Net neutrality is an odd issues because it correctly identifies some problems that do take place on the Internet – blocking, throttling, and leveraging platform dominance – while attributing them to the wrong parties. I
Some subjects are so emotional that simply raising them, truthfully or not, tends to influence is in the direction of figures that stake out extreme positions. Remaining silent on all matters of great public concern doesn’t feel like a winning strategy, however.
The Obama FCC admitted that it could not find the sweet spot. In the 2015 Open Internet Order, former Chairman Wheeler simply claimed regulatory authority to sanction firms for behaviors he could not anticipate. Rather than creating bright line rules, Wheeler raised his voice and issued threats. Angry threats have subsequently become the preferred way to regulate not only the Internet but its regulators as well. This is not productive, but it’s the road chosen by many.
California simply has some motivated politicians seeking to capitalize on the state’s animus toward the FCC, Washington, the Red States, and the Trump Administration with a symbolic act of rebellion. Net neutrality is a California export, so in some sense it’s fitting for it to come home.