Upon opening my Firefox (referred to here as FF) browser today, because I use the FF start page as my home page, I see the brief trivia and public service messages positioned by its creators underneath the search window. Today there was public service message posted suggesting that Net Neutrality protects the 1st amendment right to free speech, and that as a good citizen, we should let our representatives know it is worth protecting.

But if I look at the 1st Amendment to the US constitution, this is what it says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

When taken literally on the topic of free speech, it means that Congress cannot make laws that abridge the freedom of speech or of the press. In other words, the government cannot punish an individual on the basis of speech, nor can it impose blackouts.

At no time in the history of the nation have there been laws forcing media establishments to publish anything in print that someone might pay for, regardless of content. But that is exactly what Net Neutrality does, forces an ISP to accept whatever sort of content a person with a web server is willing to pay for a connection to serve out and treat it the same way as all other content.

We all have the right to say what we like without being harassed and harried by Uncle Sam, but we do not have the right to force private sector ISP’s to deliver the content of our free speech over their hardware, trampling all over the 4th and 5th amendment rights of providers, and creating a situation where we void other constitutional projections, allowing government to commandeer private property, with the pretext of protecting this one.

If Uncle Sam wants to protect free speech on the internet it needs to provide a public service backbone connection and run it itself (of course we have a pretty good idea how free the speech on that would be). Alternatively, people who care about this should get their wallets out and create a community-based backbone connection and run it themselves. The black market guys do it, they can too!

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