I've been eagerly following the TrackBacks to my line in the sand piece on why we need net neutrality. More importantly, I have been closely monitoring the broader debate.
Earlier today I was wondering why reasonable people can so starkly disagree- to the point that neither side believes the other side is reasonable.
Then I took a wider view at those who - in varying degrees- are opposed to net neutrality legislation, and those - once again in varying degrees - are demanding it.
It could have a lot to do with the type of people who are drawn to the various professions whose interest groups have largely taken opposite sides in this debate. I am a journalist with Political Science and Sociology degrees. I remember, as far back as college, looking at the engineering majors as coming from a different planet. And I got that back from them.
And to couch this perspective in a more timely cultural reference, this is another ""Venus-Mars argument.
The net neutrality skeptics seem to fall into three, somewhat overlapping camps: those who are philosophically opposed to most governmental regulation; the free market Darwinists who believe the market will sort out the winning solutions from the less so-blessed, and:
The net neutrality proponents are those who believe in government as a counterweight to the private sector's greedy impulses, and/or are those from the content and idea-creation and propagation worlds. That is big enough a tent to encompass lots of journalists, as well as idea-related organizations such as MoveOn.org and the Christian Coalition.
Now all of this is starting to make sense to me. I am not an engineer, and because of that, my mind is wired more conceptually and dare I say, idealistically.
Engineers deal with the practical and the doable- the empirical and the validated. They have furtive creative aspirations to making things run bigger and faster, but their scientific mindset tends to not regard these solutions as workable until they are scientifically tested.
Not believers in "big government," they then resent a governmental apparatus that to them is clunky and nontechnocratic telling them to implement technological solutions that all of their training tells them is not ready.
But the way I and other so-called "net neutrality extremists" put it, well, then make it ready.
And you net-neutrality-fighting telcos who are complaining that it can't be done, it needs to be done. If your stock price takes a hit and your institutional investors want your CEO's head, well then, it isn't my problem. But if you are going to slow down some content and retard new content creators from coming into being and prominence, I am a content guy. And it is my problem.