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INTERNET GOVERNANCE: WHY PLATO IS STILL RELEVANT
Dr. Konstantinos Komaitis TABLE OF CONTENTS I. II. III. IV. V. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................ 134 CULTURE VS. INFRASTRUCTURE .................................................................................. 136 “LAW OF FASHION” VS. GLOBAL PARTICIPATION ......................................................... 138 “IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE” – JUSTICE AS A MEANS OF ENFORCEMENT....................... 145 CONFLICT AND PROGRESS ........................................................................................... 148

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INTERNET GOVERNANCE: WHY PLATO IS STILL RELEVANT
Konstantinos Komaitis*
In December 2008, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has successfully completed its third installment on issues pertaining to Internet governance. The IGF promotes a multistakeholder environment, where protagonists engage in an extensive debate to discuss how the Internet should look in the future; with these discussions in place issues of cultural diversity and cultural relativism become more relevant than ever before. However, culture is normally followed by zeal; zeal to preserve it and to adhere to its historical significance. This is like a Damocles sword, since tradition and its relative - custom - can potentially prohibit progress and pose threats to social structures; more precisely, in international environments, like the Internet, certain traditions can be mistakenly considered as more valuable and exhibited thereon as more ‘exclusive’ than others. This being the case, it is undeniable that custom not only will play a significant role in the governance of the Internet, but this role will, in turn, be able to determine the dynamics within its structure. This paper discusses the influential role of custom and its effects within the society of Internet Governance; it then proceeds to discuss an interpretation of justice, which demonstrates the way custom might be enforced and imposed upon various subjects. Finally, this paper shows that these conflicting customs should not necessarily annihilate multiparticipatory governance structures, rather assist in their progress.

