Midas Muffler touch: Everything they touch turns into a muffler. Nevertheless, I simply see no alternative. Either we have mandated net neutrality, where everyone's content is equally treated as it travels across the net in a content-neutral manner, or else we will have an Internet controlled by the same kinds of people who give us the leftist MSM. I find the latter unacceptable, even at the cost of the alternative.

I'm still mildly nervous about being in bed with the Left on this issue, but console myself by noting that nobody's perfect, not even perfectly wrong.

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