The Instigator
MistahKurtz
Pro (for)
Winning
46 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Losing
42 Points

Be It Resolved That The Goverment Should Nationalize the Internet.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 16 votes the winner is...
MistahKurtz
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/19/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,127 times Debate No: 9737
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (29)
Votes (16)

 

MistahKurtz

Pro

Let's deal with some definitions;

'This Government' is herein defined as the United States of America, for the sake of simplicity.

'Nationalize' should be recognized as a buy-out of AT&T and Comcast, which accounts for 30% of the U.S market for internet service providers. Entrance to the market should not be restricted and no new regulations shall be put on the rest of the ISPs (internet service providers) in the market.

I would suggest, though not require, that my opponent begin with a constructive argument for their case and leave the deconstruction for the next 3 rounds.

-----

Friends, we find ourselves at a crossroads. The world's most vital technology is at risk. Our national dialog, our freedom of information and our children are at risk. On one side, the large internet service providers are rallying for a new system to government the internet, where an average person must pay for a subscription model to access the internet. Much in the same way one pays for cable, these ISPs want to limit your access to the internet. Consider this; you want to go on youtube, but you can only watch 3 today, unless you want to upgrade to the gold plan for $20 a month more. You want to download a torrent but that's a big no-no in the ISP's eyes, so you can't go on those sites at all. You want to go on skype to talk to your mother across the country, but that cuts into Verizon's long distance calling, so you're blocked from that, too. It's a scary scenario that I think damages the country.

So what should be done? The people must demand that our freedom shall be protected, and a government-run 'public option' must be introduced. Given that AT&T and Comcast already have the infrastructure in place, it makes the most sense to start there. The facts, my friends, are in support of my case.

Firstly, I would like to call attention to a travesty of American society; only 63% of households have high-speed internet. The United States trails the world in broadband penetration and it is hurting American growth. It is limiting our children in their education, it is hurting businesses and it making life more difficult for average Americans. Look, for example, at France. Internet penetration is at 68% and thanks to a recent recognition of high speed internet as human right, DSL in France is not only somewhat cheaper than the same service in American, it is on average more than 5 times faster, and in some places as much as 28 times as fast. In Finland where high speed internet is a legal right, there is 83% penetration. How can this same right be denied in America?

My second point is that of competition. By establishing a large competitor to every other ISP in America, instant pressure is put on them to improve services and lower the needlessly high prices. Given that the government will only be taking on 30% of the market, there is a huge area of opportunity for small, local providers to enter the market. Right now, the current ISPs are not only complacent but in cahoots. Any semblance of real competition is merely a facade, as they are working together to crush net neutrality and establish a subscription model for the internet that will harm the forward-thinking way of life in America.

My final point is that of security. By giving the government a stake in the internet business, the middle man will be cut out. Because the government has a vested interest in the safety of the internet users, it will give the government the opportunity not to censor the internet, but to protect against any illegal elements. That is to say that the government will be given the power to find and punish those in possession of child pornography or other illegal material. This -does not- imply that the government will become the digital Big Brother, but merely that they will continue to the monitor the internet as they do at present, but with more accuracy and openness.

I look forward to my opponent's response.

SOURCES:

U.S broadband penetration; http://www.websiteoptimization.com...
Finland case study; http://cnnwire.blogs.cnn.com...
Internet in France; http://en.wikipedia.org...
DSL speed by state; http://www.speedmatters.org...
DSL prices around the world; http://goldsteinreport.com...
E.U internet stats; http://www.internetworldstats.com...
Danielle

Con

1) First, Pro suggests that the government should buy out the companies of AT&T and Comcast. What Pro is essentially suggesting is that the tax payers should pay money to change the new provider that they're paying to. This is illogical, as the country is currently in an economic crisis. With Pro's plan, all tax payers are contributing a large chunk of money to buy a part of an industry to which they may not necessarily subscribe, i.e. internet. Not everybody chooses to utilize the internet as Pro himself pointed out, so it would be unfair to make these people pay for it.

