Libertarians Who Oppose/Support Net Neutrality Are NOT NECESSARILY Idiots and Stealth Statists
I have Libertarian and Anarchist friends that I have NO doubt always, ALWAYS favor less government. How much government do they favor? Always, ALWAYS LESS!
These friends of mine have an excellent track record for consistently expressing these values of ALWAYS LESS government.
Among this group, some of them have investigated pretty thoroughly the net neutrality debate. These friends of mine also have an excellent track record, at least with me, of demonstrating critical thinking, and of not claiming to know stuff they don’t know.
Among that group, I see wildy different takes about net neutrality. These folks know far more about the net neutrality issue than I do. They’ve read the actual rules and they’ve read a lot of the regs at local and state levels.
Yet, among this group, they STILL have come to very different conclusions, either pragmatically wishing net neutrality stays in place or pragmatically being happy to see net neutrality come to an end.
These folks have a LOT of standing with me. They understand the issue far better than I do. Had I seen an overwhelming trend one way or another, either for or against net neutrality, I would have tended to assume that it might be a good idea to follow their sentiments, unless I saw clear evidence that contradicted their conclusions.
But that didn’t happen. Instead, I see two pretty evenly divided camps among this group of friends that has good standing with me as people whose opinions, whose intelligence, and whose values I trust.
My efforts to look into net neutrality myself left me feeling almost as confused about the issue as when I started, which might be a lack of technical understanding that my friends I am referring to in this article seem to possess, at least more than I do.
As this article started out,, I have no doubt, none, nada, not even a sliver, that the friends I am referring to in this article want the same thing I want, the emergence of free association alternatives to coercive association forms of governance.
I have NO DOUBT that my friends in this group that ‘support’ net neutrality do so because they pragmatically believe, even if we are talking about government regulations, that this layer of regulation will actually ‘favor’ the spreading of that free association emergence, because it at least hampers the abuses (even if it doesn’t stop it entirely) of state-created ISP monopolies.
I have NO DOUBT that my friends in this group that ‘support’ ending net neutrality do so because they pragmatically believe that, even though the potential for state and local regulations to potentially hamper the flow of information on the internet, the mid and long term effect will favor the spreading of free association emergence.
Though some in this camp actually believe, and maybe they’re right (and maybe they’re wrong) that the choking of information, that the raising of prices by monopolistic ISPs protected by state and local regulations simply won’t happen.
Whether net neutrality is a good or bad thing, whether it would help the spreading of the emergence of free association alternatives, or hinder it, the power that individuals possess to affect the outcome, as far as the regulation continuing or ending, is minimal, if not, non-existent.
Yet I see the folks that fall within this libertarian/anarchist spectrum lobbing epithets at one another that imply the other ‘side’ is stupid, is uninformed, can only believe this position if they’ve never actually read the regulations, is secretly a statist, and, of course, the all-too-often repeated mantras of ‘if you support net neutrality, that means you support government regulations so you can’t be a real anarchist/libertarian’ and ‘if you are against net neutrality, then you support state-supported corporations and therefore can’t be a real anarchist/libertarian.’
I can assure you that the friends I am referring to HAVE read the regulations, ARE not stupid, ARE not uninformed, and are DEFINITELY not advocates of the state.
The fact that these friends of mine, being well-informed, highly intelligent, and highly principled, have come to different conclusions about net neutrality shows, to me, the real complexity of an issue with many moving parts, with all kinds of “opportunities” for the law of unintended consequences to produce radically different outcomes, outcomes that many intelligent, well-informed people could not possibly foresee.
This article, in the end, is not at all about whether you should be FOR or AGAINST net neutrality, it’s an appeal to my libertarian/anarchist friends to not belittle, demean and trash those who haven’t come to the same conclusion that you have, or to assume that the person who came to a different conclusion than you is some sort of stealth statist.
At the end of the day, what will happen through the state is little-controlled by people like us. What IS in our hands is the ability to build, even if in black markets, free association alternatives to the coercive-association-protected mechanisms for accessing the internet.
The folks that fall within the libertarian/anarchist spectrum need not invent reasons to sever ties with one another over yet another issue that folks like us (those in that spectrum) have little power over the coercive association to affect a change one way or another.
Time will tell who is right and who is wrong regarding the ending of net neutrality regulations. Regardless, I have little doubt that those of us who fall within the libertarian/anarchist camp will find solutions to work around the impediments that might potentially rise from ending net neutrality, and that, in the end, might be a good thing.
The folks who support net neutrality can still walk with you in the quest to spread the emergence of free association alternatives to coercive associations. The folks who support ending net neutrality can still walk with you in the quest to spread the emergence of free association alternatives to coercive associations.
Those of us who fall within the libertarian/anarchist spectrum pursue this shared goal, to always reduce the impact of coercive associations on individuals’ lives, never stopping, going as far as is possible towards reducing that affect on individuals’ lives. That will not change, with or without net neutrality. and even regardless of whether you supported or didn’t support the ending of the net neutrality regulations.