Amalia Deloney, a policy director for the Center for Media Justice, made a few comments recently at the Netroots conference regarding arguments made by opponents of net neutrality.
“Primarily what they hear are messages around job loss. Everyone knows that we’re in a severe economic crisis and have been for awhile. It’s really on all of us to use the power of the Netroots to communicate at the grassroots level.” “We need to get more clear on what our message is.”
The “they” Ms. Deloney is referring to is the American public; citizens caught between the crossfire of this open network debate. The very American public that faces 9.5% unemployment. The very American public, who according to Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernanke, faces a economic recovery that is “unusually uncertain.“
When facing the severe economic crisis you describe, Ms. Deloney, it is the practice of our nation to try to grow ourselves out of it. One way of growing ourselves out of a severe economic crisis is to deploy infrastructure. We build bridges, roads, and highways. We expand air routes, airports, and waterways. We deploy utilities and telecommunications facilities.
The private sector, as the primary economic driver and job creator in our country, is relied on to do this. It takes money, time, and other resources to make these capital expenditures work. Some of the money comes from internal funds generated by revenues. The fewer the expenses incurred in generating revenue, the greater the amount of profit that can be reinvested into hiring workers, improving plant, researching and developing better services that can hopefully be provided at lower costs.
We call this growth and innovation. This is the type of activity necessary for ensuring that the digital divide in facilities and services is closed. Yet, Ms. Deloney and Color of Change’s James Rucker brush this off as just another “primary argument.” On the contrary, in the end, it’s the only legitimate argument.
It’s time for Color of Change, the Center for Media Justice, and other net neutrality proponents to stop hiding behind the skirt of civil rights while insulting the very organizations with a strong history of giving sweat and at times blood for the cause of civil rights. Maintaining civil rights means ensuring that a strong economic foundation is in place. Net neutrality has not been shown to create jobs much less reduce consumer prices. As a basis for ensuring the civil and economic rights of Americans, net neutrality is a bankrupt philosophy.