Freetards

Paul Rapp is a local lawyer who writes a column on intellectual property in an “alternative” newspaper, Metroland. One of his 2013 columns started with a vicious tirade against free market economics (or, typically, a caricature thereof) — and its defenders (encompassing virtually 100% of serious economists). Prominent in Rapp’s rant were words like “obscene,” “racist,” “bullshit,” “cretins,” and “freetards.”Unknown

But his main point was to argue that internet service should be a public utility — like telephone and electric service, which society has decided should be universal. And in furtherance of that goal,  some people’s service gets subsidized by others.

However, what Rapp was really concerned about was his own internet service. Massachusetts, he said, “has some public/private thing going on” to run fast connection wires along main roads. But who, he asked, will run the cable (quite expensively) two and a half miles from the main road up to his house — and how will it be paid for? (Not by him, God forbid.)

Unknown-1Paul Rapp is an attorney (who charges for his services) and is presumably not economically disadvantaged. Choosing to live miles from a main road, why does he think he’s somehow entitled to have his costly internet connection paid for by anyone but himself? What would you call someone who wants service provided to him for free?

A freetard?

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6 Responses to “Freetards”

  1. njmolinari Says:

    Unfortunately, it’s people like him who shape public policy by complaining and complaining until someone that has the authority just says, “here, take it and shut up!”.

  2. rationaloptimist Says:

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

  3. Wolfgang Says:

    Well, yes and no. We had the same issue, although our house is only about 3/4 mile to the already existing time-warner service pole. OK, I can accept that someone has to pay for the service, and i was certainly willing to help, but here was their offer:
    1.We needed to get 5 neighbors to agree to the same contract.
    2.We would agree to pay $7500 up front (each!) for installation and then agree to a 3 year contract.
    3.None of what we paid up front would be refunded in the service contract to help defray the installation which would, of course, from that point on, be forever their property.
    Needless to say, we use an “air card” and our neighbors use satellite.

  4. ramblingdon Says:

    Wolfgang – I have seen this kind of inflated charges thrust onto people who live on the edge of a utility’s service area.
    They are telling you that you are paying for “infrastructure expansion”, but in reality they just do not want to deal with individuals. And remember, the Utilities of America are “legal majorities” and can essentially do as they damn well please.
    DON

  5. rationaloptimist Says:

    I think Don means “legal monopolies.” This is true of landline telephone service, but not internet service. (And monopoly utilities cannot “do as they damn well please.” They are heavily regulated, much more so than normal businesses. (I spent my professional career doing that regulation.))

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