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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Anyone using the term 'bandwidth hog' forfeits the right to be taken seriously

Yeah, yeah, I know. A coherent policy framework may be too much to expect, given the Harper government's predilections.

But one of the most important steps in building that framework is clearing away the bullshit. We need to dispense with the straw men, and the false assumptions, and the phony analogies, and the red herrings, because all they do is cloud the issue and make intelligent discussion impossible.

I'm talking about the debate over internet access and billing, of course, but those observations could apply to pretty well any policy debate. So, henceforth: anyone who uses the term "bandwidth hog" or suggests that "light users shouldn't have to subsidize heavy users" is guilty of deliberately distorting the issues and attempting to poison the discussion. I'm sorry, but unless you're Ted Stevens, it's not mere ignorance any more.

Emotionally loaded terms such as those are calculated to shift the conversation away from reason and evidence and into volatile territory wherein people are more vulnerable to manipulation. Using them is prima facie evidence of an intention to hijack the discussion, and anyone who keeps throwing them around is not arguing in good faith.

More to come.

(H/t Iain Marlow and The Jurist.)

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