The FCC, net neutrality, prudential judgment, the death penalty, and Luke 16:10-12

The FCC, net neutrality, prudential judgment, the death penalty, and Luke 16:10-12 March 16, 2015

Permit me some wide-ranging musings, beginning with the relatively (in the cosmic scheme of salvation) small potatoes question of net neutrality.

Let’s be clear. Net neutrality is a good thing:

It is, in a word, what we’ve always had. The only people who opposed it were people bent on making your life and mine miserable for the sake of profit. So when the FCC, to almost everybody’s intense relief, did the right thing and upheld net neutrality what was the reaction of the rightwingosphere that perpetually declares “prudential judgment” as its rationale for dissenting from clear Church teaching on everything from war to torture to the death penalty?

Well, Sen. Ted Cruz made good on the dollarpalooza of money he received from telecom lobbyists by lying that net neutrality is “Obamacare for the Internet“.

Thing is: It’s just not. But that did not stop the rightwingosphere from dutifully stampeding itself into a full-on panic du jour on net neutrality, repeating the “Obamacare for the Internet” trope 87,700 times and once again coming down on the visible-from-space wrong side of an issue while terrifying the very people who are going to benefit from this obviously right decision. Suddenly, everybody in the rightwingosphere was fantasizing that the effect of this decision was not (as it is) to maintain the status quo, but that it somehow meant that the FCC was going to police our speech and throw us into one of Obama’s Nazi Muslim concentration camps. You know, the same FCC that had FOX News, Rush Limbaugh, and every talk radio host rounded up and gassed years ago.

Tom McDonald (who differs with me in that he is more concerned about how the FCC sausage was made than I am, but not in seeing that the sausage still tastes good and is quite edible) mentions the absurd hysteria in his piece about the decision:

Ars compiled this selection of replies from opponents, which is notably most for 1) wingnuttery, 2) lies, 3) idiocy.

Everything in this statement from US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is utter nonsense:

“Ironically, this order will likely do nothing to address the fairness issues raised by Democrats and Internet activists. Rather, under the guise of keeping the Internet ‘free and open’, they simply advocated for an approach that allows Big Brother to step into the shoes of service providers. The government will regulate rates, create its own fast lanes, control the placement of content, and raise fees and taxes. If you like your service plan, you will not be able to keep it. The age of ObamaNet is upon us and I hope the government proves better at running a network than a website, but logic would seem to dictate that I not hold my breath.”

In fact, of course, all this obviously good decision does is make sure that we will continue to enjoy the amazing power of the internet without companies like Comcast ruining life for everybody but themselves and the corrupt politicians they have in their pockets. Could there be a downside to it? Sure. There is a downside to almost every human act. Tom McDonald makes a reasonable case for why some people might have misgivings that I can respect.   But the thing is, not many FCC critics make Tom’s reasonable case. Most make the hysterical lying demagogic case Tom rightly rejects.

More than that, I’m just not feeling the downside all that much which is why, with respect, I disagree with my honored Patheosi colleague Tom that there was something especially problematic with FCC procedure here.  It seems to have been conducted like any other with one exception: there was vastly *more* input from the public than usual.  And hurrah for that since, as far as human reason can ascertain, the downside of the FCC protection of net neutrality is so negligible that this easily qualifies as a good call and exactly what an informed public wanted. Meanwhile the downside to believing the documentably stupid lies of people like Cruz, Blackburn and the kooks, crooks, and liars Tom rightly ridicules would be disaster and nothing but disaster for the very suckers who are regurgitating their propaganda. And it is they, make not mistake, and not people like Tom whose voices completely dominate the rightwingosphere response to the FCC ruling.

Why do I mention this?  What does it have to do with the Catholic faith?

This:  Every time I hear a conservative Catholic argue to ignore the teaching of the Church, the appeal is made to “prudential judgment” as the rationale for doing so.

All that might be reasonable–if the demographic who perpetually appealed to their superior powers of prudential judgment over the teaching of the Church demonstrated the prudence God gave geese.  But the reality is that this demographic demonstrates, in almost every matter apart from opposition to abortion, euthanasia, and gay “marriage”, an almost preternatural capacity for sheer obvious wrongness and an eagerness to listen to demagogues and not reasoned discourse.  The same keen discernment that sees net neutrality as the prelude to tyranny

It’s this sort of thing, piled up a hundredfold over the past decade, that has completely killed my ability to take seriously conservative claims to a prudential judgment superior to the guidance of the Church on the death penalty, particularly when, with now-trademark lack of judgment, that demographic appeals to Conservative Folk Hero Antonin Scalia as the trump card against the Magisterium–a man who says that executing the innocent is constitutional.  Yesirree, if there’s one thing Roe v. Wade means, it’s that killing innocents is perfectly fine as long as it’s legal.

