Most of my non-libertarian Internet friends reside on the left side of the political spectrum. For the most part, they are absolutely admirable with respect to ensuring that the Internet remains as unregulated as possible. We tend to agree that freedom is what makes the Internet work.
Since I left the Republican Party in the previous decade, one has to search hard to find areas where I agree with any sizeable amount of yellow ribbon sporting pachyderms. I love nothing more than my latest mini-rant. It is just as easy to beat up on Repubs for being the bedroom police as it is for being the party of
limited big government.
Russell Shaw titled his recent ZD-Net blog entry this way: “Are you a pro- ‘Open Internet?’ Libertarian or Republican? Better read this”
I read it and had to chew on it a bit. My knee-jerk reaction was to cuss him out for placing “Libertarian” and “Republican” on the same line. He wrote:
Reading U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, it is plain to see that those Committee Members who would prohibit broadband Internet service providers from imposing fees on bandwidth intensive services like, say, Google or Vonage are likely to be Democrats.of Tuesday’s net neutrality hearings before the
And those Committee Members who defend the practice or see no need for laws to prohibit it tend to be Republicans.
I read the referenced article and remembered conversations with one of the people quoted therein. Many moons ago, I was working a higher level position on a major GOP campaign in Virginia and someone called and asked if I’d take a paper position on the Kyle McSlarrow for Congress campaign. I don’t even remember the position offered, but it came with the typical invitations to fundraisers and similar events. At one of those events, I talked with McSlarrow about quite a few small government issues. At that time (he might have sold out since then — most Repubs did and I’ve not followed McSlarrow) he seemed pretty sincere. Broache provided the quote which got me thinking:
Nor do they plan to impede network activity, said Kyle McSlarrow, president and CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association. He cautioned that putting network neutrality principles into law “may sound warm and fuzzy” but would in fact discourage development of new, more advanced networks.
Unfortunately for the GOP, George Allen (whom I also used to support) provided the generic Republican full-of-shit devoid-of-any-principle line:
“The point now is, right now we don’t have a problem,” said Sen. George Allen, a Virginia Republican. “Do you pass a law presently…or do you pass a law retroactively to try to put the genie back in the bottle?”
Let’s go back to Shaw. He provided two examples, Google and Vonage. Great examples, because they cover the extremes of how a free market will react to such a fee imposition. With the Google case the left, right, and libertarians can probably all agree. If Google is smart, it will tell any pipeline that wishes to add a surcharge to kiss off. End-users are not going to deal with ISPs that don’t carry Google — it’s that simple. It won’t take long for the marketplace to relegate companies that prohibit Google to the dust bin of Internet has-beens.
Vonage is more complicated — and such a move would cost me a lot on a project I’m negotiating at this moment. I’m currently in the process of purchasing 16 VoIP lines to handle the telecom needs of some new political clients. To apply the Clintonism, “I feel your pain.”
When my wife and I go out to eat, she often eats the Caesar salad while I order the thickest steak in the house. I don’t know anyone who would argue that my tab shouldn’t be higher than hers, as I’m the one consuming more resources. I also know that I can surf for porn all day and not even begin to approach the bandwidth of one VoIP line going 24/7. To some degree, it is fair for people to charge more if greater resources are exhausted in the effort.
A major culprit in this issue is government monopolies. A lot of the copper is still owned by corporations with no competition. There is no moral (or even pragmatic) reason for this to occur in the 21st century. I know that my friends on the left disapprove of such government-corporate incest. My suggestion to them is to look at the real problem, and not try to force a short-term solution which will eventually further restrict their freedoms.
Shaw provided the challenge:
Same if you are a Libertarian who doesn’t believe these laws are necessary. Do you really trust the telecoms and big cable to leave your Internet- our Internet, alone?
My response is that I don’t trust them. Not a damned bit. However, I have two real choices (as I can’t afford satellite latency problems) for home or small office bandwidth: a cable modem (one provider as proscribed by government) or DSL (several choices on one set of wiring pairs proscribed by government).
The obvious solution, for both the left and the right (and all the real people stuck suffering the consequences of the bull shit political games), is to get the government out of the picture altogether.