Kevin Carson wrote a blog post on net neutrality for the Center for a Stateless Society last month where he describes the primary and secondary purposes of the state.
According to Mr. Carson, the state’s primary purpose is the organized political means to wealth exercised by and for the benefit of a particular class of people.
The state’s secondary role is to keep the barbarians from knocking on or knocking down the gates of the elite; to be a stabilizing or ameliorative force.
In carrying out its primary role, the state confers subsidies, special tax breaks, and other privileges upon corporate and other special interests via the political system. Executing this role can have destabilizing impacts on society’s members who are not members of its economic or political elite, so the state may implement social welfare measures to ease the pain and keep the social contract between the elite and everyone else intact.
The state’s primary actions role increase the level of statism, the primacy of the rights of government over the rights of the individual, while its secondary action, according to Mr. Carson reduces statism.
So where does Mr. Carson see net neutrality? Mr. Carson sees net neutrality as a bit of a shell game. All net neutrality does is place a restriction on the privileges and benefits that corporations receive from the state. In this particular case, all the FCC has done is placed operational restrictions on broadband providers such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon. The FCC’s action has not increased any welfare benefits for consumers nor has it extinguished the privileges received by broadband providers. They still have, according to Mr. Carson, state-provided access to rights-of-ways, subsidies, and other privileges associated with operating as an oligopoly.
I would go one step further and say that as a statist primary action, the FCC intended to shift benefits not from corporation to consumer, but from corporation to corporation. There was never intended for any benefits to accrue to consumers via a reduction in statism. The four million commenters that the FCC and net neutrality proponents brag about never comprehended that the net neutrality argument was nothing but a “bill and keep” argument from the 1990s hyped up on 21st century steroids. Content providers like Netflix, Facebook, and Google wanted a net neutrality world built on non-payment of traffic fees to broadband operators. Hence the argument for a “free and open” #internet.
Net neutrality? Nothing but a shell game played by progressives.