One of the emerging Internet freedom movement’s greatest assets — the hyper-aware, ever-connected, techno-libertarian crowd that has fervently supported Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for president — is about to become one of it’s greatest opponents.
In a manifesto obtained by BuzzFeed reporter Rosie Gray, which the Pauls’ Campaign for Liberty organization is expected to release later today, the Declaration is lambasted as “Internet collectivism,” a thing it calls “pernicious” in all forms. It also suggests that using the law to cement the freedom of Internet users to view and interact with any content they desire is, in and of itself, contrary to the cause of freedom.
The document specifically calls out progressives and the very technology companies it seems to praise for bringing about the Internet “revolution,” accusing them of “hijacking the language of freedom and liberty to disingenuously push for more centralized control.”
“‘Openness’ means government control of privately owned infrastructure,” the Campaign’s document explains. “‘Net neutrality’ means government acting as an arbiter and enforcer of what it deems to be ‘neutral.’ ‘Internet freedom’ means the destruction of property rights.”
The core tenets of that document are generalized and easy to understand: core principles like “don’t censor the Internet,” “promote universal access,” “keep the Internet an open network,” “protect freedom to innovate and create without permission” and “protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.”
And that’s precisely what the Campaign for Liberty will soon say is antithetical to “freedom.”
Instead, they will push back against what’s commonly described as the First Amendment of the Internet – a fundamental rule that’s been mostly just assumed since the Web’s inception — and support the private property rights of network owners to do as they please.
In other words, the Campaign’s new focus isn’t actually all that new: They are going to be promoting the classical tenets of libertarianism — and all the problems that come along with it — writ large across humanity’s global communications platform. And therein lies the problem.
The Campaign for Liberty did not respond to a request for comment. The Campaign’s manifesto, as reported by BuzzFeed, follows below.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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