The Pitfalls of Net Neutrality

Dan Pratt once again gives us a simple explanation, this time of net neutrality. Its pitfalls are obvious:

Think of the internet as all the roadways and sidewalks that you enjoy and use to get from point A to point B.

If you don’t have a car and are not willing to make any kind of investment in traveling, you can always walk. But you must stay on the sidewalk and you can’t go where the cars can go. If you walk, you will be extremely limited in your speed because you didn’t make the required investment to go faster.

If you can make a very small investment towards traveling, you could buy a bicycle. With a bicycle you can get around much faster and you have more access to the road than when you were walking, but you can’t go everywhere a car is allowed to go and you’re definitely not as fast as a car.

If you don’t have a car, you could also pay for public transportation. You can travel fairly fast but you may only go where the buses and trains go. You can’t necessarily dictate where they go.

If you have a car, you can go pretty much anywhere at any time. You made a large investment and you get a lot of speed and convenience in return. And if you buy a really nice car, you could potentially go extremely fast.

What “net neutrality” does (and I mean the “net neutrality” that we’ve been told about – we don’t actually know what’s in the 300 pages of new rules) is make it so the roads must allow anyone to travel on any portion, whether they are walking, have a bike, or a car. It also gets rid of the HOV lane. The result is a huge loss of efficiency and everyone will inevitably have to slow down.

So please stop claiming that the internet should be “free” for everyone to use for any reason and that everyone “deserves” the same exact data speed regardless of content or amount of data. The internet was built (and is still being built) with extremely large investments, lots of time, and quite a bit of energy. The internet was not built by unicorns, butterflies, and rainbows. It costs real money and, I’m sorry to break it to you, but economics and money are what makes the world go ’round. The world does not run on good feelings and misnamed regulation.

In case you are interested, here is the real solution to your internet woes (real or imagined): The main complaint that “net neutrality” supporters have is that they are scared of monopolies and the power they wield over consumers. Well, let’s see who is at fault for those monopolies. Surprise, surprise, it’s the government’s fault! Many local governments have made deals with providers that give them de facto monopoly status within a certain geographical area. Additionally, alternative providers are faced with huge regulatory hurdles from all levels of government in order to get started with anything.

So, why in the world isn’t the proposed solution designed to actually get rid of the thing causing the problem??? I’ll tell you why. It’s because the government doesn’t want to solve anything. It only ever puts on more and more layers of laws, regulation, and red tape. That’s your government at work, criminalizing an ever-increasing amount of peaceful choices. It is only a matter of time before it criminalizes activities that you do all the time (and I would bet money that it already has).

P.S. I haven’t even BEGUN to get into the unintended consequences of “net neutrality”. Everything I have said explains the actual INTENDED consequences. May God have mercy on us.


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Founder and editor of and, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.