Taxes are supposed to be kept to a minimum; having the internet is not a right, and as such, the government has no incentive to try and lower costs of the internet. That is for the market to work out on its own. To combat the current high prices of internet, a new company could emerge with lower prices, attract a lot of customers, and in the end prove to be a viable competitor or perhaps even surpass the current alleged oligopoly. That's what Wal-Mart did :)

2) Pro begins his argument by fear-mongering in claiming that technology, our national freedom and even our children are at risk under the current system. First, while technology is important, the internet is not a right like I've said. Additionally, citizens have access to the internet for free at libraries and other public buildings. Moreover, there are internet cafes, free internet for children at schools, etc. Second, we still have national dialog the same as we did (and got by) before the publicity of the internet. We have these things called books, letters, memos, magazines, newspapers, etc. You know - these things that were around and helpful at sparking the French Revolution, for example. Finally, our children are not at risk - this is a blatant exaggeration.

3) Regarding an internet subscription model, that won't happen thanks to market competition. As soon as one company implements that requirement, people will flock membership to the one that doesn't. Additionally, people can always boycott purchasing these internet plans. Instead, they can access the free internet I've mentioned, or - dare I say it - go without their beloved internet for a little while and prove that just as we don't necessarily have the right to internet, we don't have an obligation to pay for it either. This will cost said companies an exorbitant amount of money if everyone complies, and they will revoke the policy. If people don't comply, it will be our tough luck, because in a capitalistic and democratic society, these companies absolutely have the right to charge us for internet use.

Additionally, it should be noted that we already pay a fee to use the internet (mine's about 30 bucks a month), so perhaps this new policy might even SAVE people money. For instance, if they charge 2 bucks per site, and the only sites I frequent from my home are DDO, CNN and Google, then I'd be paying $6 per month for internet instead of 30. I s'pose it depends how these charges are structured though; a policy that Pro nor myself know nothing about at this time. However, keep in mind that even if AT&T or Comcast don't run their policy like that, other new competitors can.

4) Next Pro insists that people must demand that our freedom shall be protected, and a government-run 'public option' must be introduced. First, again, our freedoms are not being threatened; this is a case of appeal to fear/emotion fallacies. Anyway, Pro does not provide an adequate argument as to why a public option would be most beneficial. Here are his claims:

A -- A travesty of American society is that only 63% of households have high-speed internet.

Okay, slavery was a travesty. The Holocaust was a travesty. Having just 63% of U.S. households have high-speed internet is NOT a travesty. Moreover, just because France downloads and uploads at higher speeds is hardly a decent argument for increasing the ever-growing bureaucracy of the U.S. government. If I'm downloading the same music as someone in France and it takes them 2 minutes and me 10 minutes, it's certainly not a gigantic infringement upon my rights or danger to my freedom.

B -- By establishing a large competitor to every other ISP in America, instant pressure is put on them to improve services and lower the needlessly high prices.

I've already detailed how competition in this country works, and why the government paying for Pro's suggested idea is wrong. Further, these companies should already have said incentive thanks to competition.

C -- Because the government has a vested interest in the safety of the internet users, it will give the government more access to what we do on the internet.

What?! The constitution implies a right to privacy, and The Privacy Act of 1974 prevents the unauthorized disclosure of personal information held by the government. Essentially I disagree with Pro - the government absolutely would become a digital Big Brother.
Debate Round No. 1
MistahKurtz

Pro

I thank my wonderful opponent for such a well thought out response, and for making it abundantly clear her Luddite connections.

Side opposition's point is that of cost. She has said that it does not make sense to buy out these industries because the poor tax payer will have to foot the bill. This disingenuous argument forgets a massive factor; the government can do it cheaper. Yes, it will cost the tax payer money to nationalize these industries -in the short term.- Evidently my opponent's shortsightedness here limits her, as it is quite evident that by entering the industry, the government would need no profit. Do you have any idea what sort of profit margins these companies make?

Let's crunch the numbers.

The price for an average, middle of the road DSL connection from AT&T is $25.
AT&T and Comcast both garner 59% profit margins (!!!)
Let's do this simplistically and say that the other 41% represents the upkeep for maintain their DSL service (this is not the case, and it would actually be considerably lower, considering the government does not need lobbyists, advertising, etc.), then the implications are that the government would only aim for 4% profit margins.
That means that people will be paying just over $11/month for DSL (it would realistically be a lot lower, for many reasons.)
By combing AT&T and Comcast, their operating costs can be significantly reduced which would allow for more profit and a lower cost
The companies have a combined profit of $23.743 billion before taxes. Assuming the profit margin is reduced to 4%, that means the companies will have a new profit of $3.5 billion. That's not given a lot of thing that would actually push profit up, so that is very conservative number.
The companies, together, are worth $225.9 billion. Now, given that the government is only nationalizing the ISP portion of these businesses, I am going to hazard a guess and say that the real cost would be something like 40% of that ($90b) and we must do the same to the profits ($1.4b)
And given the reasons I already established and coupled with other factors, the real cost would likely be lower and the profits higher.

