“Net Neutrality” is Obamacare for the Internet;”
-Senator Ted Cruz, noted technologist
I know he’s received a lot of stick for it, but Ted Cruz’ already-infamous tweet about Net Neutrality is actually remarkably on point. How so? Glad you asked!
Like Obamacare, Net Neutrality is a timid step in the right direction. Obamacare is merely the first cautious step on the road to a single-payer system that will finally bring America’s health care system up to something resembling a “first world”* system.Similarly, Net Neutrality laws are just the first move towards nationalizing the internet.
The U.S. currently suffers from extremely slow and expensive internet access because it is regarded as a part of the private sector despite the fact that it was developed by the public sector and the backbone is still primarily publicly owned. Additionally, networking is extremely similar to water and electricity in that there’s no reason to run more than one connection to each location. Because of this, internet service does not, and never has, operated like a competitive market. It’s always been a utility; we’ve just been pretending otherwise.
Net Neutrality will reduce the price gouging that is currently a feature of the American system, but to truly fix it, the best answer is to simply provide it as a service that is paid for by tax dollars, just like a single-payer health care system. Problem solved!
Now, I suppose that it’s possible to read Cruz’ tweet as a condemnation of Net Neutrality and a defense of government protection of a company’s right to use public resources to gouge their customers. By all accounts, Ted Cruz is not a stupid man and he would have to be profoundly stupid to espouse that view. Surely he wouldn’t...
EDIT: Please raise your hand if you saw this one coming. I expect to see a lot of hands.
* “First world” and “third world” don’t mean what you probably think they do. “First world” originally meant “aligned with the U.S. and N.A.T.O.” “Second world” referred to the communist bloc. “Third world” meant “any country not aligned with the first two.”