The Technology Revolution: Ron Paul takes libertarian cause online

Republican Presidential hopeful U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (AFP Photo / T.J. Kirkpatrick)
Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty has released a new manifesto, entitled “The Technology Revolution.” It addresses the issue of Internet overregulation, and stresses the importance of preserving the private sector online.

­The manifesto essentially argues that the libertarian principle of minimal government oversight is very much applicable to the online world. The government should not try to exceed its constitutional powers, and should leave the Internet in the hands of individuals and private companies, the paper argues.

This [technology] revolution is occurring around the world,” the paper reads. “It is occurring in the private sector, not the public sector. It is occurring despite wrongheaded attempts by governments to micromanage markets through disastrous industrial policy. And it is driven by the Internet, the single greatest catalyst in history for individual liberty and free markets.

The manifesto underscores the fact that technology revolutionaries such as Apple and Microsoft succeeded without the help of a big government, support Paul claims would stifle innovation.

Technology revolutionaries succeeded not because of some collectivist vision that seeks to regulate ‘fairness,’ ‘neutrality,’ ‘privacy,’ or ‘competition’ through coercive state actions, or that views the Internet and technology as a vast commons that must be freely available to all, but rather because of the same belief as America’s Founders, who understood that private property is the foundation of prosperity and freedom itself,” the document says. “Technology revolutionaries succeed because of the decentralized nature of the Internet, which defies government control.”

Paul's supporters blame “Internet collectivists” and the government, as well as some private corporations seeking to use the cudgel of the state to hamstring competitors, for using the “language of freedom and liberty” to establish centralized control over the Internet.

The claim that concepts like “openness,” “net neutrality,” “Internet freedom” and a “right to privacy” have been used to justify the government’s increasing interference online, to the harm of the private sector.

For example, many companies are required to “share” with their competitors because of certain government regulations. Paul's supporters claim that companies that have seen mushrooming success in frontier industries suffer because of antitrust actions in the name of “fairness” and “competition.

The document maintains that the state should remain something of a night watchman – even online.

The role of the government on the Internet is to protect us from force and fraud, not to decide our interests,” It states. “As a matter of principle, we oppose any attempt by Government to tax, regulate, monitor, or control the Internet, and we oppose the Internet collectivists who collaborate with the government against Internet freedom.”

This is our revolution… Government needs to get out of the way,” the manifesto concludes.

The document is largely seen as a response to the Declaration of Internet Freedom, which was signed by prominent organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Amnesty International, as well as Internet companies such as Mozilla.

Unlike that document, “The Technology Revolution” stresses the benevolence of corporations online and opposes attempts to have the government keep them under any kind of control.

The Campaign for Liberty was founded in 2008, and has been focused on a number of issues. One of its most famous initiatives was a push for more transparency of the Federal Reserve. Respective bills were introduced in both the House and the Senate, but have yet to be adopted. Experts say the manifesto paves the way for a new cause in the new decade, Buzzfeed reports.  

Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) has long been campaigning for less government involvement, and has opposed spending, including on military campaigns. He has opposed a number of measures that sought to establish greater government control over the Internet, such as SOPA, PIPA and CISPA. He is still formally registered as a Republican candidate for president, though the nomination is all-but-certain to be obtained by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Paul decided not to run for re-election in the House, meaning that he will retire once his term is up. However, his son Rand Paul was elected to the Senate, representing Kentucky in 2010. Insiders believe Rand Paul may take up the cause for a deregulated Internet in the coming years.