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Net neutrality is an online fundraising ploy masequerading as public policy

I launched the debate this morning at the NVTC forum on Net Neutrality with the following comment: "Net neutrality is an online fundraising ploy masequerading as public policy." It certainly focused the debate on the real reason why this issue has become so big so quickly. I pointed out that on substance it was a bogus issue. No substantiated problem or consumer harm and that all the substantive assertions made by net neutrality proponents have proven false. When the substance was so weak and the threat only theoretical, there had to be more going on.

I focused on the dirty little secret that partially-motivated many net neutrality proponents --which is how super-productive it is for groups that want to raise money online to scare people that there are boogymen that want to take the Internet away from them. Net neutrality has clearly become one of the most efficient ways to "shake the money tree."  

  • Predictably, Ben Scott of Free Press was indignant that anyone could say that they have any other motives than pure policy altruism. 
    • Well I am saying it. All the consumer and related public interest groups do have a powerful self interest to encourage their members to be worried about the Internet so they will donate money to their cause or organization.
    • To imply that all consumer and public interest groups are unique that they don't have a constituency to satisfy for their funding is naive at best.
  • In no way am I saying that these groups don't also believe what they are saying. I will grant that most do. What I am unwilling to do is to say that just because an organization is consumer oriented or public interest oriented that they don't have human or self preservation/promotion "special" interests behind their net neutrality position.

On another subject, Ben Scott offered a new term -- a "well-regulated industry" as a defense for why regulation can be "good."

  • I pointed out that "well-regulated" was an oxymoron.