Jesus says: “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” (Lk 16:10–12).

The Left is epically wrong on some very large issues and lies that it is appealing to “primacy of conscience” to rationalize those evil it approves.  But the Right, flying the false banner of “prudential judgment” has perversely taken it upon itself to be massively and imprudently wrong on what sometimes seems like practically everything else.  Meanwhile, the sanity of the Church calls to us saying:

We are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will live in them and move among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
Therefore come out from them,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch nothing unclean;
then I will welcome you,
And I will be a father to you,
and you shall be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God. (2 Co 6:16–7:1)

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  • Dave G.

    I have to say this. A little rambling on my part. I’ve come to see that the more time I spend on the Internet, the less it looks like the world I notice when I walk down the street or go to work or go to church. I used to say that about Cable News, talk radio, and old daytime talk shows. Same goes for Comedy Central. I find the good thing about the Faith is that it tends to avoid the notion that everyone and everything is best herded into prefabricated media categories. Whether left or right, white or black, male or female, my experience with people in the world looks less and less like what I read on blogs and see discussed on so many areas of the internet. Perhaps it’s inevitable that things end up that way. But it might be worth considering that this is something where we need to reorganize our thinking based on a more Faith driven assessment of people and issues, rather than a media driven one, no matter how popular the latter might be. I say this because I know so few people who consider themselves conservative who share more than a couple similarities to the above, likewise I’ve met self proclaimed progressives who are quite against abortion, and don’t even seem to think homosexual acts are all that normal for humans to engage in. I hear non-whites at work railing against illegal immigration. And when I think of the racism or antisemitism I heard in my college days, most were quite clear they were Democrats, trashed Reagan, and were pro-choice and to the Left. And not all were even white! Based on the media narrative, you’d never know it. And yet the Church seems to get it. Just my two cents.

    • freddy

      Yes, yes, like!

  • JM1001

    While I am sympathetic to the pro-Net Neutrality side, it’s important to understand what created this entire problem in the first place — a lack of competition, and the physical limitations of the infrastructure that delivers content to your home.

  • James Isabella

    I find it hard to believe that with the number of people in this country who claim to be Catholic that there isn’t some way for Catholics of both parties to bridge the polical gap and come to some kind of rapprochement.

    Instead, politics has invaded church life and now every parish group is either “Liberal” or “Conservative”. Unfortunately, it seems “politics” has sucked the “Catholic” out of most Catholics.

    It looks like I now have an option between voting for a party that wants to give welfare without accountability and a party that wants to remove welfare altogether.

    • Dave G.

      politics has invaded everything. Sports. Religion. Schools. Hobbies. Baking contests. You name it. Having convinced us that we need to banish religion to the closets, we’ve replaced its part in society with politics. That’s why I’m trying – real hard trying – to avoid the idea that God created the Red State and the Blue State. I still watch and read the news, but I’m trying to avoid the game that seems to be taking us nowhere good.

    • Joe

      I’m often fond of saying that Catholics don’t exist anymore–they all became Democrats and Republicans.

    • Sue Korlan

      I prefer to think of it as a party that wants people to have the right to kill others they think are inconvenient versus a party that wants the right to deny the necessities of life to those they consider inconvenient so that the inconvenient die. A difference without a distinction.

  • Anne Hanssen

    You forgot to add that they defended Amy Welborn against her critics.

    • Dave G.

      I don’t think this was a comprehensive analysis of conservatives.

  • ManyMoreSpices

    I reject the idea that “Net Neutrality” is a good idea. It certainly isn’t the how-could-anyone-not-getting-a-check-from-Comcast-oppose-it? good that Mark’s presenting it as. Reasonable people can disagree on this, but I suggest that if you have difficulty seeing a downside to it, then you’re in the “what could it hurt?” phase of history, with the “how were we supposed to know?” phase down the road, particularly given that the internet has always been unpredictable.

