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Debasing Free Speech as No-Cost Speech -- Part 1 Defending First Principles Series
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2012-11-19 20:42
The genuine U.S. Constitutional principle of "Freedom of Speech" in the First Amendment -- that protects us from the real and time-tested threat of governmental tyranny -- continues to get debased, devalued and misrepresented by the free-of-cost tech movement of Free-Culture, the Free-Software Foundation, Public Knowledge, and their corporate online-advertising allies who commercially-depend on free content and the no-cost sharing of others' private property. They justify their means of debasing, devaluing and misrepresenting Constitutionally-protected freedom speech because it advances their ends of an Internet information commons.
Ironically these freedom-from-cost interests just argued against a Constitutional interpretation of protecting freedom of speech in a brief before a Federal Appeals Court in opposing Verizon's challenge to the FCC's Open Internet Order, because Verizon had the temerity to assert its Constitutional right to freedom of speech, in addition to other legal and Constitutional defenses.
I believe they have made a strategic mistake here in making obviously political arguments to a Federal Appeals court that effectively trample on the legal authority of the Constitution and the concept of the real Bill of Rights.
The proof that their construct of freedom of speech is self-serving, contrived and not based on Constitutional principles and precedents, is that when Google effectively argued that it had a freedom of speech right of protection from antitrust enforcement, none of the free-of-cost allies of Google made a peep in opposition to this company asserting its Constitutional right to freedom of speech.
This isn't the first time the free-of-cost-tech movement has debased, devalued and misrepresented the concept of freedom of speech. In defeating anti-piracy legislation (SOPA and PIPA), the free-of-cost-tech movement claimed that preventing rampant online theft of propertied Internet content was censorship of people's freedom of speech.
At bottom, the problem the free-of-cost-tech movement has is that they are trying to transmogrify the U.S. Constitutional concept of protecting individuals' freedom of speech from government tyranny into an imagined system where only some corporations, which are in the business of seamlessly enabling people to communicate, are censors and threats to freedom of speech which require preemptive government regulation to prevent.
This has happened because the free-of-cost-tech movement does not seek traditional citizen freedom from government tyranny, they seek the government to protect their unjustified expectation that all digital content, software, and bandwidth should have no cost to them.
Simply, they have turned the cherished principle of freedom of speech inside out, and perverted it from a real and recognizable "freedom," into a self-serving, anti-commercial and anti-property political agenda.