“Think of the children!” said everyone who ever planned to strip humanity of its inalienable rights.
The reality of child pornography is abhorrent. The concept of child pornography may prove equally awful, insofar as it will likely push our nation’s decision makers further down the corporatized path we’re all traveling on, willingly or otherwise.
“Imagine all those CREEPS using their FREEDOM to do EVIL! Against children! Think of the CHILDREN!”
Apparently, humans are just terrible evil animals who must be curtailed and controlled (by people with lots of money, of course), lest we use our nasty, filthy, awful human agency to hurt one another. Thank god there’s a Media to tell us how to behave and a State to hurt us (worse than we hurt others) when we screw up.
It’s a weird assessment of the human condition, especially because it also couches a conflicting assumption about humans who happen to be younger than 18 (21? Emotional maturity happens later, hell, why not 26?) years of age.
I can’t wrap my mind around our species. How do we go from innocent, pure, sinless victim angel snowflake babies who need protection and control…to evil, tainted, sinful devil brimstone adults who STILL need protection and control?
Ah, yes, because it doesn’t really matter to Power what we think of ourselves at any age, so long as it means we’ll keep consenting to Power.
I don’t buy it. Someone asked me what floor I needed on the elevator today. And he pushed the button for me, without me even asking. Maybe I should assume he was just grooming me for a future con. Or maybe he was a virulent racist who didn’t want my filthy mongrel hand within two feet of his torso, especially not right after breakfast.
Or I could assume that we’re basically good creatures, so long as we’re actually interacting with one another in real life, face to face, where Power is at its weakest. If that’s the case, I predict we’d have the ability to connect with each other openly, freely, policing our own communities, moderating our own conversations, adding what we though was awesome and agreeing to ignore what we thought was awful.
Kinda like how the Internet works. Or worked. (I still suspect that Comcast fiddlery is the reason Netflix takes ten seconds after “100%” to load when I’m using my Xbox, and why I can’t HDMI-connect my laptop and keep a full-screen stream for more than 5 seconds without an agonizingly slow rebuffer, even though a window or an unplugged laptop display juuust fine…)
Anyway, net neutrality works in the same way and for the same reasons that intentional communities work. People agree that unchecked self-expression has some intrinsic value for the development of the whole group, and they tend to play nice. Sure, there will always be some criminals in the mix, people with weird brain chemistry or unfortunate trauma they hadn’t worked through, people who work through that stuff by doing terrible things to themselves (unfortunate, but fine) or other people (definitely not fine), but we wouldn’t build a whole system around the assumption that everyone works like that.
Some dogs are forced to fight for years, and then they’re basically broken dogs, and they need to be sheltered and monitored, or put down. But we deal with those dogs as they become known to us. We don’t just abort all the dog fetuses unless the owner can pay to certify that their dog breeds “good puppies.”
But if ATT/Verizon/Comcast ran a kennel, that’s what they’d do.
Of course I’m pro-Net Neutrality; I think you knew I’d say that. Individual evil sucks, but State evil always always ALWAYS sucks worse. Throughout history, humanity suffers whenever we lose sight of that balance.
Gun nuts love to point to Hilter’s disarming of his people as a precursor to the spread of fascism. I’d ask them whether the NRA’s lobbying dollars don’t just spread fascism (sexism, racism, fear, distrust, ugly bumper stickers) by some other name, but the point is valid.
The real irony is that these companies who want to throttle connectivity are themselves beneficiaries of an open Internet. There’s no way the aforementioned media Cerberus would have risen to prominence if not for Net Neutrality.
Torrenting saved their TV arms at the 11th hour, by showing them how viable on-demand viewing really is; they adjusted, and now they don’t want anyone else to be able to adjust, ever. Because individual piracy sucks, but a State-sanctioned takeover of the waterways is always…always…always…
The Writers’ Guild strike of 2007 happened because there was a Web content explosion that the existing pay model didn’t support. Young, zeitgeist-y writers’ work was getting reposted all over the Internet, and there was nothing on the books that said the writers themselves should get any royalties. Andy Samberg should be a billionaire for saving SNL. But that’s all lost income.
It’s interesting that Comcast purchased NBC and now they’re trying to make the writers’ argument from an inhumanly corporate perspective. “Why should we not get paid when we helped the content get out there?”
Because, little naïve Comcast, your “help” didn’t make anything. It brought nothing into being. In fact, Comcast, it sounds like you want to “help” spread content in the same way a mobster “helps” shopkeepers prevent their stores from burning down.
The companies seeking to end net neutrality face problems of their own making. They taught their shareholders to expect limitless short-term growth. That’s metastasis as a business model. It’s a stupid, myopic plan, and the gilded façade that says it’s working gets chipped away a little more every year.
But now they need mowe pwofit because business is hawwwd. They need an excuse to flip their sunk infrastructure cost into a bona-fide revenue driver because they’re running out of ways to make people feel inadequate for not doing enough stuff on bigger and bigger screens.
So they try to move the goalposts, doublethink-forgetting what decades of historical precedent say about our radio spectrum, the FCC’s regulatory function, and something I read about once, I think it was called the public interest, I don’t know, Google freezes when I try to look it up on my iPhone.
Their core argument is that they don’t provide a utility. That water is a need, and so is heat, but not information. No, information providers offer a different kind of service, any kind of different, really, so long as it’s less susceptible to regulatory red tape. Never mind that private companies were never meant to step into the light of FCC oversight without making some basic concessions to the needs of real people in the communities they profit from “serving.”
But pay no attention to the definitions behind the curtain. They get to gouge us all they want because Internet access isn’t a need. That might have been true when car phones were an executive luxury, but now even McDonalds has computer kiosks for prospective employees to use. Most businesses have websites, so they don’t even pick up the phone anymore. Most people have Facebook, so they don’t pick up the phone anymore. So either we can argue that the change is just because of a few hundred million renegade, please-somebody-control-us humans, or we can admit that modern society has agreed upon Internet as the new telephone line, and regulate accordingly.
Or we can go a little further and admit that, in our modern age, when most humans living in the first world are connecting with one another online, Internet access is a human right. Which is the official position of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, incidentally. But what do they know? They don’t give the Israeli state a free pass to commit atrocities, so they probably can’t be trusted.
Here’s the thing. You can live in 2013 without Internet, just not in a way that could grant you real access to socioeconomic restratification opportunities. If pursuit of happiness is still a thing (and I’m not necessarily saying it is, call me pessimistic), then we need to recognize that access to information is subordinate only to water, gas, and electric on the list of utilities. Nowadays, people would rather pile trash on the curb, and pay their cable bill on time, than be offline for a week and have no odors to contend with.
If a company has the gall to put profit before people, particularly in a way that irreversibly affects how our new global community is able to interact with one another, I don’t think shutting them down in court is nearly enough.
I think we should shut them down in court. Revoke the charters, divest the resources, and let someone else take the helm. If they get uppity, rinse and repeat. These companies exist because we let them, because we have equated their product with our reality, because we’d rather cower and stack what money we can than, I dunno, learn how to farm and build and mend wounds so we could dig in through some rough restructuring.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Law or no law, there will always be an Internet in some form that is immune from snooping or control. Either we let the kiddie porn manufacturers own it, or we make “it” ALL of it, and politely tell the criminals among us that they’re not welcome until they can get their shit straightened out.
Because we’re human. We can do this without fake mommies and daddies telling us we don’t deserve the freedom to make mistakes. And I personally believe we have the right (the obligation!) to go full Menendez on any surrogate parents who still try to beat up on their kids long after they’ve grown old enough to take them. Legally speaking, that is.
Who said it was just the bad dogs who deserve to be put down? What of the owners whose example trained them to be the way they are?
They might be able to cut off global communication for a while longer, but Microsoft is about a decade away from building a real-life Babel fish. The kids WILL get to talking. We WILL learn that all our parents are abusing us the same way, in every language, in every nation. We WILL fight back.
And kids are young and full of energy. And they don’t know when to give up. They’ll fight to the death if that’s what it takes. And they’ll keep on fighting, because kids keep getting born, and old ideas keep getting older, and dying out.
Unless they learn to adapt. And compromise. And let humans be humans, warts and all.
For God’s sake, Comcast…AT&T…Verizon…your very life is at stake!
Think of the children!