    This is a property dispute. One set of soulless and possibly evil corporations (Netflix, Google) doesn’t want to pay to run their data through the wires and computers owned by another set of soulless and possibly evil corporations (Comcast, Verizon). There aren’t any angels and devils here. This isn’t Sweetness & Light vs. Rapacious Capitalists. It’s two sets of equally rapacious capitalists duking it out. So if your frame of reference in this debate is to see a Manichean fight between Comcast (bad!) and Netflix (good!), then you’ve got the issues all wrong from the get-go. Netflix is as greedy for your dollar as Comcast is.

    Netflix takes up a lot of bandwidth. Pumping data to your house isn’t free. Comcast has to upgrade its lines to get it to you. They can either charge you for those upgrades, or charge Netflix. The government has now ruled that Comcast can’t charge Netflix, so those costs will be passed along to you. Of course, they’d be passed along to you either way. If Netflix gets stuck with the bill, they’ll raise your subscription fee. For that reason, at the end of the day, I can’t get that worked up over NN. What does irritate me, though, is the persistent belief that Free Lunch exists. Nullum gratuitum prandium, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.

    As for Tom McDonald, his most glaring error is when he says: “The providers are functional monopolies for most consumers. The market alone cannot ensure the open internet. Anyone saying it can is engaging in a kind of quasi-religious free market fundamentalism, not rational thought.” Putting the free-market/libertarian issue aside, we already have a Federal Trade Commission and an Antitrust Division within the Department of Justice. If Comcast and Verizon are behaving like monopolists, the federal government has always had the tools to stop it. Yet… they haven’t, because for now at least, the “monopoly” allegation is a myth. It makes not a bit of difference that the internet is newfangled or different. The FTC/DOJ handled Microsoft and its monopolistic behavior with respect to Netscape, and that technology (web browsers) was relatively newer than broadband internet is today.

    The link to The Oatmeal proves pretty much the opposite of what Mark thinks it does. Yes, Verizon throttled Netflix’s traffic. Then Netflix paid up, and Verizon un-throttled it. Note that no government decree was necessary. Two soulless and possibly evil corporations got in a dispute over the use of one corporation’s network to carry the other’s traffic, and they resolved it. The Oatmeal proves not that NN is necessary, but that it’s unnecessary. But hey, disagree with me on this if you want. It’s a debatable point within the realm of politics. There isn’t a Correct Catholic Answer here.

    My reference to The Oatmeal allows me to transition to my procedural thought. The Oatmeal is run by Matthew Inman, a left-wing atheist. Like every other human, this left-wing atheist sometimes says (very) smart things and other times he says (very) dumb things. His offerings about religion are as hyperbolic, underinformed, and dumb as you would expect. Similarly, the Daily Show and DailyKos – which Mark references to show right-wingers behaving badly – are leftist outfits with their own mix of (very) smart/dumb things.

    Now, according to Mark we’re not supposed to listen to the voices on the right that oppose NN because they’ve said some very dumb things in the past. Yet for some reason, Mark doesn’t find The Oatmeal, the Daily Show, or DailyKos to be similarly ritualistically impure. With those, I gather that we’re supposed to engage with their arguments on the merits. Sure, they’ve been hyperbolic, wrong, and evil in the past, but they’re correct now. Right-wing sources get no such benefit.

    I have some theories about why this may be the case, but I can’t prove any of them. All I can say for certain is that there’s an inconsistent standard here. The left-wing sources that Mark cites aren’t discredited by their evil, while right-wing sources are. “Don’t listen to Bill O’Reilly, because he’s said dumb stuff about Christianity. Listen to The Oatmeal, which has also said dumb stuff about Christianity, but nevermind.”

    • entonces_99

      Reasonable people can disagree on this

      No. Reasonable people *can’t* disagree on this. Didn’t you read the original post? The FCC’s decision was “obviously good” and the only people opposing net neutrality “were people bent on making your life and mine miserable for the sake of profit.”

      • ManyMoreSpices

        Well, Mark kinda said both. He later moderated and said that he understood that there could be a downside, Then he said that he’s “just not feeling the downside all that much.” I submit that if your response to any position is that you’re “just not feeling it,” then you’ve done more *feeling* than *thinking*, and it’s time to do more of the latter before you act. You can call issuing sweeping new regulations keeping “what we’ve always had” if you want, but you’re still ripping out Chesterton’s Fence without knowing how it got there.

