You are here

"Net Neutrality freedom" is an oxymoron; the cynical deceptiveness of net neutrality language

Net neutrality proponents have embraced the buzzword "freedom," I guess its because they think it is more appealing and "politically correct" than representing net neutrality for what it truly is about -- mandated egalitarianism and forced equality.

I find the use of the word freedom in this context cynical and highly deceptive. "Net neutrality freedom" is really an oxymoron! Net neutrality is all about permanently and preemptively taking away the freedoms of people and companies that have not done anything wrong, based on feared outcomes and harms that cannot be substantiated. 

Defining "freedom" like this  is straight out of George Orwell's 1984. The dictionary definition of "freedom" is opposite to how the net neutrality proponents use it. Please click on the link and look at the American Heritage definitions. These definitions don't square with net neutrality. This "1984" doublespeak depends on convincing people that all broadband providers are guilty until proven innocent, and in order to protect the "freedom" of the citizenry, we must preemptively and without due process incarcerate boradband providers before they can possibly cause harm -- despite any evidence to the contrary.

Please indulge me a relevant digression here to put my views into context. Twenty five years ago, I learned a lot from my wonderful graduate school professor, the famous Barbara Jordan, at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. I remember being the lone republicans in a class of 15 democratic students. I fondly remember Professor Jordan's high integrity in protecting my freedom to argue a very different point of view than the rest of my classmates.

In her class "Political Values and Ethics" we learned that there are two cherished American political values: freedom and equality. What I also learned that most of politics is a clash between those values. At the core, the difference between Republicans and Democrats is which of the two values they put above the other when they clash -- which they often do. If a trade-off is required, Republicans favor freedom over equality, where Democrats favor equality over freedom.

Net neutrality is a classic clash between the cherished American values of freedom and equality. What offends me is when net neutrality proponents try and diminish the cherished value of freedom by deceptively trying to re-define it as synonomous with equality; it is not. Freedom and equality are both important, but they are not the same. Our nation faces great peril if Americans ever forget the fundamental difference between freedom and equality and the importance of balancing them. 

Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths