In a fairly recent discussion about Net Neutrality, I was presented with the absolutely absurd point by RW poster Seahawks123, that Net Neutrality was somehow tantamount to censorship. He likened it to the fairness doctrine, another vastly overated "threat" to "free speech" that the Right loves to fear monger about.
Now, first of all, regarding the fairness doctrine:
1) The Democrats are NOT trying to reinstate it. I don't know why not. It could only help civil discourse and foster more open and honest political debate at this point. (And the fact that the Right isn't advocating for a required rebutal, sort of puts a stake, once and for all, in the idea that the media leans to the left, no?) But, for better or worse, there are no serious proposal pending to re-instate it.
2) In arguing against it, as is par for the course, the Right can't help but distort what it represents. All it requires is that the opposition be allowed to say their piece. WHAT'S SO WRONG WITH THAT?! It does not (and never did) require equal time. After three hours of Rush Limbaugh, Clear Channel would have been in perfect compliance just to give some token liberal 10 seconds to quote Joe Peschi from My Cousin Vinny and say, "Everything that guy just said was bullshit."
3) They always say that it impinges on free speech, and thus that's it tantamount to censorship. But for the life of me, I'll just never understand how making sure someone has the chance to speak somehow constitutes a LIMIT on free speech! Seems to me that only a coward who KNOWS HE'S WRONG or KNOWS HE'S LYING would fear hearing (or having people hear) what his opponent might say. Personally, I wouldn't dream of editing out (or moderating) a conseravtive's resonse to anything I've posted here. If it were thoughtful, I'd just deal with it, and if it were absurd and abusive I'd simply say, "Look at what I have to deal with!" But, if you're as intellectualy bankrupt as Rush Limbaugh / Glenn Beck / Sean Hannity / Mike Savage / Ann Coulter / etc... I can see why being forced to give even 10 seconds to an opposition voice would cause you to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.
ANYWAY, the really goofy thing here is that Net Neutrality doesn't work at all like the fairness doctrine. And it doesn't stop anyone from saying anything or force anyone to give time or space to let anyone else say something. What it DOES DO is guarentee everyone an equal opportunity to speak. It says that NO ONE can be cut out. Well, that's pretty much EXACTLY what free speech is all about, isn't it?! But the bulk of the Right (as usual) can't wrap their tiny little brains aorund even so simple a concept as this. This becuase:
1) The Democrats support it. Therefore they MUST oppose it. Doesn't matter what it is. Which is just fucking stupid.
2) The Right Wing Talking heads (who are all paid by the corporations who would lose power and influence under Net Neutrality) oppose it. Therefore the MUST oppose it. Doesn't matter what the implications are for US, the prviate citizens. Which is, again, just fucking stupid.
3) Per their talking points, ANYTHING a private, for-profit corporation does is GOOD, and ANYTHING and EVERYTHING the Government does is BAD. (Which might just be the MOST fucking stupid mentality of all!)
And the sad thing is that I honestly do not believe I am distorting their position here! As far as I can tell, and I would LOVE for someone to explain to me how I'm wrong, letting private, for profit corporations decide which messages get priority and which messeges get to be access at dial-up speeds is NOT censorship, but a law saying that ALL SITES, regardless of their message, get the same bandwith somehow IS.
IOW: Making censorship illegal, is censorship.
I'll say it one more time: That is just fucking stupid. There is simply no other conclusion that can be reached. by a sentient, free-thinking life form.
So let me make this crystal clear: I'm an 100%, unequivocably in favor of Net Neutrality. And that means that Matt Drudge and Fox Nation and Conservapedia and all the other RW propaganda sites will all have the same opportunity to put their ideas out their as I do. And I'm fine with that. A-OK, in fact. Because THAT is what free speech, no... that is what AMERICA is all about, and that is what makes America great. To oppose Net Neutrality is to oppose free speech itself. So... it's really no surprise that the Right opposes it: If they can't silence thier opposition, and dominate ever corner of a debate, they can't WIN. And they KNOW this. So of course they want the power to stick the opposition sites on dial-up speed!
But we, as liberals, know that (1) We have nothing to fear from these clowns in a open and honest debate and (2) that if we were put on EQUAL footing, that we'd actually have MORE of a say than we do now. We know what a rude awakening it will be for the bulk of the Right to discover just how much in their favor even the parts of the media that are relativly critcial of them really are. So yeah: To me it's no suprise that they find the idea of REAL free speech terrifying. It would only make them look like stupid, uneducated hypocrites - something their complicit corporate media has thus far been unwilling to do, even though it's about as difficult as putting on a hat.
(There's a PART TWO to this, but it's late, and I've got sh...tuff to do. So I'll do that part tomorrow.)