Today’s FCC vote to end net neutrality is but the latest act in the tsunami of greed that is eliminating all things neutral.
Neutral in the case of the internet means non-favoring, as in protecting a fair playing field that does not favor large providers while dis-favoring others and looking out for the interests of the general public that uses the internet.
But it’s not just in the internet debate that neutrality is in trouble in America. Our traditional allies in Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia, among others scratch their heads and wonder what’s happened to America.
In Washington, D.C. the President and Congress are “reforming” the American tax code by lowering the taxes for corporations and America’s wealthiest individuals who are already reaping record profits on the pretext of lowering taxes on the middle class. The tax reform is anything but neutral. It’s greedy. It continues to widen the divide between the well-to-do and those who aren’t doing so well.
While a tax system that is anything but neutral moves forward, Congress and the President strategically malign the integrity of the independent counsel assigned the odious task of investigating foreign interference in the 2016 U.S. election. The attack on Robert Mueller’s neutrality is undertaken in the name of neutrality, portraying the former FBI Director most everyone once respected as part of a partisan Democrat plot to embarrass and unseat the President.
There is, of course, no such thing as neutrality. Never has been and never will be. But the attempt to be neutral, the attempt to put our biases and vested self-interests behind us for the sake of the greater good is a bedrock principal of a civil society and of a democratic republic.
In the American thesaurus, neutrality and fairness are kissing cousins. So are power and abuse. American history is being re-written as we speak.
Thomas Jefferson took a razor to the Bible and cut out texts from the New Testament that seemed unreasonable according to the canons of the Enlightenment — things like miracles. But he never cut the teachings of Jesus — the Beatitudes of Matthew and Luke — “Blessed are the poor, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers” — the Golden Rule –“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” — or “the first shall be last and the last shall be first,” or the commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Today in America those in power are cutting these most sacred texts from the Jefferson Bible in the name of God and country. Any semblance of neutrality, fairness, or compassion are being erased. But one text from the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Job will yet have the last word beyond the scissors of greed that scorn even the slightest attempts toward neutrality.
If you have understanding, hear this;
listen to what I say.
Shall one who hates justice govern?
Will you condemn one who is righteous and mighty,
who says to a king, ‘You scoundrel!’
and to princes, ‘You wicked men!’;
who shows no partiality to nobles,
nor regards the rich more than the poor,
for they are all the work of his hands?
– Book of Job 34:16-19, NRSV.
May we all live to see the day.
- Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Dec. 14, 2017.