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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/4459/two-word-solution-de-regulate/

Two word solution: De. Regulate.

December 19, 2005 by

A story on Slashdot, the popular “News for Nerds” site expresses concerns about Internet Service Providers trying to create a two-tiered Internet. The top comment on the story (meaning it was posted quickly and then rated highly by Slashdot readers) is by A.B. Dada who seems to be a Mises.org and LRC reader. He writes:

Real deregulation has nothing to do with Congress making laws, changing laws or getting rid of a few old regulations that actually don’t affect communications. True deregulation means getting rid of ALL laws that affect communication, including ones that were set up over a hundred years ago that we still have to follow.

In my opinion, the interstate commerce “clause” in the Constitution was not intended to control communications, set up an FCC, or regulate costs or services. It was intended to prevent taxation and tariffs… after [1995], we saw an unregulated quantity of computers magically connect without major subsidies… The fact that so many people got online without excessive regulations aimed at driving the Internet leads me to believe that the best form of our beloved Internet IS anarchy (not chaos).


David White December 19, 2005 at 1:32 pm

Eric Garris obviously agrees — http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/garris3.html — and I agree with Eric Garris.

Luke Fitzhugh December 19, 2005 at 1:48 pm

Was the intention of your last statement to suggest that the word broadcasting could be substituted for internet? That is, would you also agree that the best form of our beloved broadcasting system (radio and television)is anarchy? I’d like to think so, but would like some insights into how we would, for example, prevent signal interference and even jamming signals.

How would it work? How do we get there from here?

zuzu December 19, 2005 at 2:05 pm


Check over at Department of Breathable Air (Spectrum); particularly my comment about the Myth of RF Interference.

If you own a cordless phone manufactured in the past decade, you have the technology by which interference becomes a moot issue.

According to David P. Reed, “Interference is a metaphor that paints an old limitation of technology as a fact of nature. There’s no scarcity of spectrum any more than there’s a scarcity of the color green. We could instantly hook up to the Internet everyone who can pick up a radio signal, and they could pump through as many bits as they could ever want. We’d go from an economy of digital scarcity to an economy of digital abundance.”

Curt Howland December 19, 2005 at 2:51 pm

Examining the moderation done to dada21′s posting, it would seem that 5 moderators upgraded his post, and another 5 moderators downgraded, leaving him where he started.

A huge number of the posters on slashdot are young, idealistic types who think intervention can work if done correctly. They tend to knee-jerk moderate down anything which suggests the benefits of not regulating at all.

I’m pretty sure that the only reason his posting was not moderated down more is because he did put informative links in the text.

R. Williams December 19, 2005 at 3:04 pm

If you read all of the comments though, this kid gets absolutly trashed. While his original statement looks good (might have been lifted from somewehre else), in his rebuttles he makes some bad choices, and is rightly torn apart. He tries to defend Wal-Mart and blockbusters, and says that they don’t hurt competion, while we here know that the benefits from wal-mart are not increased competition (in number of firms), but higher productivity.
He should have also used examples with much higher barriers to entry.

Also, Luke, the correct answer to your question would be that the majority on this site would support homesteading rules, which would prevent interference. When someone starts to use certain wavelengths, he combines his labor with nature and produces something that is his. If someone comes and uses that same wavelength, he can rightly sue for traspassing and vandalism for being on what is now his wavelength.
Rothbard is so much better at explaining than i am, but i try.

A.B. Dada December 19, 2005 at 3:42 pm

R. Williams:

You’re definitely correct in saying I should have use better examples. I’ve been a slashdot “libertarian” for years, so I generally know what burns the average socialist kid. I also read and post entirely from my PDA phone (including my various blogs and forums I frequent) and primarily when I am on the run. Some of my posts are “off the cuff” style posts, but they do get people thinking.

As for Wal*Mart and Blockbuster, they’re “bad” when they use government power to coerce the consumer, and they’re “good” when they give everyone more money to spend on other services — such as mine. Every one of us who are in business have some coercive element, even if we try not to take advantage of them. I don’t LIKE Wal*mart, but I will defend their right to sell cheaply, except when they’ve received benefits from the local or other government. It is a very complex issue.