So let's recap; the government does a deal that will turn into profit in less than 60 years and costs less than 14% of, say, the overall defense budget. What's more, it reduces the cost of an essential need for all families by $168 a year and of every level of government, who rely on the internet. That's not bad.

My opponent's second points hinges on the idea that people don't -need.- Internet, and that children are fine by being limited. Her argument equates to, "Those poor people are fine without food stamps, there's soup kitchens." The fact is that government should not assume that someone else is providing a need for its people, it should take initiative. Beyond that, my opponent boils down my argument to simply giving everyone internet, which is totally untrue. My argument hinges on the fact that the government can give everyone AND provide it better and cheaper. The internet allows children and adults alike work and learn more productively and make their lives easier. It allows businesses and governments to work more efficiently and it cuts down on operating costs. Hell, it also reduces the amount of physical activities we have to do (ie writing letters, driving to the library, printing books and newspapers, etc.) and helps reduce our carbon emissions.

My opponent's third point is ignorant to reality. These companies have, together been advocating the destruction of network neutrality for years. They are now coming dangerously close to succeeding, and they have every intention of doing it. Because all the large competitors wish to do it, there is no chance for a small provider to come along because starting up as an ISP is wildly expensive and those ISPs who have a subscription model will be making enough money to destroy or buy-out any provider that comes along to try and provide the more user-friendly system.

And yes, people currently pay a monthly fee, but these plans involve -keeping- that fee and than adding more ways to gouge money from users. Loading up Debate.org may be 30 cents. Every refresh will be another 30 cents. This works much in the same way data plans work for a BlackBerry. Good luck watching videos.

"I've already detailed how competition in this country works, and why the government paying for Pro's suggested idea is wrong. Further, these companies should already have said incentive thanks to competition."

While I won't be able to deconstruct my opponent's entire argument at this point; it is this falsehood that must be addressed. There is a natural oligarchy of ISPs in America that completely destroys the idea of 'competition' and free market economics. The barriers to entry are just to high to have real competition.

Sources will be in the comments.
Danielle

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for his well thought out response and making his Bolshevik ideology abundantly clear. I'll continue structuring my argument numerically for clarity and consistency.

1. Pro beings by claiming that the government should be involved in the market because the government "can do it cheaper." Whoa - hello, Communism. Saying "the government can do it cheaper" is a horrible argument. Pro writes, "The fact is that government should not assume that someone else is providing a need for its people, it should take initiative." Again, the internet is not a need! Like I said, the government's only responsibility in a democracy is to protect the rights of its citizens. Because the internet is not a right, the government has no incentive to get involved.

2. Moreover, while Pro accuses me of being short-sighted, he's clearly the one who's wishful thinking. When has the government ever done something without a profit motive? The government's debt is nearly 1.5 trillion dollars. Because politicians can't pay this debt by raising taxes (as doing so hinder their re-election), they're going to ensure that they profit in all of their business endeavors, perhaps not to pay greedy CEOs, but to pay to the State. So, the idea that the government would drastically lower costs is a pipe dream.

3. Next Pro complains about Comcast's profit margins. A business that doesn't think about profit doesn't stay in business. Additionally, Comcast profit margins are less than businesses in many other industries. In fact, they are barely high enough to get people to invest in their stock! People who constantly whine about greed haven't the faintest notion about how business or a capitalist economy works. Here's a clue: If DSL offered service for $11/month as Pro suggested, but Comcast and AT&T provided better service (i.e. faster speed, more options, etc.) but charged $25/month, then people have the option of which they'd prefer. Just because several companies have a lot of business is NOT indicative of a monopoly, oligopoly, etc. and Pro has not proven as such.

4. Pro continues that a government option would "the cost of an essential need for all families by $168 a year." Again, high-speed internet is NOT a need - it's a luxury. At best, it could be argued that this would be a NEED for government officials, whose internet is paid by government tax dollars anyway. Additionally, no one has argued against the government creating a system specifically for itself. A huge reason why that's an important factor is because the opinion of the people is very important to consider in this matter.

