Sunday, January 16, 2011

Net Neutrality = Fairness Doctrine?

Here is a commentary with equal parts smugness, lies, and ignorance, delivered by Andrew Klavan:

It's truly fascinating how moronic it is, and how un-self-aware. One minute he's saying that liberals are evil because they call the far-right "fascist" or "worse than Hitler"; the next minute he's displaying the term "net neutrality" written in pseudo-cyrillic script, with the clear implication that somehow it is Communist.

He also makes the claim that bailing out banks and big corporations is a "radical attempt to destroy our free-market system". I wonder what a real attempt to destroy it would look like?

There are good arguments both for and against net neutrality (and the Fairness Doctrine, for that matter). But they're not even remotely related. One is about a national public resource with very limited access and bandwidth, controlled largely by corporate interests. The other is about a global network and peer-to-peer communication with near-universal access in North America, and essentially unlimited bandwidth. There's simply no way that net neutrality could "force conservatives to shut up online as well".

Klavan claims "leftism has failed everywhere". Yet in the European social democracies, such as Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, people live longer, healthier lives, and they have less crime. Furthermore, "leftist" policies like the minimum wage and Medicare haven't failed -- they have become standard practice in democracies.

I wonder if Klavan is more or less stupid than his audience? Is he a moron, or actively dishonest?


John said...

I'm going with "actively dishonest"

Phil said...

"Is he a moron, or actively dishonest?"

What on earth makes you think those are mutually exclusive?

Tom English said...

Klavan is preaching to a choir of youngish morons. His rhetoric and performance are brilliant, considering what he is trying to accomplish.

Klavan is not attempting to convert anyone to conservative beliefs, or even to provide conservatives with reasons to believe as they do. He is trying to inflame passion. The passionately conservative moron is at least a voter, if not a campaign contributor.

Klavan projects smug self-assurance because that's what he wants to instill in his target audience. He gives no argument in support of his claim that Fairness Doctrine and net neutrality are liberal policies meant to shut up conservatives like Rush Limbaugh. Most in his target audience know nothing about the topics, but they are more than ready to accept that liberals are engaged in devious attempts to silence their opposition, and that they would not be if they had cogent arguments of their own.

Having "established" that conservatives have strong arguments that liberals cannot rebut, Klavan gives a rapid-fire delivery of points that "we conservatives" believe. The exceedingly clever aspect of his rhetoric is that he inserts the fabricated shut up of the adversary everywhere he needs justification. He not only gets a free ride in claiming that conservatives can back up their beliefs, but paints the liberals black with no more than repetition of an imputation.

I think it's a serious mistake to deny the (devious) intelligence and hard work behind a propaganda piece like this.

cody said...

I wish our politicians and pundits could drop all this silly PR and have constructive dialog. I almost don't care if our policies improve us or not, just as they induce further changing and discussion and understanding of what is a very complicated system. As tempting as it is to highlight and mock what I perceive to be negative commentary I'd much rather just see us discuss, research and experiment what is good and bad for the country seriously.

I used to have so much good faith in people. Now it almost feels like people are trying to actively destroy it.

And I second Phil's comment—Andrew Klavan is both.

Though if I recall my "people are naturally good" naïvety, I'd probably try to excuse him as being poorly informed and maybe displaying a typical animal behavior of resisting a force, doubly ones that challenge old beliefs in a rapidly evolving (and increasingly frightening to him) world.

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of a series of events that happened to me while living in conservative Grand rapids, Michigan, in the early 1990s. it was around the time of the first Bill Clinton election, and I had a bumper sticker on my car that said "Rush is a draft dodger." That was all. But because of that, I had several (poorly written and unsigned) letters left on my car in parking lots (in addition to a couple of car chases and such that I will not get into).
Most of the letters were of the "Rush is great you commie" type, but one was a full page in length and started out calm and condescending, wondering why I wanted to censor a strong conservative voice (recall - all my sticker said was that Rush is a draft dodger). It went on abojt freedom of speech and such, byt the letter got angrier and angrier as it went on. The closing line was "so why don't you just open your ears and shut your mouth."

I guess the author did not get the irony.