The Right To Surf

Meet John Smith. John is a surfer by trade. He dreams of competitive surfing; his walls are decorated with posters of famous surfers. But he has just one problem: here in his home town of Dubuque, Iowa, he can only surf small streams and brooks. “Sometimes, I just stand there on my board, waiting and waiting for some kid to throw a rock so I can have a ripple to surf on,” says Smith, a vacant, far-away look coming into his grey eyes. “I bring a book with me to kill time. It’s sad and frustrating. We don’t have access to high-speed, high-volume waves here in Dubuque. My kids ask me when we’re going to get them. I tell them, I just don’t know.”
But help is on the way: the Obama Administration promises to use billions of dollars in stimulus funds to build professional-quality wave machines in every zip code by 2014, to help connect surfers like John Smith to the world wide wave culture.
Seriously, this CNN sob story about lack of high-speed internet access in some markets is not much better. We’d all like to see more high-speed broadband, but since when is it a right guaranteed by the federal government? And is Uncle Sam really not spending enough money already on things we might want but don’t need?

9 thoughts on “The Right To Surf”

  1. Call it “The War for High-Speed Internet”, tell the public Al-Quaeda supports dial-up, and (as long as it includes a massive taxpayer give-away to private corporations) the MSM will help you question the patriotism of anyone who doesn’t support it.

  2. High-speed internet in rural areas wouldn’t be high on my list for public spending either. Sure, there are argument for better access, but this isn’t exactly a crisis.
    And it must cost quite a bit to expand access via wires to all those far-flung, remote places. Especially when satellite is available. If you are going to bother doing anything about it, I imagine it’d be far cheaper to subsidize the satellite. But certainly not at the federal level.

  3. More bread-and-circuses to disguise the gradual and inevitable loss of personal freedom that follows from the absurd notion that government exists to provide us with stuff. Be careful, you might get called a Luddite for opposing such nonsense.

  4. The more I think about it, the more it bothers me. Especially when the article mentions a Pew survey that the majority of Americans who don’t have it, don’t want it. By all means, let spend a ton of money to provide access to a service that people don’t want.

  5. It’s pretty easy for “pull up the ladder Jack, I’m OK” conservatives to poke fun at initiatives like this and there surely are other initiatives that some would consider higher priorities, but you’ve obviously not spent much time in these parts of the country. When your options for shopping are WalMart or driving for hours to a “major” city, and your kids fall behind urban and suburban kids with access to the internet, you might have a different view,
    RW, when “property (money)” is paid in taxes, it’s not yours anymore, it belongs to the whole.

  6. Well, speaking as someone who lives in a rural area, it really sucks not being able to get broadband. (I actually have Satellite, which is fast, but is capped at 400 megabytes a day, so can’t actually use it to do anything requiring speed)
    You miss out on so many things, both culturally and education wise. Youtube for instance, seems to have changed politics. But if you don’t have broadband you can’t experience it.
    Education – online universities and such. Sorry.
    Is it a right? No. But it’s probably just as important as other things that government provides: education, access to utilities (electricity, anyway), roads, and so forth.
    It’s put it up there with libraries, actually. Especially as these days libraries are little more than free movie rental places than anything else these days. Is there a right to free movie rentals? But no one seems to complain about that (except me).

  7. Last time I looked the Govt doesn’t provide internet access or utilities-private companies do. And do we really want to talk about the failed money hole known as the the public school system? Thats why the unions and the dems are so oppossed to anyone that tries to break up their near monopoly with school choice, charter schools, vouchers for private or parochial schools, etc. BTW-roads used to be constructed by and maintained by private operators. Need to

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