Tag: Internet

The Critical Minority That Makes Us Great


shutterstock_94254988After a career in very large business ranging from big industrial work to Silicon Valley madness, I settled down in my second half of life — it used to be called “retirement” — to work with small businesses. After 10 years of advising, coaching, and salvaging many entrepreneurs I’ve come to two conclusions: 1) Starting and keeping a small business healthy is a crucible of pain and challenge to which few are suited; and 2) The large institutions of government, labor, and finance are antithetical to small business existence.

Despite these dire observations, the resilience of America has always been led by the critical few who move outside the established framework and go somewhere new. We once celebrated pioneers —not the famous ones, but the unnamed ones who slogged the Oregon Trail, farmed the plains, or dealt with the Dust Bowl. We saw an untamed, wide-open frontier called the Internet change our everyday lives, driven by thousands of individuals with the drive to try something new.

America provided the freedom to try. It allowed you to fail or prosper.

Tom Wheeler Makes His Big Move on Net Neutrality…Maybe


The latest bulletin in the net neutrality wars comes in the form of widely circulated story on Wired with the breathless title “FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: This Is How We Will Ensure Net Neutrality.” One-man rule is not in the cards at the FCC, but it seems highly likely that the three-member Democratic majority on the FCC will support this rule, virtually verbatim, regardless of what the two Republican members say or think. The point in this case seems exceptionally clear in light of the major intervention of President Obama and his youthful White House team, who are plumping for the strongest possible forms of net neutrality protection — a gambit which, according to a Wall Street Journal story, was explicitly designed to force Wheeler’s hand.

In dealing with this issue, it is useful to track the arguments that Mr. Wheeler made in his Wired essay, which show something of the confused state of the intellectual debate over the topic.  As is often in these cases, Wheeler begins with a story of the bad old FCC during the 1950s and 1960s when he writes:

Member Post


An active thread, ‘Telephone Land Lines: Yea or Nay,’ asks if you have a land line phone. My question is- What choices and competitors for internet, tv and phone service exist where you live? I live in southern New Jersey in Camden County, not far from Philadelphia, Pa (Comcast’s headquarters). For internet I can get […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

On Net Neutrality, the GOP Is Making a Mistake


Prelude: Troy asked me to adapt this piece from a private thought that I distributed to a conspiratorial listserv of which I am a member. Because I know Troy, I am reasonably confident that he suggested this piece to me principally because it would open me up to immolation at the fingertips of Richard Epstein, whom I have had the pleasure of hosting for dinner in Palo Alto several times, on no occasion succeeding in winning an argument against him. Richard wrote recently on this page that net neutrality is “a solution in search of a problem.”

Conservatives should be for net neutrality. It isn’t a perfect solution, but network discrimination is indeed bad, and the last-mile Internet industry is more like a government whose actions we should seek to restrain than a private market which, unmolested, will constantly improve.

The Internet, Loneliness, and People with Disabilities


shutterstock_184893275I recently wrote a piece at The Federalist about loneliness and internet use and how people might be “connected” to others more than ever before. But, are we “really sharing our lives, or are we just passing information back and forth?”

I argue that the problem with social media is three-fold: “It robs people of the importance of connecting on a physical level; it delays reactions, enabling people to create their own persona and avoid awkward situations that they are forced to deal with in real life; and, more importantly, it fails to cultivate self-knowledge and presence—the key to real human connection.”

When you interact with people face to face, you can’t avoid conflict. You don’t have time. But when you’re online or texting, you can avoid that immediacy and “walk away.” You can make adjustments to how you’re perceived. You can, in a sense, recreate yourself over and over again. This ties back to the point about being known. If we’re always creating an image for others to see or hiding from them, we can’t be truly known. We’re not real. We’re, as Turkle said, a simulation. We isolate ourselves from the very thing we need to grow as fully actualized human beings. It’s when we are known — when we’re, in a sense, exposed — that we mature as we’re challenged to change how we think, how we interact with other people, and how we view ourselves. This growth happens in the context of relationships — in the context of sympathy, compassion, and love.