I. INTRODUCTION Societies are fluid structures built on multi-tier institutional levels that are formalised through patterns of relationship between individuals and are inspired by the catalytic influence of organic “artefacts” such as tradition and custom. The Internet constitutes a unique society having its genesis formalised through a matrix of relationships and being codified through a complex and diverse range of institutions. Like any society that needs a governance structure to ensure its smooth function and evolution, the Internet calls for governance that will reflect its capabilities and endorse its international character. The society of the Internet manifests the efforts that have conspired to create a world where time and distance are sidestepped. Older means of social interaction and communication have been replaced, new business models introduced, innovation has flourished and issues of globalisation and international cooperation have, in turn, become more relevant than ever before. Historically, the Internet reflected western ideas and axioms, since ARPANET and The Well through Silicon Valley, B2B, equity and latterly streaming media and Web 2.0. The Internet is no longer – however it is plumbed – strictly western. Web 2.0 is global and, thus, its governance arrangements should echo its global nature. Nowadays, reference to the Internet generates a series of issues that range from access to diversity to equality and innovation. The emergence of these values, amongst other similar ones, has proven to become the catalyst for the deliberative conviction of the Internet as a society. The commercial Internet was intentionally created as a society to reflect all these issues and has experienced a quick expansion because it is bound by technological advancement. Unlike other restrictive and more controlled societies, like religious ones, whereby restriction is manifested through the premise of a shared vision, the Internet’s single restriction focuses on admittance
(LLM, LLM, PhD), Lecturer IT&T Law, University of Strathclyde, The Law School, 141 St. James Rd, Glasgow, G4 0LT, UK. The author would like to thank Ph.D. candidate Alexandros Koliousis for his input on some issues of a more technical nature.
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depending on the degree of the available infrastructure. As long as the user is equipped with the appropriate platforms, admittance and participation in the society of the Internet is guaranteed. This open-ended participation, however, has been responsible for the collision of various societies, traditions and customs. By inviting various and divergence traditions and customs to contribute to the aforementioned values and to the evolution of the Internet, the society of the Internet has opened a Pandora’s Box of how these different, albeit significant, traditions and customs will merge. The Internet’s tradition is shaping to no longer be restricted to the western hemisphere, with infrastructure currently being established in remote parts of the world and with the Internet becoming a tool for economies, Realpolitik and individual societies. The current shape of Internet Governance does, a priori, mirror an attempt to adhere to this new tradition and, to this end, inclusion becomes a constitutional principle, whilst ensuring that all protagonists are engaged in a productive dialogue. The current working definition of Internet Governance is, in essence, an open invitation to all interested parties. It provides that: “Internet governance is the development and application by Governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.”1 Practically, however, this arrangement creates similar concerns to other governance models and raises questions concerning how equal, in reality, the role of the various participants is and the influences and agendas they are bringing to the arrangement. Can more vulnerable voices actually be heard? Foucault believes that the “art of government, instead of seeking to found itself in transcendental rules, a cosmological model, or a philosophico-moral ideal, must find the principles of its rationality in that which constitutes the specific reality of the state.”2 The art of Internet governance is that it lacks a cosmological model and it is not bound by transcendental principles – it is actually build upon a single premise: inclusion. By alleviating the feeling of exclusion, this new-formed tradition of Internet governance hopes to engage the various stakeholders in a constructive debate for the sake of the Internet. It asks them to use their experience and enthusiasm, their thirst and passion - simple tools at their disposal that will allow the smooth function of the Internet. However, the Internet Governance debate has reached a significant point, similar to the one that has inspired Plato to write the Republic. Conscious of the influence of custom and the detrimental effect it can have upon its subjects, Plato questioned custom. Accepting custom plays a pivotal role in our lives, because of its association with tradition and identity, he delineates hypotheses on how custom has blinded the Athenians and has prevented them from respecting their peers. Here, in this context, our question is whether, within Internet Governance, custom poses an equivalent threat to the virtual republic of the Internet. At this stage, it has to be clarified that the aim of this paper is not to provide an account of what custom exactly is or to delineate its precise definitional scope; rather it accepts custom as a given fact within societal structures and seeks to identify its influential power and the way it manages to inspire its subjects. By custom we mean the locus of thought and behaviour that has
Second Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, Tunis, Alg., November 16-18, 2005, Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, U.N. Doc. WSIS-05/TUNIS/DOC/6(Rev. 1)-E ¶ 34, available at http://www.itu.int/wsis/docs2/tunis/off/6rev1.pdf (last visited Mar. 30, 2009) [hereinafter Tunis Agenda]. 2 Michael Foucault, Power: Governmentality, in 3 ESSENTIAL WORKS OF FOUCAULT 1954-1984 201, 213 (James D. Faubion ed., Penguin Books, New York, 1994).
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become diffused in society through historical patterns of individual-to-individual or collective-to-collective socialisation. We mean “traditional standards,” the Macintyrian practices, which are fundamentally standards of excellence that follow us throughout our entire lives and find their reasoning in tradition. Therefore, one of the questions facing Internet Governance mirrors that faced by societies since ancient times: to what extent should custom be allowed to shape how the Internet is governed? Is the Internet a different kind of society – qualitatively speaking – so that custom ought to have a greater or lesser role in its governance than is appropriate in other types of society? Probably yes – but, essentially, the Internet is like every other society, founded upon similar concepts (tradition and custom, institutionalisation, collectivism, etc) and experiencing challenges similar to other societies (role of custom, division of powers, etc). One major distinction between the Internet and other societies is that, from its inception, it is more international and diverse, with no real sense of “strong solidarity,” an omission, which allows issues of custom to become even more problematic. Irrespective of its international characteristics, the tradition of Internet governance has been significantly national until only recently. The removal of the Internet’s components out of the military signified the need for governance with the United States Department of Commerce (DoC) steering the wheel and private or quasi-private entities, like the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) playing a rather controversial role in its governance. Over the past few years though, the Internet tradition has gained its merited global character and has paved the way for the establishment of international participatory Internet Governance Forums (IGF) and has invited us all to make our contribution. However, tradition is normally followed by zeal; zeal to preserve it and to adhere to its historical significance. This is like a Damocles sword, since tradition and its relative – custom – can potentially prohibit progress and pose threats to social structures; more precisely, in international environments, like the Internet, certain traditions can be mistakenly considered as more valuable and exhibited thereon as more “exclusive” than others.3 This being the case, it is undeniable that custom not only will play a significant role in the governance of the Internet, but this role will, in turn, be able to determine the dynamics within its structure. This paper discusses the influential role of custom and its effects within the society of Internet Governance; it then proceeds to discuss an interpretation of justice, which demonstrates the way custom might be enforced and imposed upon various subjects. Finally, this paper shows that these conflicting customs should not necessarily annihilate multi-participatory governance structures, rather assist in their progress. II. CULTURE VS. INFRASTRUCTURE Before I begin my discussion on the effect that culture and tradition have on the Internet Governance arrangement as a political institution, we need to realise that small steps of Internet penetration have already started at the level of its infrastructure where cultural diversity seems to determine issues concerning its topology as well as the Root’s expansion. The Internet might be “intelligent,” but behind this “intelligence” hides a very precise and coherent infrastructure
3 See, e.g., William J. Drake, Reframing Internet Governance: Fifteen Baseline Propositions, in INTERNET GOVERNANCE: A GRAND COLLABORATION 122 (Don MacLean ed., The United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force, New York 2004) (indicating that there is a division of powers amongst the various stakeholders, both at an individual and collective level, and the need for such a divide is to get narrower).