For instance, there is a huge divide in our society and our government concerning nationalizing health care let alone the internet! The ideology to combat will be: If the government can get in on the action here, they can justifiably get in on the action anywhere. I mean what's next - government food chains? Pro would say it's unlikely, but hey, at least food is a necessity. If the government implements itself into every aspect of the market, we'll become a Communist nation. This is especially true if the government offers the lowest price in every market, completely eliminating their competitors, and making nearly impossible for small business to compete.

5. Next Pro argues that my ideology is moot because it's impossible for a competitor to compete. First of all, he clearly has no idea how things like the stock exchange and investing work. If you pool resources, get loans, sell stock, etc. then you'd have the funds to make yourself a viable competitor. Second, if the government implements a cheaper alternative, how does Pro expect those businesses to compete OR for other smaller businesses to emerge and compete? Small businesses drive the American economy.

6. Who's to say that the government wouldn't charge per site or download? Moreover, government control = less freedom! They can easily implement censorship and other manipulation.

Conclusion:

Pro dropped many of my arguments, including: The reality that free internet is accessible; Our 'freedoms' are not being threatened as Pro argued in R1; The government would become a digital Big Brother; etc. Additionally, I propose that there are other alternatives to combating this alleged oligopoly, such as boycotts (at least in the household, if not at businesses and schools) - an argument again that Pro has completely ignored. Plus, he mentioned that combined these 2 companies in question have control of 30% of the U.S. market, so about 15% each. What about the other 70%? Worst case scenario, Americans can switch providers. There are companies with even more of an oligopoly-like reign, including telecommunications providers, air lines (Boeing), Dell - IBM, Haliburton, gas stations, etc. Like with these other companies, the government should take measures to regulate the economy; however, creating a public option is not a viable or proper solution.
Debate Round No. 2
MistahKurtz

Pro

My opponent certainly has a well thought out case, I think it would make Senator McCarthy proud.

1. There is an intense, putrid hypocricy in my opponent's argument that I hope everyone is reading into; without the internet, this debate would never take place. Or rather, without the internet, many debates would not be taking place. The internet is the world's larges town hall where anyone and everyone can participate in frank discussion. My opponent belittles this by saying that the internet is not 'needed', but I wonder how often has the requirement been in her life. Has she ever had a school assignment reliant on internet sources? Has she ever carried on a long distance relationship? Has she ever been in a teleconference? Has she ever donated to an online charity that builds schools in Uganda? I would be interested in the answer. It is for these social, political, educational, humanitarian and productivity reasons that the government should benefit the whole and not only nationalize, but -socialize- the internet. Not just take it over for the sake of its own being, but make it open the public for the sake of the public.

2. I would not only accuse the con side of being short sighted, but I can prove it! Herein, she contradicts herself in the span of two sentences;

"When has the government ever done something without a profit motive? The government's debt is nearly 1.5 trillion dollars."

It is quite evident that the debt, while unfortunate, is the evidence that the government is not in it for the profit, but for us. While I don't agree with the size of the debt, I think that the government is right to provide us with more. One of the best ways to give the people more -and- reduce the debt over time is to socialize the internet and ensure an immediate social payoff and an eventual economic one.

3. My opponent here creates an a deplorable scarecrow from my argument. There is nothing wrong with profit; it can be a really great thing to keep our system going. However, should social security have a 59% profit margin? Should Medicare have a 59% profit margin? Should the food stamp program have a 59% profit margin? No! The internet is too important to our democracy and social order to be left to the fickleness of the market and corporate structure.

Furthermore, my opponent says;

"Just because several companies have a lot of business is NOT indicative of a monopoly, oligopoly, etc. and Pro has not proven as such."

I will prove so right now;

The top ten internet service providers in the United States own nearly 70% of the market. The top five own over 56%. Only 11 companies have over one million subscribers and most have no room to expand because they are purely local. Only 12 take at least 1% of the market share. This small group of companies provide internet to tens of millions of internet users, and they want you to pay more for it! By defeating network neutrality, this small groups wants to charge you more and restrict what sites you can go on. Who's to stop them? They have a stanglehold on the market.

4. My opponent's next fallacy is a slippery slope if I ever saw one. She tries to instill fear by promising that the government will take over the entire economy next, which is flagrantly untrue. Perhaps if food in America cost double what it did in the rest of the country, was of vastly inferior quality and held us back in the world, I would advocate a nationalization of that industry. However, that is not necessary because we have a hugely competitive food market that gives our citizens high quality food for reasonable prices while still providing a profit to its shareholders. The ISPs would rather have half of America paying hand-over-fist for service than have everyone paying a reasonable price.

