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The Internet Politics

Ron Paul's New Primary Goal Is "Internet Freedom" 948

Charliemopps writes "Ron and Rand Paul are shifting the central focus of their family's libertarian crusade to a new cause: Internet Freedom. From the article: 'Kentucky senator Rand and his father Ron Paul, who has not yet formally conceded the Republican presidential nomination, will throw their weight behind a new online manifesto set to be released today by the Paul-founded Campaign for Liberty. The new push, Paul aides say, will in some ways displace what has been their movement's long-running top priority, shutting down the Federal Reserve Bank. The move is an attempt to stake a libertarian claim to a central public issue of the next decade, and to move from the esoteric terrain of high finance to the everyday world of cable modems and Facebook.' This seems like welcome news to me. Let's see if they can get more traction here than they did with the Fed."
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Ron Paul's New Primary Goal Is "Internet Freedom"

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  • First thing... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:16PM (#40559513)
    they need to get a clue.

    I made a contribution to one of Ron's 2008 "money bombs." From that simple action, I started getting spam from Ron, the Campaign for Liberty, the Rand Paul campaign, and state campaigns. All with "no one's listening" return addresses.

    Somehow, this move reeks of opportunism - they have not shown any real understanding of Internet privacy, and certainly haven't "walked the walk."
    • Re:First thing... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Beeftopia ( 1846720 ) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:21PM (#40559555)

      Somehow, this move reeks of opportunism - they have not shown any real understanding of Internet privacy, and certainly haven't "walked the walk."

      The Internet allows the only real free flow of information nowadays. That's why keeping it open is so important. Without the Internet, the only information we'd get would come from CNN, Fox, BBC, ABC, CBS, etc.

      The Internet is only free press. Hence the desire to keep it unfettered.

      • Re:First thing... (Score:5, Informative)

        by msauve ( 701917 ) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:28PM (#40559587)
        And yet, if you read the linked article, they wish "to stop attempts to impose 'Net Neutrality' rules on broadband providers [and] broaden private control of the wireless spectrum," neither of which act to "allow the free flow of information," nor are they supportive of "Internet freedom."
        • Good catch.


          'Net neutrality' means government acting as arbiter and enforcer of what it deems to be 'neutral'."

          They apparently don't understand "Net Neutrality." They seem to think it's some political content issue rather than preventing throttling of packets based on their source or content.

          • Re:First thing... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Mr. Firewall ( 578517 ) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:56PM (#40559775) Homepage

            Uh... dude, have you actually READ the proposed "net neutrality" rules?

            Hint: They have nothing to do with what you and I mean by "net neutrality." They're just a Government power-grab, and nothing else. THAT is what Dr. Paul opposes.

            • Re:First thing... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by makomk ( 752139 ) on Friday July 06, 2012 @05:40AM (#40561601) Journal

              I'm pretty sure that Ron Paul would be opposed to net neutrality full stop, since it involves the government meddling in how private corporations run their business. Sure, without net neutrality we're effectively giving a few major corporations the power to control and censor an important channel of communication, but in Paulworld that's not real censorship because it's not the Government doing it.

  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:18PM (#40559535) Homepage

    Ron and Rand Paul are shifting the central focus of their family's libertarian crusade to a new cause: Internet Freedom.

    Depends what you mean by freedom. According to this Ars Technica Article [], he means the freedom of corporations to decide who gets to speak and what they get to say on the Internet.

    This seems like welcome news to me.

    I'd say that depends pretty heavily on whether you want citizens to be free to speak, or network providers to be free to generate revenue by restricting speech.

  • by Knytefall ( 7348 ) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:37PM (#40559655)

    "Internet Freedom" sounds like a phrase designed to make being anti-Net Neutrality sounds good.

    And no wonder: Verizon and AT&T are heavy contributors to Rand Paul's campaign. []

    Make no mistake: there's nothing "free" about the state-granted monopolies the wireless and cable industry have. Since they're monopolies, they ought to be regulated.

    And if regulation is removed, you know that the telecom industry will be hitting up Google and Netflix for cash right away.

    "Internet Freedom" means freedom for Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T to charge siteowners like Google and Amazon just because they feel like it.

    "Internet Freedom" means every single thing you do on the Internet is going to cost more because Verizon and Comcast need to keep posting massive increases in profits.

    "Internet Freedom" means freedom for the carriers to hold you hostage. ...and if you think that the 'free-market' will solve this, remember: bandwidth is scarce and already monopolized by the big carriers. You won't see landline competition either: the big carriers also have all the local governments locked up so there won't be any competition there. And you know that the Pauls won't be taking on the local governments so that there can be competition in the landline market.

  • Internet Freedom? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ukemike ( 956477 ) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:46PM (#40559707) Homepage
    Sounds like they want the same thing libertarians always want. Freedom for corporations to run roughshod over the rest of us without the burden of regulations designed to look after the interests of people.

    "Internet collectivists are clever," the manifesto says, accusing their foes of series of Orwellian linguistic twists. "They are masters at hijacking the language of freedom and liberty to disingenuously pushfor more centralized control. 'Openness' means government control of privately owned infrastructure.'Net neutrality' means government acting as arbiter and enforcer of what it deems tobe 'neutral'."

