Diary

Net Neutrality: The Latest Progressive Power Grab

Progressives have had the Internet in their crosshairs for a long time now.  They have sought to control it and to tax it.  Net Neutrality is their latest attempt to seize power over the Internet so as to increase government revenues and eventually choke off those who criticize the Progressive movement.

Like so many Progressive schemes, it is marketed to sound like it is a non-intrusive solution to a problem.  It is allegedly the helping hand of government leveling the playing field so that evil corporations don’t hoard bandwidth and charge the little people excessive amounts of money for high speed Internet access.  The concern that we are being told must immediately be addressed is that large Internet Service Providers like Comcast can determine Internet winners and losers by creating a form of cyber-Apartheid where they decide how much speed each class of customers will get.

What the Progressives are calling an urgent problem is essentially the free market at work.  Bandwidth is a resource.  Like all resources, it has a finite supply.  The economic laws of supply and demand dictate that the more you want of a scarce resource, the more you will have to pay.  If a company like Netflix wants to use a third of Comcast’s limited bandwidth, Netflix should expect to pay more than the local florist who is using a miniscule amount of bandwidth.

I refer to bandwidth as a limited resource, but in truth it continues to expand and will continue to do so if the government stays out of the way and lets the free market work.  I can remember using dial-up in the 1990’s when the Internet was used to essentially just view pictures and text.  Today I can stream movies on my smart phone anywhere I have a signal (which is most places).  This notion that the free market system that has given us this awe-inspiring communications network has somehow failed us and must be rescued by government is absurd.

I would challenge anyone who has grievances with the current Internet system to consider the effectiveness (or lack thereof) they have seen the government display in other aspects of their lives.  Do you want the same people who brought us the IRS, BMV’s, and the chaos on the border with Mexico to control your access to the Internet?  This is the same government that failed to properly design a website for Obamacare.  Shouldn’t we at least ask them to master web-design before we put them in charge of the entire Web?

If the government truly wants to help then let them work on ways to help private industry increase bandwidth.  Let’s make it possible for more up-and-coming Internet service providers to lay cable networks or set-up wireless networks.  The last thing we need are a host of regulations that will end up discouraging the very innovations we need to improve the Internet.

Of course the problem is the Progressives in the FCC and the Obama administration don’t want to solve the problem of limited bandwidth.  They just want to control what already exists.  They want to pick the winners and losers through some scheme of bandwidth redistribution.  And they want to squeeze every dollar of tax revenue they can in the process so as to continue to feed their leviathan government.

And I would also point out that the very companies that are supposedly the villains in this scenario have an army of lobbyists at hand to bend any forthcoming regulations to their advantage.  Large established corporations like the status quo.  They fear competition.  They will seek to influence regulations in such a way that will stifle innovation and eliminate competition.  All of this will lead to a worse Internet experience for us all.

For whatever flaws it might have, the Internet is one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of human civilization and it didn’t reach that status because of the government (sorry Al Gore).  We should trust private enterprise to continue to improve the Internet.  To the extent that there are any problems, we certainly shouldn’t trust the Federal government to solve them.  Our modern government has proven time and time again that its endgame is always to expand its power and limit our liberty.  In the end, the government will make the Internet more expensive and less free.  I would encourage you to contact your elected officials and the FCC to make your voice heard.  The Internet will never be the same if the Federal government is successful in this power grab.