Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

It seems, these days, so much of what was once viewed as right-side-up has been turned upside-down and is then touted as the norm.

Take, for example, the widespread tactic of calling anyone racist if they mention the word race. If a person, in the course of a conversation, brings up race, all of a sudden, the other person feels it is reasonable to call said person a racist, without there being a thread of proof to the claim.

Now, it appears, a similar tactic is being tried with the protection of certain of freedoms: If the government (read: President Barack Obama) suggests laws are put in place to insure everyone has equal access to certain freedoms, Republicans cry “big government” is meddling with the free market and freedoms (i.e., in many cases, the ability to enrich one’s pockets)– another argument that goes against the very truth it claims to fight for.

Here’s the gist of how it all began, just a week ago today:

On Monday, November 10, President Barack Obama introduced a “net neutrality” plan that would treat the Internet as a Title II utility. Obama’s plan explicitly rejects the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) consideration of allowing paid prioritization by content providers in conducting deals with Internet Service Providers to provide “faster lanes” to certain paying customers.

Net neutrality regulations are intended to lock in a business model that will provide equal access of the Internet to all. According to Obama, his plan acknowledges that “the Internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life,” and that all Internet traffic should be treated equal.

If the FCC were to allow ISP’s to charge for varying levels of Internet speed– which it has been seriously considering for a long time– those content providers with the deepest pockets would receive the greatest advantage –a scenario that could favor rich Web firms over start-ups.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz immediately came out against Obama’s net neutrality plan, blasting it as “Obamacare for the Internet” and claiming it actually erodes freedom.

In an Op-ed he wrote to The Washington Post, he argued, “Government-regulated utilities invariably destroy innovation and freedom. … If the federal government seizes the power to regulate Internet pricing and goods and services, the regulations will never end.”

In essence, the word “government regulations” is the new “racist,” in that, when you slam it on the table, the very accusation causes everybody to freeze and the conversation to end, even if the argument goes directly against the very interest of the people it claims to protect.

However, it’s important to note that the move toward regulation is merely innuendo: the FCC is an independent body that does not answer to the president, nor does it have to consider his suggestions. So at the end of the day, Obama’s plan is a suggestion.

Nevertheless, the future of Internet accessibility is up for debate right now, and public response could mean everything.

What do you think? Should the FCC consider Obama’s plan to regulate net neutrality, or should the government allow the FCC and the market to decide its own direction?

Which way do you feel is the right-side-up approach? Which way do you see as upside-down? You decide.

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  1. Keep the government’s mitts off the internet — unless you want innovation to come to a halt and look forward to neverending regulations, fees and taxes.

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