2-20-15 – Net Neutrality; Is it Really about “Neutrality?” 

by Kyle O’Grady

On February 6th, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler proposed a 332 page long compilation of laws concerning Net Neutrality, which was supported by President Obama. Those in favor of Net Neutrality shrieked with joy, while those in favor of limited government cringed.

The only people who seem to be talking about Net Neutrality as of late seem to be the people who support it. After all, who wouldn’t be in favor of something affixed with the term “neutrality?” If you are against Net Neutrality, does this imply that you retain a fundamental opposition to the principal of neutrality? Who wouldn’t favor an “open internet,” or as it’s often been coined, “internet freedom?” But despite these buzz-terms, and the seemingly overwhelming amount of support for Net Neutrality, those who favor real freedom, should be very concerned with this new movement. The reason comes down to this; Net Neutrality means more government. And as anyone who understands the nature of government knows, more government means less freedom.

It’s no secret that the internet is one of the most powerful tools in the hands of the everyday citizen. As someone who is currently studying Digital Arts and Computer Science in college, the internet is something that is going to forever play a critical role in my life. It is for these reasons that the issue of Net Neutrality captured my attention. The basic principal of Net Neutrality is that service providers should not be allowed to charge different prices for different connection speeds, content, or platforms on the internet. This will supposedly create a more “open internet,” and champion the concept of “internet freedom.” On the surface, this sounds reasonable; Net Neutrality gives the notion that it is going to make everything, and everyone online, equal. However, this notion is completely and utterly false.

The term “Net Neutrality” is a falsehood in and of itself, because Net Neutrality hurts the consumer. Nobody likes Fairpoint, Comcast, Time-Warner, or the rest of the internet service providers, but does that mean that we should inject the government into the same industry? We are talking about the same government that spent over $300 million dollars to build a healthcare website that did not even work. And of course, we cannot forget that this is the same government that has been caught using the internet to illegally snoop on its citizens, blatantly violating their Fourth Amendment rights under the Constitution. Is this the same institution we want to be granting more power to in relation to the internet?

But don’t take my word on the matter; take the word of Ajit Pai, a commissioner of the FCC. As a commissioner, Pai is one of the few men explicitly authorized to read the proposed legislation:

“President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet. It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works. The plan explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes on broadband… These new taxes will mean higher prices for consumers and more hidden fees that they have to pay.”

Nothing about Pai’s comments suggest that the proposed legislation promotes “neutrality.” If anything, these new laws would debase neutrality, as they will reduce the potential for the free-market to render a solution in relation to the problem of inadequate internet service. If the government stays out of the issue, capitalism will prevail, and eventually a better, cheaper solution will emerge. I know this, because history has shown it to be true.

Right now, the debate about Net Neutrality is incredibly one-sided. Those in favor are making tremendous efforts to advance their cause, while those opposed remain silent. I’d like to end this silence. The internet is one of the most powerful resources at the disposal of the everyday citizen, and in the United States, it has remained relatively government free. Those who champion small government, need to recognize what “Net Neutrality” truly means for the country. If the government is granted even partial control over something as important as the internet, what’s going to stop them from further efforts to advance their jurisdiction? Nothing will. And that is why stopping the Net Neutrality movement is so important to the cause of liberty.

– Kyle O’Grady is a current freshman at Clarkson University. He resides in Jericho Vermont, and was a recent graduate of Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington. 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ralph M McGregor February 22, 2015 at 1:28 am

Thank you sir. I have heard the term net Neutrality bandied about for the last year or so and you have made sense out of it..Let us kill this baby before it is born !!


Brendan Snodgrasd February 22, 2015 at 1:26 pm

Nice Work…


Ivan Smith February 24, 2015 at 7:10 pm

What we have here is a Bull Sh#t premise, which implies that web neutrality is something that is to be yet to imposed. The truth is it is the way it is right now, and has been since the web was make in its present incarnation. Web neutrality is the status quo that internet service providers Like Comcast/Time Warner, Fair Point etc. wants to change with the goal of putting tolls by creating faster lanes on the information super highway. They will tell you that this is to improve their product, but the reality will be that will use the lack of the regulation to squeeze the most profit out of their “pipes”, and begin like they have done with Cable TV, charge more and more for services, while inhibiting competition. We have been seeing that recently with the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner. Net Neutrality is in a sense an antitrust mechanism for the web. It gives your meager web site the same footing as Fox News.
I also see the fear of government angle of this article, that falls with in the fanciful idea there is a “free market”, and the government has no roll, or should have no roll in developing things like the internet, and appropriately laying ground rules to serve the public as common resource, for that would only make things worse, in terms of service and value to the public. If you look around the country, and indeed around the world, you will find that to utterly not true. Examples: Chattanooga TN, Sweden, South Korea et. al. where the those governmental entities have forged faster and more accessible internet service for all their respective citizens proves you essentially wrong. In fact, as I write this in the Fair Haven Free Library in VT, I am using internet from a State wide network that was government funded and built. It is some of the fastest and most reliable internet I have ever used.


Ivan Smith February 25, 2015 at 11:11 pm

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