Sunday, March 1, 2015

Net Neutrality

The easiest thing to do is criticize.
In fact, criticizing has been scientifically shown to lend to the critic a perception of smarts. Studies have shown that people will say the critic is smarter than the non-critic, even if the opinions come from the same person!
In other words, if I criticize something I'm perceived smarter, but if I praise that same thing I criticized earlier, I'm perceived not as smart. Studies have been performed, this is a known quality of human behavior.
And don't think the politicians and talking heads of the Right and Left don't know this. That's why they criticize, and why people admire them so much.
Knowing this behavior has very powerful benefits, especially when applied to an unsuspecting audience.
Knowing this, as I do, I've ground myself by adopting a counter weight, that is I also come to understand that it is statistically improbable, if not impossible, for someone to be wrong all the time.
So, for example, if I find myself believing everyday someone is wrong in elected office, I make an effort to take another look at the issue(s). Because maybe I'm the one who is wrong, whose humanity is being exploited.
Believe it or not, but I don't mind being wrong. That's being human too, being wrong. Its the not learning that bothers me.
Dylan said, "He not busy being born is busy dying."
With that being said, sometime politicians are wrong, a lot. Joe DiMaggio defied probability and hit in 56 straight games, so really, anything is possible.
I'm also loathe to lend my esteem, as little as I have, to some politician whom I do not know, and especially when I already perceive him or her as somewhat less than honest.
Now as to the FCC ruling on Net Neutrality, et. al.
The first thing I'm going to do is extract the President from this discussion. Two reasons. One, anytime I think that I could defend him, I'm reminded that despite my counterweight of statistical probabilities, the very real actions of the IRS targeting conservative groups, the lying about ObamaCare, and the dragging out of the facts in so many instances warns me to keep my distance, and save my esteem for someone or something else.
The second reason I'm removing the President from this issue, for the benefit of my arguments, is that Net Neutrality precedes him. It really does, its been an argument made by learned individuals and consumers advocates for more than a decade.
So I really don't see the need for him to muddy the waters, although it is honestly acknowledged that without him the decision may not of been made. He appointed members and pushed for the decision. Sometimes history has a momentum that Presidents get wrapped up in.
I'm not a pro-government advocate, I'm not looking for government to fix every ill in society. Sometimes the free markets need to work things out.
Sometimes though, the actions of government get overblown by people like me. We get all worked up about how our freedoms are being taking away with a ruling or a law. How "its a power grab" to our detriment. I'm not making that assumption this time.
Of course I could be wrong, we could all be screwed. But there are very smart people who supported this ruling, people like Timothy Wu of Columbia University who has written books on communications, telecommunications, and the internet. Who fancies himself as somewhat an expert on these matters, and as a consumer advocate.
Again, this decision could be wrong. The FCC, and congress, and of course Presidents have been wrong in the past. But sometimes criticism just sounds smart, because as humans we think that way.
No one pays for long distance phone calls anymore, there was a decision that led to that market adjustment, and criticism was rampant then about it too.
Why don't we relax on this, if we are all consumers, we all just might benefit by it, and if it doesn't work out then changes could be made.
That's happened before too, changing a change that initially didn't work out for the best. Timothy Wu can tell you about those times. The FCC hasn't always been right, but presumably they are on the consumer's side.

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