6. The government would never make uses pay per download because we have the tools at our disposal to stop them. If they hike our rates, we'll vote them out of office; simple.

As a conclusion, I have dropped -none- of Con's arguments. I have already established that the 'free' internet of our already underfunded libraries is inconvenient and the cost of the internet itself is burdening our libraries. Let's take another argument that I have apparently 'dropped'

"Additionally, I propose that there are other alternatives to combating this alleged oligopoly, such as boycotts (at least in the household, if not at businesses and schools)"

First, my opponent here agrees with me about the importance of the internet. My opponent doesn't understand that internet in the household is just as important as in businesses and schools as it is at home. Most people would rather, or have to, over-pay for internet than to not have it at all; this is not a decision that they should have to make.

In closing, my opponent's case relies on the fact that people don't need internet. I ask that everyone think about their lives, then think about it without the internet. Thank you.

ISP info; http://bi
Danielle

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent, Mr. Marx, for his presentation thus far.

1. I'll begin by responding to my opponent's proposed "putrid hypocrisy" of my argument. He says that since this debate is taking place on the internet, that the internet must be a right. I stand in firm negation of this absurd and fallacious assertion. Rights are something that you are born with. Access to high-speed internet is not one of them! Regardless of how useful the internet may be or how often we might use it, the internet is not a right. Period.

My opponent's attempt at trying to make it appear so by appealing to its function is ridiculous. He says, "It is for these social, political, educational, humanitarian and productivity reasons that the government should benefit the whole and not only nationalize, but -socialize- the internet." Fortunately, we don't live in a Socialist nation. The ONLY things the government should socialize, if anything, are that which are deemed rights. Because Pro has not and can not prove that having the internet is a right, this is an embarrassing argument on his behalf and one that most definitely belongs to the Con. Further, I'll prove for economic and political reasons throughout this discussion why Pro's proposal would not be a good idea.

2. Next, Pro writes, "I would not only accuse the con side of being short sighted, but I can prove it! Herein, she contradicts herself in the span of two sentences: When has the government ever done something without a profit motive? The government's debt is nearly 1.5 trillion dollars." For now, I'll ignore the fact that Pro completely misused the terms 'short-sighted' and 'contradiction' because this is not an English class, though you'll note that nothing about that statement demonstrated short-sightedness or a contradiction of any kind. Nevertheless, I'll demonstrate how Pro is wrong in this regard. In fact, his statement makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Here he is trying to prove that simply because we have a debt, that the government is obviously not trying to make money. However, what do you think taxes are to begin with? Here in Illinois, they are seeking to raise prices on things like soda. They've already jacked the prices on cigarettes and other things. Now why is the government taxing these items? To profit, to help relieve some of the debt. So, here you'll note that Pro didn't prove a thing.

Also, Pro says, "I don't agree with the size of the debt, I think that the government is right to provide us with more." He wants to give us more debt? Interesting. Additionally, "One of the best ways to give the people more -and- reduce the debt over time is to socialize the internet and ensure an immediate social payoff and an eventual economic one." Ladies and gentleman, you'll note that in absolutely no way, shape or form did Pro prove how socializing the internet will decrease our government debt! Moreover, Pro has failed to detail what this "economic pay off" will entail. Therefore he has earned no credibility what these points and again this argument should go to the Con.

3. My 3rd point was about Comcast profiting less than other businesses, and barely making enough to have shareholders invest in their stock. Instead of responding to this reality, Pro claimed that certain things (like medicare and food stamps) shouldn't have a profit margin to begin with. This draws upon the hasty generalization that programs like this should even exist, let alone profit. Also, Pro is saying that the internet is just as important as health care and food. Before I respond to this accordingly, Pro must prove that this is the case. Also, please cite your sources so I can respond to the bit about the alleged oligopoly from an economic stand point.

4. Pro continues, "She tries to instill fear by promising that the government will take over the entire economy next..." Lol this was after he said in R1 "Our national dialog, our freedom of information and our children are at risk..." lol and implied that our freedom was being threatened. Anyway, no, I did not imply that the government would take over the economy. What I said was that our capitalistic nation calls for there to be no government socialization in any market that the people don't deem to be a right... and again, the internet is not one of them.

5. Pro ignored my 5th point regarding competition and investment.

6. Pro says, "If they hike our rates, we'll vote them out of office; simple." Now there's the idea! Except think of it this way: If private companies do that to us, we'll ditch them (boycotts, switch providers, etc.). Here comes the fundamental difference in our ideologies: "Most people would rather, or have to, over-pay for internet than to not have it at all; this is not a decision that they should have to make." I completely disagree.