As to the moderation my posts, I’ve gone from +5 to -1 back to +5 and back as moderations get meta-moderated, and other moderators read them later. I’m still “new” to defending freedom online — it is much easier o do in person when you can judge the person you are talking to and adjust your defenses toward what they know and don’t know. On slashdot, you have quite a huge amount of different opinions, and formulating one that reaches everyone is impossible, except for (maybe) the late Rothbard. His passing before the Internet exploded is a tragedy as I’d love to see what the old fella could do on the forums.

One benefit of slashdot is that I have “converted” over 200 of my regular readers to freedom loving, and over the years I’ve been a key element in getting people to learn the word “liberarian.” Now that I’ve grown past that term, I’m working to getting the word “anarchocapitalist” in the minds of the youths, even if they don’t believe in complete freedom from the State.

Also, I am 31, so I’m far from kid, depending on your age.

Thanks for the link, Austrians, I appreciate it.

(posted from my PDA phone, sorry for spelling errors)

Andy D December 19, 2005 at 5:57 pm

Excellent post.
It’s most puzzling to me that these people who seemingly have used the Internet for years, have used it without regulation. To my knowledge, there is very little regulation specifically directed to the Internet, but there is IP and child abuse laws that cover it.

Why do they want controls on something they love and have used for free? The telecoms examples are horrendous because of the fact they were so regulated. The reason cell phones didn’t come into prominence earlier was due to the massive regulations of the FCC. I bet every one posting here and there has one now! No thanks to government for denying us these pleasures from the market.

I am just astonished how many statists and apparently gleeful tax payers are on slasdot.

PR December 19, 2005 at 7:15 pm

What annoys me the most is that the alleged failings of the free market, e.g., asymmetry of information, high barriers to entry, network effects, externalities, all apply doubly to electoral politics. Building “good government” requires resources just like any other good, but statists argue as if it were free.

zuzu December 19, 2005 at 10:15 pm


I believe that’s the central thesis of Hayek’s Road to Serfdom; as well as one of the central tenets of public choice theory.

jcl December 19, 2005 at 11:28 pm

Here’s another Slashdot doozie from a couple of weeks ago: Study Finds Regulation Good For Telecom Customers. The first poster, moderated as Insightful, says “The reason most industries that are regulated are regulated is precisely because the market doesn’t work for that industry!”

On a side note, I finally just got a copy of Digital Crossroads. Maybe I can make some sense out of all the regulations so I can finally explain to people how and why the telecom industry is so screwed up.

PR December 20, 2005 at 7:21 am

zuzu, thanks for the link. I’ve read a little about public choice theory before and it has definitely influenced my thinking. Even if someone won’t fully accept the premises of libertarianism, public choice turns the statists’ own arguments against them, to devastating effect I think. I made some public choice-based arguments in the slashdot thread, but got no serious reasoned response (which could be because I posted anonymously. oh well).

Paul D December 21, 2005 at 7:02 am

I frequently enjoy Dada’s Slashdot posts, and even have him on my friends list there (so I can notice his comments more easily).

A.B. Dada December 21, 2005 at 11:25 am

Thanks, Paul D.

I’m glad that slashdot has gained a number of freedom-loving moderators. Over the years I’ve gone from troll to insightful without really changing my views.

Slashdot has also helped me fix flaws in my arguments for freedom, and also gave me new insight in how to argue the case for freedom. I’m far from winning each argument, but it took Rothbard decades to perfect his ways. With the hundreds of thousands of readers slashdot gets every day, it is just one way I can further the cause at very little cost to myself or my family.

The most amazing thing is how many freedom-lovers on slashdot don’t comment or moderate, but e-mail me with their agreements (and disagreements). Nothing bad can be said about the kids who still look to socialism, except that a few hundred socialists over the years have changed their view based on the liberty-lovers of the slashdot forum/blog.

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