Although I understand its necessity, I’m getting quite annoyed at social media. Recently, I’ve been seeing more and more displays of collectivism, as well as panicking over things that are negligible. The recent decisions involving Net Neutrality is one such thing that has caused people to panic in very childish and irrational ways. Posts about it (and other things) are one such thing that has made me come to be annoyed at social media. Many of these posts are from people that I know personally, and their freaking out is nothing I would enjoy experiencing in person. It makes me laugh and cry at the same time.
Allow me to very loosely define what Net Neutrality means and what my position is on it. Net Neutrality refer to a set of restrictions that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have created to make sure that no internet service provider (ISP) can charge outrageous prices (even if they are outrageously low, many do not understand this) for different forms of usage. It is a bit more complicated than that, but that is the main idea of it. Net Neutrality is supposed to prevent ISPs from overcharging and throttling services, but in my experience, this rarely happens.
Because I am an anarcho-capitalist (in the wishful sense, libertarian in the practical sense), I generally do not like when the government gets involved in anything. We have all the tools to govern ourselves, and I would argue that we have had these tools for roughly the last half century. Most of my arguments about Neutrality come from this article, as I will always favor a free market without force from anyone. That being said, I am realistic about the place I live, and I know that more and more people will look to the state to solve all of their problems. I have been aware of this for roughly 20 years now, and I will certainly write about how I came to this epiphany of sorts in the future.
So at the core, I am against Net Neutrality because I am in favor of a laissez-faire market. But one thing I always try to do is look five or so years into the future. And because we generally enjoy relying on the government to make everything “fair,” I knew that the earlier we “lock in” Net Neutrality, the better off we will be in the long term. Yes, it is an inconvenience, but it is a much smaller inconvenience than what we will be facing in the 2020s.
Because Net Neutrality regulations have been (mostly) lifted, here is what I predict will happen: The FCC will eventually come up with a way to manipulate internet usage that will benefit the government much more decisively than any private organization or any consumer. By 2021, much like with the Affordable Care Act, we will have an Affordable Internet Act of sorts, where just like we are currently forced to purchase health insurance or else pay a fine, we will be forced to purchase an internet package (and a really “fast” one, even if you would like something slower/cheaper), or else pay a fine.
And because the government (not the voters, that has not been how any meaningful elections have worked since probably 1948) has decided to remove Net Neutrality at the moment, they will come up with a much more severe form of Net Neutrality that is going to cause inconveniences for everybody in the future. It will be one more thing that contributes to the third item in this article. It is something to be legitimately concerned about if you wish to keep living in the western world going into the 2020s, and especially in the 2030s. Again, this is another thing that I predicted (and have prepared for) years ago, in 2005 or so.
But now, it is time to ask the $50000 question: How do you respond? Do you freak out? Try to contact your congressman or something? Protest? Do you say panicky nonsense like “we have no more internet anymore!!”
None of these are a proper use of energy. None of these give you any solutions. All of these express nothing but wasteful emotions. If you want to respond this way, feel free, but you will not change anything. In the west, the path has already been set, and even if you do respond with violence, you will be seen as a martyr to some but a demon to others thanks to our love affair with collectivism.
So what do you do, other than scream to the rooftops about it?
My answer contains three words: Accept, adapt, adjust.
I will admit, right now: Doing these things is not easy to do. In order to do them, you may need to address things that you are not comfortable addressing. It definitely requires you to be self aware of the things that you may not like about yourself (or things that others do not like). And you must keep your ego in check, making sure that you are never relying too much on your values and principles.
Accepting an event means you need to be objective. It means you need to take your emotions completely out of the unfortunate event that has happened to you. Now I agree that certain events have more gravity than others, but the more objective you can be, the better. This is not easy to do, at least in the traditional sense. Society wants you to react emotionally to everything. Everything is supposed to be the end of the world™ or earth shattering™ or life threatening™ or a threat to our culture.™
Am I saying to not be emotional about anything? Absolutely not. It is healthy to react emotionally to things, so long as they are short bursts and as long as you can respect yourself enough to be aware of the toxicity of your negative emotions. Recently, the lead singer of one of my favorite bands died. It was the only band in my top five that I never saw live. And I let myself get emotional about it; I took some time off to let myself feel the pain of the loss. And now I have accepted it; one of my favorite musicians has died, and now it is time to accept it. I will eventually publish a much more in depth article about how to accept things without freaking out and wasting tons of energy.
Adapting is what you do after you have accepted (objectively, remember) the unfortunate event. When you adapt to something, it means you are taking action to see what kinds of things you must change (if anything) or what kinds of new things (if anything) you should do to be happier in the wake of an unfortunate event. Some events require you to do things that you would never consider doing, and some events require you to just have more discipline. Like with accepting, I intend to publish a more in depth article about this too.
Adjusting is the finishing touch on adapting, and it denotes a very long term lifestyle change. When you develop new habits because your old ones failed you and caused an unfortunate event (this happens to most addicts), you have adjusted. Even something like deciding to move somewhere because the circumstances in the first place you live are not favoring you is a form of adjusting.
Unfortunate events, especially things like the Net Neutrality decision that are not completely under our control, are not things to freak out about. Although the events are unfortunate, and they may not play in your favor, it is a much better use of your energy to objectively find out how these events are going to affect you and what you intend to do about it.