As a recent column in the Wall Street Journal reminds us, online freedom is jeopardized in the name of “net neutrality” (The FCC’s Threat to Internet Freedom). This is just another case of the state re-labeling things to sound benign but that are really invasions of liberty and property rights–another good example being use of the term “intellectual property” to masque the true nature of state-granted monopoly privilege rights (patent and copyright) (see my post Intellectual Properganda).
It is true that some corporations probably have extra-market power to control aspects of the Internet, as the result of state interventions such as IP, FCC licensing, antitrust law, big business favoritism, and so on. But the solution is not to grant the state even more power to regulate private companies.This is the criminal gang that has fouled things up in the first place. Another recent example of federal Chutzpah is the Obama administration’s proposal to provide a “Web Privacy ‘Bill of Rights’“–how obscene. The mob that is the greatest threat to online privacy freedom, and rights will protect us? I’m reminded of the phrase, “We’re from the government. And we’re here to help.” Thanks, but no thanks, guys.
These are the same parasites who do everything they can to hobble and destroy business and innovation–they impose costly regulations; tax individuals, making employees more costly; inflate the money supply and cause destructive business cycles; impose insane, murderous policies on pharmaceutical and medical innovations via the FDA; and then impose double tax by taxing corporations too, after imposing Sarbannes Oxley on them for the “privilege” to exist as a corporation (a privilege that is not a privilege; corporations do not need state privileges to exist–see Legitimizing the Corporation and Other Posts; Richman and Carson on the BP Oil Spill; Should Libertarians Oppose “Capitalism”?; Rothbard on Corporations and Limited Liability for Tort; Comment on Knapp’s Big Government, Big Business — Conjoined Twins; Pilon on Corporations: A Discussion with Kevin Carson; Defending Corporations: Block and Huebert).
And then, as a solution to the damage done to innovation by the state’s malicious hobbbling, the maniacal intellectual properteers urge giving the state more power to grant intellectual monopoly privilege grants to companies. (But then, if the companies use these monopoly grants “too much”, it’s called “abuse” and the state persecutes them under its evil antitrust laws.) (See State Antitrust (anti-monopoly) law versus state IP (pro-monopoly) law.)
Likewise, net neutrality is an attempt by the state to see more power to control private property rights as an ostensible response to various “market failures” that are really themselves caused by state intervention. In this, it is anohter example of the state’s creating a crisis and using this as a justification to seize more power under the pretense of saving the people from the crisis that it caused. (See Robert Higgs, Crisis & Leviathan.)
Libertarians should oppose net neutrality–and the state interventions that gives rise to the problems net neutrality pretends to address. (See my posts Net Neutrality Developments and Libertarian Take on Net Neutrality (both reposted below); also Harvard’s Yochai Benkler on Net Neutrality and Innovation.) Don’t trust the state to “protect” you. Ever.