Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) targeted those in the government who favor “net neutrality” in a cogent essay printed in The Washington Post. Cruz stated, “The Internet is the great equalizer when it comes to jobs and opportunity. We should make a commitment, right now, to keep it that way.”
Cruz pointed out that there are trillions of dollars at stake and that the Internet should be a source of tremendous economic power and growth if left unleashed. But he warned that the politicians in Washington not only want the money, they also want to quash free speech.
The Texas senator outlined four basic principles to follow if America wants to stay the leader in guiding the Internet:
- Permanently ban any taxing of Internet access and sales. A tax would allow sales tax jurisdictions around the nation to plague online retailers. Cruz noted that lobbyists for big business favor the tax because smaller businesses would suffer more than they would.
- Deny any nations hostile to human rights and democracy more influence over Internet policy. Cruz specifically mentioned Iran, Russia, and China.
- Prevent “net neutrality.” As Cruz wrote, “In short, net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet.” He added, “Government-regulated utilities invariably destroy innovation and freedom. Which is more innovative, the U.S. Postal Service or Facebook and Twitter? Which is better for consumers, city taxi commissions or Uber and Lyft?”
- Stay vigilant with regard to digital rights. Cruz pointed out, “Intellectual property must be defended, but any threat to quell speech on the Internet must be treated seriously and subsequently defeated.”
We don’t leave our constitutional rights behind when we go online. The same commitment to the principles of liberty that made the United States the greatest economic superpower that the world has ever seen must prevail in the virtual world as well.
We should keep the federal government out of the business of regulating the Internet. The United States has always been a place where someone with nothing can achieve anything. Freedom allows that social mobility, and the Internet is a haven for that entrepreneurial freedom.
Call it the American Dream 2.0.