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TheStreet Open House

"Net Neutrality' Is Akin to Socialism

Stocks in this article: CMCSA T VZ

Someone has to say it. The debate surrounding so-called net neutrality proposed policies reminds me of a heavily Marxist-influenced student protest from 1968. It's all about keeping private property in name only, while regulating the product so that it can only be provided in a way defined by the government. In other words, it's a regulated utility which may just as well not be a private enterprise at all.

The "debate" regarding net neutrality is in fact no debate at all, reading 99% of the commentary on the matter. It's equivalent to the debate surrounding "rent control" in many cities, say 50 years ago. Just prohibit private property owners to run their businesses the way they want, and the consumer will benefit unequivocally and proportionately the argument goes. The government bureaucrat proposing to rob Peter and give the monies to Paul can always count on the support from Paul.

We all know what a brilliant idea rent control was. Indeed, applying the net neutrality principle to all of society, as it was ostensibly done in the Soviet Union, really catapulted the standard of living forward to new consumer friendly heights -- not.

So what is net neutrality? It's the idea that it will be illegal for anyone to purchase preferred access on broadband networks -- wired as well as wireless. All bits must be treated equally. No special privileges for anyone. A fine principle, taken straight out of Cambodia's "Killing Fields" and of every other socialist utopia attempted over the last 100 years or so.

Indeed, why limit the net neutrality legislation to broadband networks? Shouldn't all products and services in society benefit from the egalitarian principle of nobody being able to purchase a preferred service or product? Take an airline, for example. Let's establish an air neutral policy of prohibiting business class and the practice of charging people based on supply and demand for seats. Each airline seat will have a fixed price and there will be no multiple classes of service. Air neutrality will prevail in the same nirvana as on the net utopia envisioned by the Federal Communications Commission.

What are the most important products in society? Food, shelter and clothing. Without them, we would die relatively soon. We can manage without broadband, air travel, and even health care in many cases over an entire lifetime. Let's apply the net neutrality principle to food. Nobody should be able to buy "preferred" food of higher quality and better taste than anyone else. This dictates a government bureaucracy dispensing identical rations to all citizens. Think Mao's Chinese cultural revolution and great leap, and 50 million dead.

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