Wrong Headed

The Press & Sun-Bulletin, (P&SB) “Editorial Board”, (2 old white guys employed by Gannett), panned the recent decision to end so-called “net-neutrality”, on the shaky intellectual argument that everyone is entitled to everything the internet has to offer, delivered to all users as fast as possible.

Really?

Let’s explore how that same logic might work in the world of print journalism.

I have two daily newspapers delivered to my home, the P&SB and the Wall Street Journal, (WSJ.) I read the P&SB in the time it takes me to consume a small bowl of fruit every morning.  The WSJ takes me the rest of the day to peruse.  The P&SB costs me 50% more than my subscription to the journal.  Three things keep me subscribed to the P&SB; 1. Nostalgia, 2. Scanning the obituaries,  and 3. Learning of local news 48 hours after it happens.

Guided by the wisdom and logic of the P&SB “Editorial Board”, (2 old white guys employed by Gannett,) either the P&SB should slash it’s price by about 75%, or the WSJ should degrade its superior content and superb writing staff in order to match the low level of quality and content provided by the P&SB.

Whether it be providing internet service or newspapers, all businesses incur expenses, are motivated by profitability, and struggle naturally in a competitive business environment that ultimately requires of them the tailoring of products to a marketplace of consumers picking and choosing what they use based on their needs, their ability and their willingness to pay the price.

Similarly, consumers have choices in internet providers. Consumers who demand high speeds can pay for the service, just like all other consumers of all other types of goods and services make decisions based on quality, price and affordability.  The end of an over-reaching regulatory behemoth in government agency oversight might just result in a multi-tiered pricing structure where those consumers of digital goods who may not need wide bandwidth might enjoy a pricing discount for a slower speed.

There is larger life lesson here. If you live in the hood, have kids you can’t afford, enjoy subsidized housing, Medicaid, an EBT card and a bike instead of a car, it is with 99% probability that poor choices on your part landed you there.  That means Weis and not Wegmans, Dollar General and not Bon-Ton, Boscovs and not Brooks Brothers and finally, perhaps the public library computer terminal and not an imagined entitlement to high-speed internet.

If on the other hand, you had a good family upbringing, valued your education, stayed out of trouble, had respect for authority, a strong belief in God, self-respect, and a solid work ethic, then those conditions likely provided you the freedom to choose Wegman’s over Weis, Bon-Ton over Dollar General, Brooks Brothers over Boscov’s and computing power in the speed you can afford and need.

While true that we were all, “created equal,” there is no Constitutional or moral expectation that we necessarily stay that way. We all are defined by the choice we make, the willingness we have to work for what we want, and the desire to be responsible for our own outcomes.  Somewhere along the way, many lost the concept of personal responsibility and self-motivation, replaced instead by learned helplessness, courtesy of a liberal philosophy that devalued the family, removed shame from bad behavior, and encouraged heightened self-esteem in those who should actually be ashamed of their actions.

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