Somebody very unintelligent (well, what can you expect from Inside Higher Ed?) wrote an article praising the idea of taxing the Internet. Of course, this is the kind of person who writes things like “a sharp stratification of economic strata” and “the Internet may now be expected to assume more obligations to give back to global society at large a measure of its collective wealth”, so there is no need to take this person seriously.
However, it is curious how the slogan of “just tax the bastards” is so attractive to certain folks as a way to solve any and all problems that they don’t even stop to consider where encouraging greater governmental regulations of the Internet would leave us all. While some people are bravely fighting off all attempts at Internet censorship, some pseudo-Liberals are so enthralled by the word “taxes” that they don’t stop to evaluate the consequences of the measures they support. Once the government begins to punish certain completely legal online behaviors, censorship will be one step away. And the entities that will suffer as a result will not be Google, Amazon and Facebook. It will be me and you.
Liberals like to consider themselves much smarter than the perennially childish Libertarians. Still, there is no real difference between believing that all taxes are good all of the time and being convinced that all taxes are bad all of the time. Life is a little more complicated than that.