        • entonces_99

          Well, in fairness, I think Mr. Shea would argue that he’s calling for the preservation of Chesterton’s Fence. At least, that’s how I read his statement that net neutrality is “what we’ve always had.” Of course, the status quo, before the FCC’s rulemaking was not only a system in which ISPs treat all internet traffic alike, but was also a system in which ISPs were free to price their services as they chose. So there’s plenty of leeway to argue about what preserving Chesterton’s Fence really means.

          • ManyMoreSpices

            The idea that we’ve “always” had *anything* when talking about the internet is amusing, as if there’s an ancient and revered tradition of binge-watching Netflix. Ah, the halcyon days of yore, when our forefathers hewed high-definition televisions from mighty elm trees. and the entire clan (except for Ma, who died while birthing children 11 and 12) would binge-watch Tricorne Hat is the New Steeple Hat.

            The internet is constantly changing. ISPs didn’t always give you access to the whole internet – anybody remember AOL? If there’s any one feature of the internet that “we’ve always had,” it’s the federal government not regulating it like the phone and gas company.

        • AllenD

          Netflix is the ‘nice’ use case now. In the future, when your internet bill goes up because your neighbors binge watch the latest 3D UHD porn service, you can thank government regular.
          Too often the knee jerk reaction to anything ‘right wing’ on this site is appearing to be an almost religious faith in the state to do the common good.

      • Dave G.

        Obviously.

      • chezami

        Yes. The whole reason I compared and contrasted Tom McDonald with the lunatics was to say that there are no reasonable people expressing difficulties with net neutrality. Obviously. And the lunatics who declare this Obama’s takeover of the internet and anybody who has little problem with it a stooge of international communism are clearly the sober partners in this conversation. And none of that has anything to do with the long track record of other batshit crazy panics and hysterias in which the right now continually trades.

    • Stu

      This was solid. Great explanation of what is really going on way beyond the typical sloganeering on both sides. For further study, I recommend the following to all. Dated, but still good.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq_YD9r60XQ

      Tom Merritt hosts the DTNS podcast. Required listening for anyone who considers themselves tech-savvy.

    • HornOrSilk

      No it is an issue of how we are paying for speed, then despite it, Comcast will slow down what comes to us. Thus we will not be getting what we pay for.

      • Peggy

        That would be a breach of contract or service agreement if an ISP does not meet the stated speed to an end user or content provider. It should be operable today.

    • Sue Korlan

      There are plenty of companies that act like monopolists but aren’t prosecuted because the government can’t prove collusion. But when one of the major companies does something, such as the first airline charging for luggage, all the rest just seem to do something. But of course it’s not like they’re colluding to set prices; rather, the government can’t prove it.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        The government doesn’t need to prove collusion to go after monopolists. Microsoft colluded with no one when the government went after it for excluding competitors’ web browsers from its operating system.

        Breaking up cartels and stopping price-fixing is one thing that the government can do to stop anticompetitive behavior, but it’s not the only thing.

        As for the airlines, yes, they’ve engaged in price-fixing and other subtle collusive behavior. But if you don’t want to pay a bag fee, try Southwest or JetBlue.

        • Peggy

          Karen,

          Yes. Monopolies don’t collude. They’re the only game in town. That’s why we regulate them, as no competitor exists to keep them in check. I was very active in trade association meetings where we discussed dealing w/regulatory and legislative issues for our industry. There were some topics we had to avoid so as not to provide any basis or suspicion of collusion. The Govt has to show you all met in a room, exchanged emails or phone calls, etc., and prove through content that collusion occurred. In oligopoly markets, the leader is often followed. His moves are seen by competitors. The airlines are just trying to find ways to cover these new costs from the feds, without raising air fare directly.

  • Peggy

    You have demonstrated over several years now that you do not know much about economics. I don’t beleive you have any background in telecom networks either. I do. Net neutrality is a bad idea for free speech, religious freedom and economic freedom. it is bad public policy.

    You are in over your head on a variety of policy matters, including net neutrality. The bishops are incorrect on this issue as well.

    Use your prudential judgment wisely.

    • Peggy

      argh: “believe”

    • Mike Petrik

      You will always be my shero, Peggy. Bless you for your patience.

      • Peggy

        Merci. It perhaps is my foolishness for not removing this page from my bookmarks.

