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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Questions About Net Neutrality

I am rather ignorant of Net Neutrality but I have a rather good detector for figuring out what is non-sense and what is not. I immediately have three questions when anyone says their support for Net Neutrality.

Question 1: This is an economic question that I have. You claim that the danger of ISP's is that they can block your access to certain content. But why would they ever want to do that? ISP's care mostly about one and one thing only and that is to make money (not that there is anything wrong with that). Therefore, to make as much money as they can they must be able to satisfy the needs of as many people as they can. What sense does it make for an ISP to block all access to porn sites? They can do that, sure. Maybe there is a Christian internet service provider that blocks all your access to porn, but gives you all the access to kiddie porn. But such a Christian ISP is not going to make a lot of money. You might find a few priests that will pay into something like that but overall most people do not want that, and so it will not do well. Any ISP that wants to make a lot of money will provide the content that people want the most. Advocates of Net Neutrality say that without this bill your access to the internet will be constrained. But it does not make sense. Even if it is true that your content is not a shared interest as much as by other people then it would make a lot more sense to say that the ISP will just charge you more money for it. Why would they ever want to block something if they make money on it if they can just charge more? This is a question that makes me skeptical to what Net Neutrality claims.

Question 2: Do you not think that your position in support of Net Neutrality is nothing but scare tactics? The internet has been around for a while now. It is an excellent example of what the free market can achieve. The internet, in the United States, has been basically entirely unregulated. Did it fail? No. The recent years only show how much the internet has grown and expanded without the magical hand of government messing it up. Were there any serious problem with the internet before? Not that I know of. It was doing all fine and well. What is there to be scared of then? Perhaps you truly believe that Net Neutrality will improve the internet. Okay, believe that. Then can you at least admit that those who argue in defense of Net Neutrality as nothing but fear mongers? Perhaps you believe Net Neutrality will make the internet better but do you not see that many of your allies create a scary world to frighten people to support Net Neutrality? I have seem some of these people talk about Net Neutrality. Some of them attempt to scare you into thinking that without Net Neutrality it would be the end of the internet. Which is just foolish by just considering the history of the internet. So all I want to hear is you say, "you are right, there is no internet problem going around now, I just think Net Neutrality will make the internet even better". But if you say that then I have another question. Why "fix" something which is not broken?

Question 3: This is going to be my most relevent question. Why do you trust regulators of the internet to just stop with Net Neutrality? What supporters of Net Neutrality believe is that all this bill will do is enforce Net Neutrality, and that is it. Why do you believe that this will happen? Why do you believe what the politicians tell you? Why do you not think that Net Neutrality gives the government an excuse to interfere with the operation of the internet? I know that you claim it will not do that, but why do you believe in what the politicians tell you?

My question is legitimate, it is not an unreasonable question. In fact, it is unreasonable not to assume my question. Because every single bill that ever got passed always contained more stuff that it was not supposed to contain. Just consider the healthcare bill that got passed. Was it anything what the politicians were promising? No, it was basically a big giveaway to the insurance companies and a big middle finger staring into the faces of the American people. A bill is not just passed. No, there are lobbyists, who are better identified as "bribers" who practice lobbying, which is better identified as "bribery". I do not like the term "lobby", that is a euphemism for "bribery", so let us be open and direct with the words that we choose to use. When a bill is passed there are tons of bribers who bribe the politicians and government to add things to the bill. It always happens. This is why a bill that was supposed to be 100 pages can end up being 2000 pages. It is filled with more stuff that was not supposed to be in there than stuff that was supposed to be in there. So my question is rather very legitimate. What makes you possibly think that a Net Neutrality bill will only target net neutrality and not other external regulations concerning the internet?

My next question is related to what I asked above. Why do you trust the politicians? It is amazing to me how many people recognize that nearly all politicians are liars (except for Barack Obama because he is the son of Science) and further recognize that politicians were almost always liars but every election the very same fooled people continue to believe in what they say. It is amazing to see how people trusted politicians in 2008 and then two years later were fooled into seeing that they lied about a lot of what they said they were going to do but these very same fooled people end up still supporting new (or possibly the same) politicians who make even more promises just two years later in 2010. So my question is again a very reasonable question. A new topic comes up, Net Neutrality, and like always, as has been happening through much of the civilized world, people start to listen to politicians. The politicians tell them they all they will do is pass Net Neutrality to improve the internet and make it more "free". Why should I believe you that this instance is going to be any different? Why should I believe in what politicians tell me if they lost their credibility a thousand times over a thousand times? How can you possibly believe that a Net Neutrality bill will only target net neutrality when all the past history of politicians and bills suggest that it will do otherwise? This is why it is unreasonable to reject my skepticism on this question and unreasonable not to assume this question.

