Andrew Orlowski has outdone himself in this admirable summary of the FCC’s expected ruling on Comcast:
The landmark decision draws together two strands of policy – one old and specific to the US, and one new and widespread.
I’ve noted before how American politics are largely fought through symbolic gestures. Think of the bitter fights over the wording on the US currency, or inscriptions on public statues. The Neutrality campaign was similarly engaged in a symbolic battle.
But the other aspect is more disturbing. Britain’s equivalent of the FCC, Ofcom, prides itself on what it calls “evidence-based policy making”. It may not always succeed, but it’s a tradition based on empiricism. With “Net Neutrality”, what we’re seeing is the opposite, where the direction is set on a hunch or intuition, or the angst of a mob, and the facts cherry-picked to support the conclusion. The definition of harm and “busting” are great illustrations. Call it “policy-based evidence-making”, if you like.