I'm out of characters for now, and will conclude all final arguments in the next round from a location with free wireless internet :)
Debate Round No. 3
MistahKurtz

Pro

I would like to congratulate my opponent on the excellent debate, but would ask her to kindly replace Ronald Reagan's corpse back to whence it came.

1. My opponent continues to ignore the fact that access to the internet is a right. Perhaps it is not found within the bill of rights itself, but I would argue that it is a national progression.

For example, the citizen has the right to a fair trail by a jury of his peers, does he not? So, naturally, the government simply ensures that there are enough private corporations to allow the citizen to pay for his trial and receive some form of justice. Correct? No. The government, to ensure this liberty, owns and operates the means of trial by jury, also known as the American legal system.

So given this, what rights are made accessible by the internet? Freedom of press? Certainly. Freedom of expression? Absolutely. Freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, the right to petition; all made accessible and more powerful by the internet. And these rights do not apply only to those with the money, but to everyone. It is abundantly clear that the government recognizes not just the right of the concept but also of its accessibility and facilitation. For my opponent to deny this is two-faced; she supports the idea, but not the practice. I will use her own quote in support of my case;

"The ONLY things the government should socialize, if anything, are that which are deemed rights."

2. My opponent goes on to argue that taxes are proof of a profit motivation. This is inherently false, and I explain so only for her benefit, as most people can instantly see through this. We pay taxes for stuff. That's right, we give the government money so that it may bring back to us a utility. Furthermore, we are to understand that the utility is usually in some way enforcing and strengthening our rights and privileges as citizens. What better than to digitize our more sacred and cherished liberties?

My opponent goes on to take my argument out of context, accusing me of wanting more debt even when I was obviously arguing the contrary. I proved, with mathematical certainty, that socializing the internet will provide us with income. If my opponent failed to read this, that is not my concern. I want more services and less debt, isn't that true of every citizen? Everyone except my opponent, that is, who seems to want nothing for her money.

3. My opponent's 'refutation' of my claims relies only on her already established, already proven fallacious and incorrect points. I have identified that the internet should not turn an overall profit because it provides us rights, therefore it is a mechanism of the bill of rights and therefore not open to private enterprise. My opponent ignores this and tries to force my into arguing that the internet is more important food, which I have never stated. My argument is that the internet, just as food stamps and medicare, helps us to realize our enshrined rights as citizens. Furthermore, my opponent attacks me for not providing a source that I did provide.

5. My opponent's avocation for competition needs no refutation because I agree with it; I have already argued for competition between the government and the other providers. Because the government has no real interest in attracting new people, merely with providing the option, it need not become mobile in the market. Therefore, the other companies will have the opportunity to provide specialized, and maybe even better services for those who want to pay. By my opponent's logic, Wal-Mart should not be allowed because it kills competition, when in fact there is a fierce crowd of companies who are locally competing quite strongly with the corporate giant.

6. My opponent returns to harping about the nice idea of voting with the almighty dollar. However, she forgets that in this oligopoly, there is no hope for the consumer to effectuate real change because almost every single comerical ISP is out to screw you. They are steadily making you pay high rights, more often and for less services. Where else are you going to go?

My argument boils down to this, my friends; the internet provides us access to so many rights so easily that it, in itself, is a right. Therefore, just like the government provides the utilities and due process to, say, protect against illegal search and seizure, the government should be giving to us the ability to realize the highest possible level of free speech and freedom of expression. While the economic and educational (which my opponent has not refuted) benefits are multi-fold, the government -must- socialize the internet for the sake of the rights that we are born with.

Thank you.
Danielle

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent, Mr. Lenin for this debate, and encourage him to take his Che Guevara mask off and get some fresh air, since it's not even Halloween yet! Now let's get back to the debate...

1. We once again find ourselves in perhaps the most indicative argument of this debate: whether or not access to high speed internet is a right. Again, I stand in FIRM negation. You'll notice that Pro cited the example of one's "right to trial" and yet I have no idea why; there is absolutely no connection. All he did was prove that people have some rights - and I agree with him - but still, access to the internet is not one of them. Rights are things that you are born with; they're moral principles sanctioning one's freedom of action in a social context. In that regard, a right to trial exists. A right to the internet does not. Rights say that morally certain actions are right, and all other actions that forcibly interfere with those actions are wrong. Nobody is forcibly interfering with Pro or anyone else from accessing high speed internet (which would be the only argument), so therefore his point fails.

