The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Tuesday, 17 February 2015]

Against net neutrality

The Arizona Republic prints a willfully ignorant editorial against net neutrality. It makes Nic unhappy.

This morning The Arizona Republic published an editorial with one of the worst arguments against net neutrality to ever waste innocent ink.

Take it away, editorial board:

Turning control of the Internet over to the FCC is an invitation to bring to a thudding halt the creative destruction that has marked the Internet from its outset.

The changes wrought through a free, open, mostly unregulated Internet have been monumental, all in service to a ubiquitous, dynamic electronic web that evolves before our eyes.

What part of that tidal flow of change might an Internet-controlling FCC impede in the name of lawyerly “fairness”? The spread of ultra-fast Google fiber? Wearable technology? Both those nascent innovations tread on someone’s sense of fairness.

Read those few short sentences again carefully—they are works of art when it comes to obfuscation. In those sentences, the editorial board manages to conflate two separate things not once but twice in a haze of purple prose.

First, they mix up the content delivered through the Internet and the distribution of that content. Which is either so ignorant that you can only marvel at the arrogance of sitting down and writing a strongly worded opinion about something you don’t understand or, more likely, a grossly cynical attempt at swaying the opinions of people who lack the grasp of basic technology by willfully lying to them.

Second, the word “fairness” has two meanings which, again, are conflated. There’s the actual meaning in this context, that of the content not being altered through things like artificial slow lanes, and the second an emotional response to perceived injustice.

I’m pretty sure the editorial board knows what they’re doing by mixing those meanings, making people think the big bad government is getting involved in decreeing what is fair and what is not. (Can you smell the lurching liberal oppression?)

The only thing net neutrality is concerned with is that the pipes don’t mess with the content. No matter what the content is and where it’s coming from. There could not be less of a value judgment.

Golf clap for managing to sneak that piece of sleight of hand in there, I suppose.

If you haven’t been paying attention to net neutrality and don’t understand why I’m getting all bent out of shape about what is one of the most important issues facing America, huge expanses of the Internet can’t wait to inform you. This is a good place to start.

« Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do


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