Strange Bedfellows

When the Christian Coalition and MoveOn team up, it’s bound to be bad. The two special interest groups announced their unlikely marriage via an ad in Friday’s New York Times.

What issue has these strange bedfellows embracing one another? Environmental stewardship? The war in Iraq? Mounting violations of personal freedom under the guise of fighting terror?


Internet speed.

A little-known law, nicknamed “Net Neutrality”, prevents large Internet service providers “from deciding which Web sites open easily on your computer”, the ad explains. Some ISPs are seeking to restore a mite of freedom to the market by having this interventionist law repealed.

“[W]hat’s at stake,” according to the ad, is the potential for “some music provider that AT&T owns moving quickly while iTunes downloads at a snail’s pace”.

Do they really find this specter so haunting that it warrents federal intrusion?

Further down, in rhetoric that is crystal clear if not soul-stirring, the partners-in-whining reveal the real reason for their shared concern: “As organizations dependent on a free Internet to speak with our members and the world, we adamantly oppose the elimination of Net Neutrality.”

But Internet access isn’t free. The technology that it requires costs money. That’s why consumers enter voluntary arrangements with ISPs to obtain Web access under mutually agreeable terms.

But the Christian Coalition and MoveOn don’t want Americans to negotiate like adults in a free society. They want to dictate the terms of the deal between you and your ISP.

So they’re appealing to their higher power of first resort–Congress–to intervene in the marketplace.

What unites these special interet groups is their common quest for government to protect them from your freedom.

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1 thought on “Strange Bedfellows

  1. While I understand the infrastructure of the net takes money to maintain and support, why should a cable/inet provider get to negotiate on my behalf the sites I can access quickly and what sites I cannot?

    The music download example you state is very germane to the discussion as Apple is now the largest provider of music in the US. What would stop a Verizon or Comcast from negotiating a deal with Wal-Mart to provide “Tier 1” access to speed across their network, while relegating Apple to “Tier 2 or 3” because they do not pay as much or more than Wal-Mart? As I refuse to buy from Wal-Mart, and I have no issue with Apple, this then places me at a disadvantage and forces me to possibly pay even more for crappy service just so I can access what I want.

    If we had ubiquitous free access, then yes, the companies would need to, and have a right to, recoup their costs. However I pay for my access already. Why should Google have to pay for it again?

    HERE is the real funny part. I would be willing to pay more for BETTER service than I currently have. I think a large number of Americans would probably agree.

    Let the free market decide what is best, but do not impede my access on a service I am paying for myself.

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