2. Pro maintains that the government should socialize the internet, because any "profit" i.e. higher ratio of gain than what was invested would go towards giving us (citizens) things that provide utility. I'll begin by quoting Robert Scheer -- "What is proposed is not the nationalization of private corporations, but rather a corporate takeover of government. The marriage of highly concentrated corporate power with an authoritarian state... is more accurately referred to as "financial fascism" [than socialism]. After all, even Hitler never nationalized the Mercedes-Benz company, but rather entered into a very profitable partnership with the current car company's corporate ancestor, which made out quite well until Hitler's bubble burst."

Additionally, if the government socializes the internet, the competition will be eliminated (Americans would not choose the option with the higher cost). So, what is the incentive for this government to create better and more productive services? Moreover, capitalism gives people the opportunity to dictate the market via supply and demand. Without competition, my #2 point remains: How do we know that the government won't raise its prices drastically at a later point - say when the competition has been eliminated - or even kept it JUST below the other competitors? That would make the entire thing not worth it, as we have no incentive to socialize something and limit our freedoms if we're not even getting huge monetary gains. Socializing puts economics in the hands of the government and not the people.

3. Here we are again. Pro thinks that the internet should not turn an overall profit because it provides us rights. Okay, lawyers defend our rights too, and yet they still profit. Are lawyers and judges not "mechanisms of the Bill of Rights?" Plus, I'd agree that the internet is a so-called mechanism of our rights (though I think that applies to nearly everything), and as such, I believe that we all have the RIGHT to purchase internet services. This premise completely negates the conclusion to his entire argument and debate.

4. Pro didn't respond to my 4th point, so.

5. First of all, I don't think there's anything wrong with Wal-Mart. In fact, my R1 argument SPECIFICALLY said, "To combat the current high prices of internet, a new company could emerge with lower prices, attract a lot of customers, and in the end prove to be a viable competitor or perhaps even surpass the current alleged oligopoly. That's what Wal-Mart did :) " I maintain this argument as a reason for how and why the free market could lower the cost of the internet. Also, Pro said that socializing would lead other companies to create a better service and product. This premise alone completely destroys his argument, as that very same incentive exists today without socialization. Moreover, if a drastically superior product is created, then it's reasonable to assume Pro would want to socialize that too. After all, he's arguing for socialization on the base of human necessity. If a better, more popular item became the norm as the internet has, he'd want to socialize that out of "necessity" as well.

6. Pro said that if the government hikes up internet rates (which I posed as a potential problem), we'll simply vote the politicians out of office. What I said was that by these private companies hiking up our rates, we could effectively do the same thing via boycotts, switching providers, etc. The reality is that we're too apathetic to do it. Why would it be any different with politicians? Also, again this very argument put forth by Pro destroys his own. Say the Government and Comcast were 2 providers. The costs suddenly skyrocketed for both, and the people demanded change. The government said No. Then what? We'd be forced to make a choice, which has been my proposal all along.
Debate Round No. 4
29 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by johngriswald 7 years ago
johngriswald
This wasn't a debate, this was a conversation with blindness.
Posted by MistahKurtz 7 years ago
MistahKurtz
Ooooh. 3 points. That hurts.
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
I didn't know we had such a big group of socialists on this site. Interesting.
Posted by MistahKurtz 7 years ago
MistahKurtz
Sorry I'm so late replying, grumpy. I am actually just recovering from the swine flu.

"Pro, your arguments really did not address the issue of extending Broadband (or even dial-up) to many of the people living in the very rural areas of the country. Merely contending that it is a right (erroneously, IMHO) would still not physically get the fiber optic cables into their homes. The only recourse at present for these areas appears to be Hughesnet. Since I am certain the government had something to do with getting that bird into space, perhaps you could make a case for their getting their political fingers in THAT pie."

Well in all debating training I've ever had, it's been rammed into my brain; "Never, ever make a plan!" Basically, if you start detailing exactly -how- you're going to do everything, you find your opponent suddenly has more to attack you with. Also, even if I did want to, I probably wouldn't be qualified, considering I'm not America (i.e. I have no idea what Hugesnet is.)