        I hope I don’t have to add for Shea’s benefit that I don’t engage in the tasteless wacky stuff such as what he enumerated. There are nuts of every variety on the web. It’s easy to find any kind of indecency you want to prove your point. And there are legitimate policy and other morally or intellectually defensible reasons for various views expressed on the web. But don’t bother with that. Broadbrush accusations are much more fun to assert.

        • Mike Petrik

          Agreed on all counts, Peggy. For the record I have no opinion at all on net neutrality. I study issues carefully before a form an opinion. Apparently you and I are funny that way.

          • Peggy

            Cray, cray, aren’t we?

            [cultural note: apparently the kids are now saying “cray, cray” for “that’s crazy”. it pays to have kids in the house…sometimes!]

            • Mike Petrik

              Grandchild number 1 due in August!! I’ll be back in the know soon!

              • Peggy

                Wow! How exciting! Prayers for good health of mother and baby. Congrats!

    • chezami

      I use it as best I can. One of the things it has taught me over the past decade is to always distrust it when Movement conservatives are strongly for or against something because their judgment is typically horrendously bad on such occasions.

      • Peggy

        You can rely on the average angry joe on the web or you can explore what experts (whether by academic credentials or through professional experience) say, or you can do both.

        I know you are bitter re: your experiences w/the W Bush White House. And some people are indeed bad actors on all sides of the political spectrum. Got that. But, that doesn’t mean that any or all policy positions on the Right lack merit. I think I have said here before that the Right is where you’ll find diversity of opinion and interesting intellectual engagement on policy matters, unlike with the rigid lockstep Left. Check it out and make up your mind afterward.

    • HornOrSilk

      How is equal access bad for free speech? This is idiotic.

      • Peggy

        So, you’re not into the First Amendment? Who do you want to decide what we can say and what we can’t? Do you think this blog will last?

        Public utility regulation is of a different class and clunky and retrograde. Title I regulation cannot keep up with technological changes and new market entry. Public utility regulation is for monopoly entities as well. That is not the case for internet access either at the consumer end or the content end.

        • Peggy

          I mean Title II Pub Util Reg.

  • Sue Korlan

    I think you are extremely frustrated by people who claim to be reasonable but who are on the obvious wrong side of many issues. I consider myself reasonable and I agree with you on this (I’m one of the people who wrote the FCC in favor of what they decided to do).I don’t understand why this issue is so hard to understand. You can’t change the speed of Internet connections based on the amount the customers pay. Like your phone call speed doesn’t change due to the amount you’re willing to pay.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      Can I assume you’re trolling?

      • Sue Korlan

        No. I was shocked by Mark’s tone and the huge list of idiocies in his article. He sounds extremely frustrated. I often have trouble believing that people believe all the things he says they do, and then people come along and demonstrate that he knows what he’s talking about.

        • ManyMoreSpices

          My aunt mostly uses the internet to send me email forwards. My parents stream videos on Netflix and Amazon Prime nightly. I watch an hour of two of streaming video a week, and spend the rest of my time reading news websites and doing text-based work.

          You contend that all three of us should pay the same price and have the same connection speed to the internet?

          • etme

            yes.

  • Stu

    Applying Title II to the Internet, a set of provisions that have their origin in the railroad and were adopted for phone services, will eventually get you a situation that resembles the current landscape for phone providers. Wrong tool that will only benefit entrenched Big Business entities already in place.

    Like Obamacare, it’s another Big Government hookup for Big Business.

    Rinse and repeat.

  • Karen

    I’m sorry, I completely mistook this for a Catholic blog. But apparently there is absolutely no one on the planet who is free from the sins for which you so readily judge people unmercifully and ruthlessly. I did not know God had promoted you as his right hand man; I really thought that position was held by Jesus Christ. Wow! Remind me to never commit a sin that you will find out about, although on the other hand, most saints suffered humiliation for the sake of our Lord. So heap it on me if you feel so inclined. I will offer it to Our Lord for the sake of my soul and thank you in the process! Have a good day, brother Catholic.

    • chezami

      Is it the Feast of the ASCII Martyrs already? How time flies! I particularly love the juxtaposition of self pity with the fact that I’m primarily critiquing the right’s easy calls for the death penalty. It’s of a piece with the hilarity of a decade-long campaign to justify torture that was punctuated with howls of pain for the “meanness” of torture critics. Amazing.

