Self-Appointed Disrupters Don’t Like Being Disrupted Because It’s So Disrupting

by Mike Wendy on November 20, 2012

So-called disrupters don’t like being disrupted.

A case in point:  We see a lot of noise from self-appointed disrupters – like Susan Crawford, Tim Wu, etc. – who have their undies in a wad over Verizon’s claim that (gasp!) it has First Amendment rights, and how, by virtue of those rights, the FCC’s Net Neutrality regulations must fail because they unconstitutionally restrain their speech.

Verizon’s constitutional argument greatly disturbs them because, in their view, only the edge of the Internet may enjoy these rights (like this large edge provider).

For Crawford, Wu and the rest of the “free-is-good” crowd, the edge has a monopoly on disruption.  But if Verizon can truly exert its First Amendment rights, those edge providers will be disrupted out of that cushy position, making them compete where heretofore they have not had to.

What strikes me most about this is that they’re all about disruption – that is, when it suits them.  But when it doesn’t, they retreat to defend the “traditional” or “historical,” like this (from Public Knowledge on Tim Wu):

…Verizon lacks any historical precedence for this First Amendment argument…

…Furthermore, Wu traces regulations for transmitters through history, from the telegraph to the telephone, and finds that in centuries of regulation no court has ever found First Amendment rights for transmitters. He concludes that when a law has not been challenged throughout history, there is good reason to believe it is Constitutional.  (Emphasis added)

Why can’t a carrier be both a transmitter and a “newspaper”? Ummm, because that’s not what happened in “history,” they intone.

(Funny, the Internet did not ever occur before in history…But I digress)

How odd, hypocritical and little.  In attempting to monopolize disruption, it’s clear they intend – through government-imposed indentured servitude and coercion – that “creative destruction” work only in their favor.

Where has disruption ever been so-corralled?

Who are they – these 1%-er, Ivy-league elites – to determine the contours of Internet disruption?

Shouldn’t the competitive marketplace determine this instead of them?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Brett Glass November 20, 2012 at 4:15 pm

The goal of these “disrupters,” all of whom have benefited from relationships with Google, is to disrupt anything that might impede Google’s monopoly.

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Mike Wendy November 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Yes, that company – with the aid of Crawford, Wu, Lessig, etc. – opened the door to Net Neutrality and Internet regulation primarily for its gain. Hopefully the Court will throw it out. But, sadly, that does not stop the urge.

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