    The irony is that If he gets his way on this issue HE will be among the most likely to be stifled.

    As Bugs Bunny used to say, "What a maroon!"

  • Welcome to GovCorp (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Beeftopia ( 1846720 ) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:51PM (#40559745)

    From reading the article, it sounds like the Pauls are more afraid of the government than corporations, which is a mistake IMHO. Eisenhower talked of the Military-Industrial complex. It's all slowly merging into one giant GovCorp, where the politicians and top corporate executives entrench themselves further and further, scratching each other's backs.

    There's the concept of "Creative Destruction." The working classes are well acquainted with it. The problem is that where it's needed most, at the top of the political system and in financial sectors, it's almost completely prevented from occurring.

    The Economist had an interesting article entitled "The question of extractive elites." []

    From that article: "In an extractive economy, such as the Belgian Congo and its successor state, Zaire, a narrow elite seizes power and uses its control of resources to prevent social change... Much of current economic policy seems to be driven by the need to prop up banks, whether it is record-low interest rates across the developed world or the recent provision of virtually unlimited liquidity by the once-staid European Central Bank. The long-term effects of these policies, which may be hard to reverse, are difficult to assess."

  • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:58PM (#40559793) Homepage Journal

    the individual's?

    or freedom like this?: []

    the problem the pauls and libertarian fundamentalists like them have is they are incredibly naive about what small government really means: a power vacuum that is filled by corporations. at least with our deeply flawed government, there is actually a pretense that it is supposed to stand for our individual freedoms, and some means of recourse

    weaken our government, and you are left with monopolies and oligarchies who are happy to trample on our freedoms in the name of their "freedom", and no recourse whatsoever

    oh yeah, you can take your business to a competitor, because without regulation the three dominant players aren't colluding and squashing all real competition

    oh yeah, you can sue them in court. like you have 6 months and $100,000 and you lose anyway because they can just wear you down with their legion of lawyer goons

    give it up, randroids

  • by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @11:12PM (#40559907) Homepage Journal

    He's a states-rightser who's masquerading as a libertarian, and he gets away with it because the things he says are anti-federal government.

    • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @11:44PM (#40560087) Homepage Journal

      This is the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. Paul (either of them) is a libertarian. Libertarians are really corporate anarchists, some motivated by petty local exploitations of groups vulnerable to local elites. There are no "real libertarians" as you'd probably define them, because libertarianism is a fallacy that ignores the corporate/warlord thrusts into the vacuum libertarianism creates. Every time, around the world, without exception.

      Your "real libertarian" might exist in Sim City, but not in the real world. It's a fantasy. A dangerous one when it's pumped at us to deprive us of the power to create government to protect our rights. It's downright un-American.

  • by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @11:23PM (#40559963)

    Its obvious from reading the comments on this story that a lot of you all think this means Ron Paul is in favor of a free and open internet, and has come out in favor of net neutrality. You all obviously don't know Ron Paul. For him, and his son, "internet freedom" means businesses on the internet are free to do as they please, capitalism rules, and net neutrality will die a quick death.

  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @11:40PM (#40560067) Homepage

    Real internet freedom needs freedom not only from government interference, but also from corporate interference. And the latter requires strong competition based alternative forms of internet access. Since it is not economical to build up that much duplicate physical connectivity to customers, internet access services will need to be split between a shared physical infrastructure and independent core connectivity and associated access services (DHCP, RADIUS, DNS, and whatever else the chosen technology may need). This common shared infrastructure needs to be regulated by government and operated as a regulated monopoly with a mandate to provide service to all on a level and open playing field.

    IMHO, Ron Paul would never agree to any part of the infrastructure to be regulated in any way. Competing companies would not overbuild on each other more than 2 or 3 because of the capital inefficiency. As a result, there would not be sufficient competition for a viable free and open internet.

    Ron Paul would certainly reject a single vertical internet provider monopoly which would effectively entrench government interference. At least that much is good about his positions.

    Only a hybrid solution can ever really work. See how electricity is delivered in Texas. One company (Oncor Energy Delivery) operates the infrastructure and delivers the electricity to the customers of many competing energy providers which customers choose from. Ron Paul is from Texas, so he should know about this.

  • by Grayhand ( 2610049 ) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @11:51PM (#40560125)
    He has some good ideas, then there's of coarse the rest that are completely insane. Getting rid of the Federal Reserve is near the top of the list. Classic Republican lunacy. Deregulate and dismantle all safeguards because corporations always know best. Look at the history of deregulating. The SNL bailout was from deregulation as was the bank bailout. Net freedom is a good thing up to a point. Leave it in the hands of the corporations and the internet bad guys and the net will be a disaster. Sales taxing the internet is no solution and anything that is legal should be allowed. People can say it's hard to decide which laws should apply to the internet but most people would agree on the obvious ones. Banning kiddie porn, identity thief and scams should be obvious. Letting Congress decide is nuts because most of them are internet illiterate. Better to get together a group that represent all sides to try to find common ground. Either you compromise or one side lords over the rest and the rule making body is Congress so do you really want them deciding?

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith