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Legislating envy? Read good Op Ed in Canada opposing Net neutrality

Hal Singer of Criterion Economics has a very good commentary today in Canada's Financial Post called "Not Neutrality."

Hal is a very clear thinker and anyone who quotes Milton Friedman in a supportive way is alright by me.

One passage of Hal's commentary really hits the nail on the head about how insidious net neutrality is:

  • "Although the idea has taken on many meanings, net neutrality is fundamentally about denying a voluntary exchange between two consenting parties for the sake of equal outcomes. The argument goes something like this: If my Web site cannot afford certain bells and whistles to make real-time applications run better, then my rivals should be prevented by law from purchasing those enhancements from any broadband service provider."

Hal is dead right. net neutrality is really about people who fear that others may get something better or an innovation that they don't.

  • Legislating envy is stupid.
  • It's particularly stupid when the people don't even want to know the price of the improvement or innovation before they want to deny it to others or even themselves.

What Hal has appropriately pointed out here is that net neutrality is about fearful people wanting to preemptively ban change that they are fearful may not be to their benefit -- and if they can't get the benefit -- others shouldn't be able to get the benefit.   

  • Is that progress? 
  • Net neutrality proponents often call themselves "progressives"? What does that mean? Is it just re-branding liberalism?

Thanks Hal. Net neutrality is a stupid and envy-driven idea.