4 Stupid Conservative Arguments Against Net Neutrality, Debunked

Guys like Ted Cruz and Darrell Issa apparently don’t know jack about the internet.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), bashing net neutrality on Fox.<a href="http://flickr.com/link-to-source-image">Fox News</a>/YouTube

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Last week, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas set off a firestorm of ridicule when he took to Twitter in an attempt to mock the concept of net neutrality:

The comparison, so stupid on so many levels that it isn’t worth debunking, is not just an isolated example of partisan idiocy. In recent weeks, Republican operatives have trotted out a steaming heap of similar malarkey in an effort to ward off a popular revolt against the cable industry, which wants to charge big companies such as Google or Netflix for faster internet service while slowing it down for the rest of us. Here are four other ludicrous conservative arguments for why the Federal Communications Commission shouldn’t prevent this from happening:

1. You’ll pay more taxes!

The reality: To prevent broadband companies from discriminating against certain types of internet traffic, President Obama’s wants the FCC to regulate them as a public utilities. This is something it already does with telecommunications providers. While it’s true that the Communications Act subjects telecoms to a 16 percent service fee—which helps provide phone service to rural communities—this doesn’t mean broadband providers would automatically have to pay a similar tax.
 

2) Regulating the internet will stifle innovation and job creation.

The reality: The internet we know and love is already built on the concept of net neutrality. Obama’s proposed “regulation” would simply maintain the status quo by preventing monopolistic broadband providers from charging content providers tiered rates for different speeds of internet service. Far from stifling innovation, net neutrality encourages it by allowing startups to compete on the same footing as giants like Google and Facebook. That’s why it has overwhelming support among Silicon Valley’s “job creators.”
 

3) Letting big companies hog bandwidth will encourage cable companies to create more bandwidth

The reality: America ranks 31st in the world (behind Estonia) in its average download speeds. But that’s not because we’re preventing Comcast from cutting deals. Quite the opposite: Deregulation of the telecommunications industry has allowed Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, and AT&T to divide up markets and put themselves in positions where they face no competition.
 

4) It’s all a secret plot to hype the risks of global warming

This claim made by Andy Kessler in a 2006 Weekly Standard story has been making the rounds recently on conservative blogs:

[T]he answer is not regulations promoting net neutrality. You can already smell the mandates and the loopholes once Congress gets involved. Think special, high-speed priority for campaign commercials or educational videos about global warming. Or roadblocks—like requiring emergency 911 service—to try to kill off free Internet telephone service such as Skype.

The reality: Regulating broadband providers as utilities does not give the FCC more authority to tell them how to treat specific types of content. In fact, preventing discrimination against certain types of content by ISPs is the whole point. That’s why net neutrality is popular with everyone from John Oliver to porn stars.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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