      • Karen

        Your welcome!!

      • HornOrSilk

        Got to love the judgment aimed at you in all of that, however.

        • chezami

          I suck.

          • prairiebunny

            I agree.

  • Wow, “conservative Catholics” all walk in lockstep with these issues? Really?

    • chezami

      No. Next question.

  • Na

    Politics grows out of philosophy. The unifying philosophical principle at the core of liberalism is to affirm the will of each person. Not the dignity. This philosophy can be dressed up to seem to care about the dignity of each person. But when push comes to shove, the master of the house claims his rewards and the echo is always the same “you will be like gods, naming good and evil” and the more up to date…”What is truth?”.

  • jeannebodine

    Got lithium?

  • Pondering

    Somebody help me here. Wouldn’t net neutrality actually be AGAINST Catholic teaching in that it is essentially a form of theft that disallows a free exchange between private companies and private individuals? I.e., does it not use the force of the government to tell private companies how they can and cannot distribute and price their own private property (bandwidth)? I am not being sarcastic, I seriously do not get how this jibes with the Church’s teaching. Nobody is starving or being denied medical care as a result of a private company offering a premium speed option on the internet. In fact, a great case could be made that by providers receiving a premium for a better product they will provide more of it and everyone will benefit (which is what seems to have been occurring on its own without net neutrality). On the other hand, if the ISP’s are not living up to the contract they have signed for providing a certain speed then I would imagine that is something one could sue over?

    • HornOrSilk

      No. How is it “theft” to say you treat people equally? Seriously, everything is theft, envy, etc with a certain class of people. Says everything.

      St. Lazarus, the apparent thief, pray for us.

      • Peggy

        I won’t argue the “theft” claims as regards Catholic teaching. I don’t know that I agree with that approach.

        Equality, however, is often misunderstood and idealized. Equality also means no one can be better or have more than the others. Why can’t Netflix pay more for faster service that enhances its products? If the ISP does not live up to that speed, then there’s a contract dispute that can be resolved by litigation/negotiation. In the Lefty world, we see that “equality” means two men and two women are equal to a man-woman union. It means that EVERY employer should cover contraceptives regardless of religion.

        In economics/law, used in telecom reg, we talk about customers being “similarly situated” in order to determine whether there is UNJUST discrimination. We can treat different people/firms differently if they are not similarly situated (don’t want same service, don’t cause same cost, etc). Customers benefit from price discrimination so they can get a product at a price according to their needs. Not all discrimination is bad.

    • Pondering

      Thanks all. So if the government forcing one entity to price and distribute its products according to its will is not a form of property theft in the spirit of the 7th commandment, then is it a sin at all? It just seems wrong to me. Also, for those such as “HornOrSilk”, is it not envious or covetous to demand the property of someone else when one cannot afford it on his own? In the spirit of Jarrod’s point, if I see someone driving a nicer car than me because they can afford it and then I demand the government to force the manufacturer of the car to only sell one type of car for all customers so we are equal, is that not me being covetous of my neighbor’s’ goods? Should I not simply be happy for my neighbor and, should I desire the same goods, strive to work to obtain them on my own accord? Are these legitimate analogies to use for net neutrality?

      • Sue Korlan

        Pondering: No, it’s not like forcing manufacturers to sell only one kind of car; it’s like forcing the roads to allow all the cars to drive the same speed limit without having to pay a premium to have permission to drive fast. And that’s not envy, it’s justice.

        • Pondering

          OK I can get this analogy too, but then I have to think, so what if somebody wants to make a private road for cars to go faster and charge people extra to use it? The internet is not a government “road” is it? (I don’t think it is but I could be wrong and, if so, please correct me as it is an important distinction!) You could also make this analogy with trains. I have read recently about entrepreneurs looking at creating a vacuum tube train that can travel at extremely high speeds over popular routes. I imagine that if this train becomes a reality a ticket will cost more than an old Amtrak train over the same route. Is that bad? What if the government decides that not everyone can afford this new privately-made, high-speed train and therefore everyone has to pay the same no matter which train they take and that the new vacuum train cannot go any faster than the old Amtrak just to be fair and equal. I think that is unjust, no? What am I missing? Plus I feel government intervention would stifle innovation since entrepreneurs would be afraid to invest money if they had to worry the government could come along and remove their profit motive on a whim.