I was also restricted by my own word limit, so I tried to establish a case for the plan, if you will. I gave all the reasons why it should be done and none of the data on how we were going to do it, which is per usual in the early stages of government planning, debate, etc.
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
Aw, thanks, Grumpy. To clarify, the smiley face was meant as non-combative :)

A lot of people here are regular debaters at their HS and whatnot, and as such often participate in LD debates and the like, which they usually specify at the beginning of the round. I have personally never done any formal debating aside from this website, so I have no idea how an LD debate is even supposed to be conducted. In that case, I just argue my POV here and then include sources and links to reference my statistics, quotes or other information that I utilized throughout the round.
Posted by Grumpy 7 years ago
Grumpy
"This is a debate; not a research paper. I don't have to tell why OTHER people agree with me, but rather defend my POV :)"

Does the ":)" at the end indicate that the above quotation was made "tongue-in-cheek" or merely to indicate non-combative? If the latter, then I guess, based upon the fact that no one has refuted your statement, I owe you and the rest of the group an apology. It was my understanding that the debates engaged in here on Debate.org were expected to be conducted like a "true" (meaning LD, CX, etc) debate with points gained from, among other things, "reliable sources", in this case usually hyperlinks. I have only been a member for a bit over a week and made my assumptions based upon many of the debates I followed during that time.

Again, my apologies and i will not criticize on that basis again. BTW, the arguments based on your knowledge were excellent, even without "refs."
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
That's interesting! I pay about 30 bucks a month for my internet. Regarding the references, I didn't use any sources because I didn't cite anything! All the information I put forth was generated from my own knowledge, and we mostly spent time dissecting the cost/benefit analysis and arguing over whether or not high speed internet was a right. I could have easily found a website that said it wasn't, put a quote in there and referenced it, but I generally think that practice simply for the purpose of providing sources is inefficient and sometimes ineffective. This is a debate; not a research paper. I don't have to tell why OTHER people agree with me, but rather defend my POV :)
Posted by Grumpy 7 years ago
Grumpy
"First- what's "refs?" I'm not familiar with the term."

Sorry about that. "Refs" = References = Sources

"Admittedly I was unaware that there wasn't competition in states like MO. Why is that?"

Not the whole state, Just many of the rural Areas. Standard wire Broadband only works up about three miles from the origin. After that it is only Dial-up and slow DU at that. Due to bit of legislative action last year my Broadband fee was reduced to "only" $42.00 per month.Previously it was 49.95/mo and still required that I have a telephone service as well. BTW, I live 1 mile outside the city limits.

To be perfectly fair, they are currently laying fiber throughout the county and expect to be providing DSL throughout the rural area in a few months. No word yet what the cost will be, though.
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
Thanks for the RFD, Grumpy, even if you couldn't vote :)

First- what's "refs?" I'm not familiar with the term.

Second - Admittedly I was unaware that there wasn't competition in states like MO. Why is that? I'm from New York and figured that you guys would have the same options. I suppose I was ignorant to that reality; however, I don't see why a company wouldn't just mosey their way over to MO, offer a slightly lower price, and make out :) I guess I considered that my proposed solution. Also, boycotts are another proposed solution. It would be obnoxiously inconvenient, but I'm sure the blacks who walked everywhere in the '60s felt the same way :P

Nevertheless, I appreciate the feedback. We could use more Grumpy's around here!
Posted by Grumpy 7 years ago
Grumpy
Well, I tried to vote but I never got a confirmation number on my cell phone so...

I will critique both sides from my point of view.

Pro, you have a couple of misspelled words and a number of grammatical errors, but
Con, so do you.
So I called S/G a tie.

Pro, your refs were good
Con, you seemed to have forgotten refs
So I give this one to Pro

Pro, your arguments really did not address the issue of extending Broadband (or even dial-up) to many of the people living in the very rural areas of the country. Merely contending that it is a right (erroneously, IMHO) would still not physically get the fiber optic cables into their homes. The only recourse at present for these areas appears to be Hughesnet. Since I am certain the government had something to do with getting that bird into space, perhaps you could make a case for their getting their political fingers in THAT pie.
Con, in spite of merely verifying that High-Speed Internet access is not a constitutional right and simply letting competition (which, in many places is totally non-existent, [like here in rural MO where one telephone company controls total access]) I would have liked to see an alternative solution offered to extend competition where none currently exists.
So I called that a tie.

In closing, I congratulate you both and thank you for a most interesting and delightful debate. This could and should be provided to all high school and college debate teams as an example of how two diametrically opposed views can be debated without rancor and malice pervading each and every statement.

Thank you.
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