I had not paid attention to the term, "net neutrality" until I read the above linked piece. (click on the header) Al Franken is a highly literate and astute watchdog for individual rights. How ironic then that he should be representing the same state of Minnesota that Michelle Bachmann does. They are such absolute polar opposites that it almost boggles the mind.
But, thank God that Senator Franken is paying attention, because if the sneaky weasels who are about to attempt to pull off a quick one on us succeed, the internet will change fundamentally in its nature and its mission. Instead of being an open and free venue wherein small entrepreneurs and people who desire to share their opinions--like I do on this blog--have equal opportunity to do so, it will instead become a place where big money and corporate horsepower begin to have more status and much greater power to put their message in your face. The essential liberty that has characterized the internet--for better and for worse--will be on its way to extinction.
When you search for something--either information or a product, or an organization--you will be ushered to the site of the company who wants you to buy their service or product.....or, worst of all, to the site of the propaganda 'news' organization who wants to infuse your thinking with their own.
The internet is still a relative adolescent. It was almost inevitable that the forces of greed would find ways to manipulate the vast power of communication and the nearly infinite information reserves that the internet serves as a gateway for. By inserting themselves at the junctions of how information flows, these masters of manipulation will succeed in influencing not only what we buy, but what we know, what we even believe is going on in the world. Can you imagine any organization as politically biased and intellectually corrupt as Fox News having the power to determine what goes out over the world-wide-web? When the little guy is squeezed out because he or she can no longer show up in searches, due to an inability to pony-up the necessary fees or simply because their opinion is divergent, the fundamental nature of everything that the internet represents will be utterly and irrevocably destroyed.
Think about this. The internet is the greatest leveler of the playing field of democracy, of any form of communication that HAS EVER EXISTED. Anybody can gain access to it for free, and anybody can use it to communicate their message, however weird, wonderful, inane or ingenious. It is ALL IN THERE.
Letting this fall under the sway of people who are intent on dominating it for the purposes of political influence or simply the achievement of greedy goals.....is a form of social suicide. We would just have one more channel on the television is ultimately what it would mean......nothing that could ever serve to preserve and to develop intellectual, social and spiritual goals.
This would be just one more aspect of the Oligarchy of Greed that is already in ascendancy. God help us if we allow that to happen.