What Would John Galt Do?

A whole different way of looking at "WWJD"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why I am not a conservative (or a Republican, for that matter)

Conservatives seldom piss me off, but when they do they REALLY piss me off.

As I have said many times here, there are only three things that really light my fuse: lying, stupidity and hypocrisy. Which means that I am pissed off at the Left pretty much all of the time.

It also means that I get pissed off at the Right once in a while. Right now is one of those times.

The issue at hand is Net Neutrality, and conservatives are lying through their teeth about it with some really stupid shit. So we have stupid, and we have lying. That's two out of the three.

The concept of Net Neutrality is simple: Internet connectivity is basically the newest version of a utility, in the same sense as your telephone service or electric service is. It is the utility companies' role to supply you with electricity, or with phone service, or with natural gas, etc. It is NOT their role to dictate how you will use that electricity, or with whom you are allowed to talk on the phone. They don't get to dictate whether your appliances come from General Electric, Samsung, or some company in France. They don't get to dictate whether you use natural gas or electricity to dry your clothes. Indeed, it's none of their damn business. And neither should companies who supply your Internet connection be able to dictate what the hell you use it for, or to whom you connect.

But some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have begun to do exactly that.

There's nothing wrong with their motives: they're doing it to make money, which is always an honorable reason. But we all know about the pavement on the Road to Hell: it is results that matter, not what a person is thinking when s/he does a thing (I am always amused by "liberals" who think they can read other people's minds, and construct arguments based on what they believe someone is thinking, rather than debating the merits of an idea).

This has come about because the technology has matured to the point where we now have 1) a lot of video being streamed via the Internet, and 2) Cable television companies gone into the business of transporting Internet packets from the Internet backbone to your house.

And that means there is money to be made in making sure that video that THEY are in the business of providing (i.e., someone is paying them to deliver) gets priority over anything else they deliver to your house. Which means that everything else will have to be slowed down or even blocked to ensure that the mindless glop that Disney is paying them to deliver to your house gets through uninterrupted.

This is not how a computer network is supposed to function. Indeed, it goes against the very design of the Internet and the data & transport protocols that make it run.

Ultimately, this is an assault on your freedom. If your ISP, or its upstream provider, can discriminate between Internet packets based on who paid to bring them to you, then you are no longer free to make your own choices regarding whence you get your information -- and ultimately they can control what content you're allowed to see at all. Without Net Neutrality regulations, you could soon face a future in which a BBC documentary about human rights abuses in, say, Pakistan will no longer be available to you (or will be so choppy that you'll give up trying to view it), but all the latest glop from the Disney Channel will come through with no problems.

The Internet was never intended to be a medium on which others are allowed to pick and choose what information you are allowed to access. Which is precisely why it is a threat to Power. Which is why those in Power are extremely interested in shutting down your access to certain information that they don't like. Which is why we need Net Neutrality rules, regulations, and/or laws that guarantee that those responsible for transport of Internet packets from the Cloud to you are forbidden from discriminating with whom you connect, or why.

OK, that is why Net Neutrality is important. Indeed, vital to a free society. Now let's examine what the lying bastards on the Republican Right are saying about it, and why they should all be taken out and shot at sunrise (assuming, of course, that all of the lying bastards on the Democrat Left have already been taken out and shot at sunrise yesterday morning -- we can't leave THEM in power).

I actually got so disgusted with Rush Limbaugh and Mark Steyn, who is sitting in for Rush on his show today and tomorrow, that I shut the damn show off. I haven't done that since I fell for Rush' annual April Fool's Day prank way back in 1990-something.

On his show yesterday, he said this (source: rushlimbaugh.com):
This is about the Feds wanting to control the Internet just as they control the public airwaves. They want to be able to determine who gets to say what, where, how often. They want to be able to determine what search services are providing what answers to your queries. It's total government control of the Internet....
And on Limbaugh's show today, Mark Steyn expanded the stupidity to claim that Net Neutrality rules will regulate what you're allowed to buy at Apple's App Store!

What a bunch of crap.

Other so-called "conservative" organizations, which are really nothing more than front (aka "astroturf") groups for certain corporations, have been making other wild claims, such as that Net Neutrality is a "solution in search of a problem" -- another lie, because as I said above, certain Internet providers have already begun to discriminate against certain content.

I have heard this argument before. I once wrote a piece of legislation in Oregon that Micro$oft Corporation did not like, because it would have leveled the playing field between Micro$oft and its competitors regarding what software the state's taxpayers were buying. In the legislative hearings, I heard the phrase "a solution in search of a problem" -- which was a flat-out lie -- from every lobbyist who testified against the bill.

I will not be a party to anyone who lies, even if s/he is telling the truth 90% of the time. Stuff such as this is why I am not a conservative.

To be fair, I have not read the actual FCC proposed regulations. Neither has anyone else. I can't find a single news story that quotes even as much as one phrase from the proposed rule-making.

I've heard some things from the pro-Net Neutrality people that the proposed regs have been so watered down with pro-Corporation lard that they are worse than useless. I would like to read them for myself. If anyone finds a link, please send it to me.


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