Al Franken has just released another video regarding his take on net neutrality, which he has dramatically called “the First Amendment issue of our time.” This may or may not be true, but the trust proponents of net neutrality are placing in government to ensure that corporations do not dominate the internet is completely unmerited.
There are two models for government action at work here. The first one is endorsed by supporters of net neutrality legislation and those who employ a general progressive mindset:
- Corporations in our free markets do bad things in an attempt to dominate the marketplace.
- Government, as the neutral and just voice of the people, steps up to correct such market abuses.
By thinking in terms of government vs. the market/corporations, advocates of the aforementioned outlook obscure the fact that not only are both the state and the major corporations controlled by the elite, but both groups actively and substantially shield themselves against the privilege-abolishing powers of the market, as it would halt their shenanigans.
Those of this paradigm also miss the premise that the government is a corporation, and the worst kind of all, because it benefits from an extreme amount of protectionism. It is, in fact, the coercively monopolistic corporation which “provides” us our defense and justice services, often against our will.
A more accurate model of government action is the dialectical relationship described below. This is not specific to the internet whatsoever, but occurs in countless areas of politics. It goes like this:
- Corporations do something bad, usually as the result of special anti-market privileges awarded to them by the government.
- The self-interested politicians and bureaucrats, pretending to be benevolent and there to fix the corruption of the previous officeholder/opposite party, swoops onto the scene to “fix” the unjust privileges given to the preferred group and then proposes a new law, which subsequently gives them more funding and more power over our lives.
- Repeat until population is completely subservient.
As someone who opposes the corporate domination of society, the last thing I want is a bunch of cigar-chomping fat cats squashing my access to alternative media content, considering I create a small nugget of it professionally. I empathize with the ends that proponents of net neutrality seek. However, corporations clearly own the American state, so trying to get the government to pass a law against their own interests in the halls of their stooges is pure madness.
Passing an “anti-corporate law” through the American Congress is exactly the type of game our rulers want us to play. Virtually every law Congress passes entrenches special interests through more regulation, which creates barriers to entry for new entrepreneurs and concentrates power and wealth in the hands of the elite at the expense of the average person.
Net neutrality is but a band-aid on the elbow of a sick statist society. It addresses the symptoms but not the causes of our woes. If we want to oust our corporate rulers, it is not going to come from the halls of their Congress, but from the abolition of that infected mercantilist tentacle. The creativity and productivity which would be liberated with the abolition of the state would crush the one-size-fits-all bureaucratic ideal of corporate political economy.
Even if we concede that the internet is at this moment largely monopolistic, there is no better way to break a monopoly than to allow unbridled competition. I’d take my chances with competition over the odds that a law will make it through Congress that doesn’t solidify the elite’s stranglehold on the American people. The smart money says the state isn’t here to protect us from the corporations, but to expose us to their predations.