Denialists' Deck of Cards: The Ace of Clubs, "Our Rights"

i-eb928c69335227712bae171c5ddaaa6c-ac.jpeg The denialist can almost always argue that a proposal is unconstitutional. After all, businesses were afforded many civil rights before women achieved suffrage.

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Huh? How is this denialism? Of course businesses have rights. What are you trying to argue here? Some specific argument about rights might be ridiculous, but others aren't.

I looked in your PDF and it doesn't seem to have any other explanation. I guess if you have to pad out your "deck" to 52 cards, you're going to have some clunkers in there.

Your paper also starts off with a really weak example--network neutrality. I'm sympathetic with the goals, but the opponents have a good point when they say "no problem". So far the arguments are based just on theoretical problems, not actual problems. There are good reasons that we defer to the status quo, since regulations can cause problems, too.

To me, network neutrality regulations smack of the Interstate Commerce Commission. I bet that if passed, they will live on many decades passed their usefulness and be used by businesses to their own ends.

By Ken Hirsch (not verified) on 06 Jun 2007 #permalink

@Ken, the best example in the privacy space is the appeals to the First Amendment whenever a privacy law passes, as in giving people the choice to restrict sale of personal information violates the right to free speech of businesses. More commonly, businesses will argue that a regulation is some form of a taking.

As to network neutrality, the most common example is downgrading of competitors' VOIP. I'm convinced that the industry is wining so much about network neutrality because they do plan to discriminate on content big time. If they didn't really care, they'd ignore the issue.

@Ken, you caught me pre-caffeinated this morning. Let me expand more. I can't count the number of times I've heard an industry lobbyist claim that a regulation violates the rights of their company in direct contradiction to the case law. The most recent example was the do-not-call list. Despite the landscape of the caselaw on commercial speech and opt-out privacy laws, they raised this objection over and over, and then lost in the courts.

On network neutrality--I've deliberately chosen that issue and genetic discrimination for the deck of cards, because I wanted to use examples where readers could experience the full effect of seeing an issue early on, and then through its evolution. In both cases, the industry is spending millions on PR to say "no problem," but I'm willing to be that as soon as they have an opportunity to, they'll move towards discrimination both in the network and on genetics. Perhaps it will be consolidation and competition that justifies the change. Perhaps it will be cost cutting. Etc. Delay benefits them now, because they can't get what they want now. But things will change. These companies aren't spending millions on PR on these issues unless they have big plans.

Businesses do not have any natural rights, anyway. Revoke a few of these priviledges and they'll stop whining. ;-)