Rights and Net Neutrality

I think it’s important to note that in my Salon column on net neutrality and the Tea Party’s theory of liberty, I assiduously avoid talk of rights except for a passing reference in the final paragraph. There’s a good reason for that: I’m not so convinced that net neutrality can be considered a “right” in any meaningful sense, and whether or not it can be seems largely beside the point. It seems to me that the case for net neutrality is less about rights than about aggregate liberty; it’s about maintaining a free and open space in a way that doesn’t unduly encroach on the liberty or rights of ISPs.

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