My next question is again something similar regarding what I asked above. Why do you not think that a Net Neutrality bill will open up a door for government regulation of the internet? Let me against justify why this is a reasonable question and why those people who do not assume this question are being unreasonable. The history of government regulation has one rule to it that always been true so far that I know of, government regulations always increases. Perhaps during certain terms government regulations can fade away, but just ever so slightly, perhaps under a tax cut, but overall, in general, all regulations increase. This is what has been happening in the United States from say 1880 to 2010. If you had a graph of all regulations that were enacted by the government you will see an increasing graph. It might not be a very smooth graph, I am not saying it will purely be on a strict increase, there might be years when regulations slightly go down, but overall it is on the increase. In other words, think of a stock that is increasing. It is not purely increasing, if you know what I mean. It has small bumps in it as it is increasing. A little there and a little here that make it drop ever so slightly, but in general it is on the increase. This is how the chart of all government regulations look like. They have sky rocketed since 100 years. Milton Friedman said that when the FDA was first put into place you can get a drug approved in about 70 pages of regulations. But now if you want to get a drug approved you would need thousands and thousands of pages, years and years of studies. I read somewhere that there are 20,000 pages regulating cabbage for farmers. That is insane. How many pages are there in the tax code of the United States? I have no idea, let us go to the Cato Institute and see what they say (oh my Science, the Cato Institute, run!, everybody knows it is a propaganda site for large business!) over here. They give a chart of the number of pages used in the tax code. Notice that the number of regulations are on the ever increasing side. Which is why I laugh at the term "deregulation", where exactly is the deregulation when compared to the size of regulations that are being used? Every piece of regulation started out simple, with just a few pages, or a few hundred if it was a bit more complex, but it exploded in exponential growth of insane number of regulations. So my question is the following. How can you possibly believe, give this over hundred year history of regulation, that the FCC will not ever increase regulations on the internet in the years to come? How can you possibly not believe that the FCC will impose regulations and operation of the content of ISP's? Why do not not think that Net Neutrality opens up a door for massive government regulation over the subsequent years?

Here is my next question. Why do you trust that the FCC will not censor the information that is on the internet? I am not talking about immediate censorship. When censorship happens it happens slowly over the years, one censorship at a time. Why do you trust that the FCC will not censor internet content? The FCC censors the radios and it censors the TV. The FCC was put into place historically not to censor put to deal with conflicting communicating radio signals (hence the name "communications commission"). The FCC licensed out permissions for radios so that they can be approved for radio broadcast over other conflicting signals. As a result, the FCC put various guidelines for radio communication (and TV also) because radio was not an open forum (such as the "fairness doctrine"). In this manner the FCC had control over the content that can send over the radios and television. Maybe you are one of the people who did support the FCC for its original purpose. I know that there are conservatives who supported the FCC for its original purpose. But now there is no point to the FCC anymore. It should be completely abolished. The radios should be free to broadcast what they want and TV should be free to broadcast what they want (including porn). But why has this not happened? Because as I said the history of regulation is always on the ever increasing list. Once the FCC was put into place it stays in place with more regulations now than ever before. Now it has no practical function anymore. Now it is just a big censorship block to radio and TV. A lot of people, including liberals, complain about the FCC and say how they should not control the content in TV and over the radios. But the FCC still does. Now my question is an obvious one. Given the terrible track record of radio and television control by the FCC and its negations of the first amendment how can you possibly trust this agency to do a good job with Net Neutrality? Why trust a federal agency that really has no credibility at all and in fact proven itself to be hostile to free speech?

Conclusion: So my basic objection to Net Neutrality is simply all the questions that I asked above. Even if it is true that the internet can be improved with net neutrality passing (which I doubt but that is a separate issue) it is not worth the risk. Consider the cost vs benefit. The benefit in ideal situations is that internet would be improved with neutrality (this is again assuming that it will be improved in the first place and assuming that the internet needs improving). But the cost, which is very likely based on past regulations of the government, is that the government will end up regulating the content of the internet over the years which will only get worst with each follow up year. The benefit is definitely not worth the cost. The success of the internet was spontaneous order in the market. And it is still successful. It is not worth the risk in the hope of making it better if you think net neutrality will make it better.

Motivations: I want to try to guess at the motivations behind Net Neutrality. I guess there got to be people out there who believe the government wants to censor and control everything. I do not share in this conspiracy because I do believe that government wants to do anything. It is way too inefficient and way too clumsy to plan a conspiracy. It cannot even run a public school for Science sake's. If it cannot do that it cannot come up with some national conspiracy to do anything. It is true that the nature of government is to grow, to kill, to steal liberty, and to regulate more and more. But not because it is some conscious entity that wants to do that. Rather it is just the corollary of the concentration of power. There is no conscious control on the part of the government at all here.

Just as the government does not actually care to control and censor and know everything (rather it is just the behavior of it) since it is not a conscious entity. So too the government does not care about defending the internet of the people for the very same reason. The government could not care less about anything bad or good happens to your internet. Instead, there is something else at work here that I am guessing is pushing for net neutrality.

That would be copyright. People do different things online. Some people manage their businesses. Some people research. Some people buy and wsll stuff on eBay. Some people, like me, spend 10 hours a day looking at gay furry porn (known as a "fur fag"). But a great deal of people use their internet for file sharing. People interchange information which is copyrighted. Almost everybody file shares, the incentive is huge to share. So much of the ISP is dominated by file sharing. If however the government says that all content on ISP should be equal with no preference for any content (in fancier euphemistic language "neutralize the ISP") then it would limit the amount of information which cannot be passed on file sharing. Thus, in effect Net Neutrality protects copyright for companies that have it in their interest to lower the amount of file sharing. But I cannot back this up with any good argument or evidence. It just made sense to me, but that could be because I am really ignorant about Net Neutrality.

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