Thursday, April 21, 2011

Socialism on the Internet!

False alarm. Just more rodeo-clown nuttiness.

Per Talking Points Memo, conservative activist (and lousy historian) David Barton went on a radio show to talk about (meaning "attack and defame") the idea of internet neutrality. No surprise there; Republicans generally don't like the idea, which they seem to consider a restraint on trade or an intrusion of the government into property rights. You know, like zoning laws.

What amuses and appalls us is that, rather than phrase this as a question of economics, or even of civil rights (that is, the civil rights of corporations, which our Supreme Court has shown itself ready to defend), Barton decided to go the crazy Manichaean route, and present internet neutrality as a question of Christian morality:
It is a principle of free market. That's a Biblical principle, that's a historical principle. We have all these quotes from Ben Franklin and Jefferson and Washington and others on free market and how important that is to maintain. That is part of the reason we have prosperity. This is what the Pilgrims brought in, the Puritans brought in, this is free market mentality. Net Neutrality sounds really good, but it is socialism on the Internet.
Okay, let's rephrase that. He didn't choose Christian morality over against civil rights or economics; he smooshed them together in one breathtakingly complex, and breathtakingly ludicrous, paragraph.

Sigh. The free market is a Biblical principal? Supported by such devout exegetes as Franklin and Jefferson? The mind boggles.

Anyway, if you are looking for some Christian socialism on the internet, click here.


Mark Christianson said...

What? The book of Jefferson and First Franklin aren't in your Bible?

Besides that these word's proceeded from the mouth of David Barton, which immediately makes them suspect, it is telling that he goes from Biblical Principle to citing Franklin and Jefferson rather than any actual biblical text.

Alas, such conflation of American political myth, overwrought patriotism and "exceptionalism," and the language (and only occasionally the content) of Christianity is par for the course from the likes of Barton and other so-called "conservatives." It's infuriating both politically and religiously, and it's also one reason I think it's so dangerous.

Anonymous said...

What exactly IS "Net Neutrality"?

Father Anonymous said...

Click the link in the post for a quick Times primer.

Basically, it's the idea that the telecom companies should treat all internet data equally, rather than, say, blocking objectionable content or letting large websites pay to have their data travel faster than smaller ones.

Through its history, and up to the moment, the net has been neutral in this sense. Some of the big companies want to change it. The FCC agreed to compromise rules, permitting a slightly less neutral Net, but they don't go nearly far enough for the big companies -- or Mr. Barton.

MadPriest said...

That's a Biblical principle

Is this the same Bible that tells us about how the first Christians owned everything in common?