David Barton believes that everything should operate under Biblical principles, and according to Barton, the Bible even has a view on rules for Internet service providers like Net Neutrality. Here’s a hint: the Bible opposes it. As noted in People For the American Way’s new report, “Barton’s Bunk: Religious Right ‘Historian’ Hits the Big Time in Tea Party America,” Barton finds that the Bible always has a pro-corporate, pro-GOP message.
Barton and his partner Rick Green hosted Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) [no relation], a vocal foe of Net Neutrality who has received significant contributions from Net Neutrality opponents like Comcast, Verizon and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. Net Neutrality ensures that Internet service providers can’t charge higher rates for faster delivery of content. The New York Times explains that Net Neutrality allows “Internet users [to] get access to any Web site on an equal basis” and without the policy, service providers can “give preferential treatment to content providers who pay for faster transmission, or to their own content, in effect creating a two-tier Web.”
But David Barton says that the Bible, Ben Franklin and the Pilgrims all opposed Net Neutrality because it violates the rights of huge corporations to charge higher rates and discriminate on content, calling it a “wicked” policy and “socialism on the Internet.” Apparently, the National Religious Broadcasters and the Christian Coalition, two prominent supporters of Net Neutrality, have missed the memo. But, David Barton insists, “’fair’ is a word that no Christian should ever use in their vocabulary”:
Rick Green: Today, David a topic we actually haven’t covered that much, it has to do with the Internet, and it’s called Net Neutrality, a wonderful sounding name-
David Barton: But we talk about it today because it is a principle of free market. That’s a Biblical principle, that’s a historical principle, we have all these quotes from Ben Franklin, and Jefferson and Washington and others on free market and how important that is to maintain. That is part of the reason we have prosperity. This is what the Pilgrims brought in, the Puritans brought in, this is free market mentality. Net Neutrality sounds really good, but it is socialism on the Internet.
David Barton: This is the Fairness Doctrine applied to the Internet, and I’ll go back to what I believed for a long time is: fair is a word no Christian should ever use in their vocabulary. Fair has nothing to do with anything. What you want is justice, you don’t want fairness. Fairness is subjective, what I think is fair, what you think, what happened to Jesus wasn’t fair. That’s right, but we needed justice so God did that for us.
David Barton: This is really, I’m going to use the word wicked stuff, and I don’t use that word very often, but this is wicked stuff.
Even though David Barton claims to know that the Bible is decidedly against Net Neutrality, evidently he has no idea what Net Neutrality is, since he is decrying the policy as “redistribution of wealth through the Internet.”
David Barton: There’s groups out there that their business requires a whole lot more bandwidth than, say, you and I do sending emails. I mean, if you’re Skype, you got a lot of bandwidth being used. If you’re YouTube, you got a lot of bandwidth going with videos. Guess what? You got more bandwidth, you’re going to have to pay a little more.
Oh no. That’s not fair. That’s not Net Neutrality.
Well, if you don’t pay more, these broadband providers say “we’re going to cut you off because you’re using more of our space.” Government says “that’s not fair, you can’t do that.”
Rick Green: So when they say “selectively block,” what they mean is we’re not going to let you choose who you need to charge more to.
David Barton: That’s right, that’s exactly right. I mean, if Skype uses eighty-five percent of the server space, you can’t charge them eighty-five percent of the fees because that would be unfair. And if Skype says “well, we don’t want to pay that,” and you say “well, you’re off our server,” no you can’t do that. You can’t kick them off just because they won’t pay.
I mean, this is crazy stuff. This is redistribution of wealth through the internet and it really is redistribution. This is socialism on the internet