Ron and Rand Paul are set today to shift the central focus of their family's long libertarian crusade to a new cause: Internet Freedom.
Kentucky senator Rand and his father Ron Paul, who has not yet formally conceded the Republican presidential nomination, will throw their weight behind a new online manifesto set to be released today by the Paul-founded Campaign for Liberty. The new push, Paul aides say, will in some ways displace what has been their movement's long-running top priority, shutting down the Federal Reserve Bank. The move is an attempt to stake a libertarian claim to a central public issue of the next decade, and to move from the esoteric terrain of high finance to the everyday world of cable modems and Facebook.
The manifesto, obtained yesterday by BuzzFeed, is titled "The Technology Revolution" and lays out an argument — in doomsday tones —for keeping the government entirely out of regulating anything online, and for leaving the private sector to shape the new online space.
"The revolution is occurring around the world," it 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 quotes Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises and attacks not just the federal government, but also progressive groups that have called for similar measures to keep the Internet largely unregulated: "Today, the road to tyranny is being paved by a collectivist-Industrial complex -- a dangerous brew of wealthy, international NGO's, progressive do-gooders, corporate cronies and sympathetic political elites."
The manifesto lays out five specific battles with government regulation and with liberals who state their goal of online liberty in similar terms, but who view corporate encroachment as a more immediate risk. The Paul manifesto seeks to rein in anti-trust actions against companies in new industries; to stop attempts to impose "Net Neutrality" rules on broadband providers; to prevent government control of online infrastructure; to broaden private control of the wireless spectrum, and shore up "private property rights on the Internet."
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