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without which the Internet can simply not function. If culture is like a virus, then it seems that it has infected the Internet at its core. Let’s look at the current state of the infrastructure’s topology. There is a noticeable move of the infrastructure, which, in the past, was mostly evident in the North America region, towards Asia, and more particularly in the Asia-Pacific area.4 The insight of this trend is quite revealing in that the graphic dimensions of “peering richness and geographic information” demonstrate that the core-centric nature of some Autonomous Systems (ASes) is still to be identified in the North American Region. Although there is not a significant change from the equivalent 2007 study, this new research also identifies a noticeable shift of the ASes in Asia: “they have smaller outdegree, and the highest degree ASes in Asia are different from the ‘big guys’ from last year.”5 This is merely conclusive of a culture-driven change in infrastructure; however, it is certainly an indication of a much larger user demand in these areas. This practically means that more Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are established in these regions and their behaviour and relationships will be national, in compliance with the nomos of a specific country. An ISP in China, for instance, will provide services targeting the Chinese audience and their needs. Therefore, the more the user demand, the more funding will be provided by governments and the more ISPs will be established, which, nonetheless, will have to comply with the governments’ applicable laws and cultural desideratum. Additionally, the infrastructure of the Internet moves towards a more centric, culturebased system through the expansion of the DNS Root servers. Initially, when the commercial Internet was still considered mainly a Western privilege, the majority of the13 existing Root Servers were located in the United States, where the number of users was much higher compared to the rest of the world. Currently and as the number of users increases in other parts of the world, most notably in countries like China and India,6 governments invest money to host Root Servers so as to correspond to the increase of user traffic.7 Therefore, national governments invest money and begin to have the capacity to customize the Internet according to their culture and enforce their demands, like it happened with the notorious cases of big corporations, such as Microsoft, Google and Cisco, and their surrender to China’s impositions of culture and tradition. At another level of the Internet’s infrastructure we see custom having a more obvious impact in the case of the ccTLD space and the way websites accustom their platforms and organise their databases. The Internet content (after all, the Internet is all about information) is driven by customs since, for instance, {.gr} pages and {.uk} pages differ as a library in Greece would differ from one in the UK. Although both pages, under their ccTLDs, are internationally accessible, the content offered answers to certain cultural and historical demands that can only be fully understood by a certain segment of Internet users. In such instances, the international character of the Internet succumbs to a certain tradition by adjusting its infrastructure. And, more often than not, ccTLD websites provide their information to the language of a particular ccTLD,

4 See IPv4 Internet Topology Map, http://www.caida.org/research/topology/as_core_network/pics/ascoresimple.2008_big.png. 5 Visualizing IPv4 Internet Topology at a Microscopic Scale, http://www.caida.org/research/topology/as_core_network/. 6 Steve Gibbard, Geographic Implications of DNS Infrastructure Distribution, 10 THE INTERNET PROTOCOL JOURNAL 12, available at http://www.cisco.com/web/about/ac123/ac147/archived_issues/ipj_10-1/ipj_10-1.pdf (last visited Apr. 5, 2009) 7 World Internet User Statistics News and World Pupulation Stats, http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm.

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contravening, this way, the - admittedly controversial - use of English as the Internet’s working language.8 In all these cases, culture has penetrated and transmogrified the multinational Internet into a more local, tradition-based tool through its infrastructure. If, then, culture has already punctured the heart of the Internet how could a multi-stakeholder model provide answers to the issue of Internet Governance? What does culture mean and why can it be so forceful? The main thesis of this paper is that custom and tradition not only establish a moral authority but they also determine the Internet’s structural and political arrangement as well as issues of legitimacy. III. “LAW OF FASHION” VS. GLOBAL PARTICIPATION “What is at stake is far from insignificant: it is how one should live one’s life”9 Macintyre’s philosophy provides a strong case for the idea that tradition and custom are not just valid forms of governance, but that any attempt to govern behaviour that is not completely grounded in these will fall apart – it will have no moral authority. In contrast to the philosophy of the Enlightenment years, Macintyre suggests that: “There is no standing ground, no place for enquiry, no way to engage in the practices of advancing, evaluating, accepting and rejecting reasoned argument apart from that which is provided by some particular tradition or other.”10 Those operating outside tradition lack basic rational, as well as moral, resources for enquiry. Macintyre rejects detached objectivity. Tradition for him is the means for rational enquiry and progress may only be achieved through participation in the internal dialectic, or “conflict,” of a tradition. Macintyre encapsulates his epistemological thesis, which he labels “tradition-constituted and tradition-constitutive enquiry,”11 so [W]e need to recover . . . a conception of rational enquiry embodied in a tradition, a conception according to which the standards of rational justification themselves emerge from and are part of a history which they are vindicated by the way in which they transcend the limitations of and provide remedies for the defects of their predecessors within the history of that same tradition.12 Macintyre’s thesis accurately sets the tone of the problematic of this paper. Tradition constitutes an essential component in governance structures and, consequently, if we are to break tradition into its various manifestations, so does custom. Custom compartmentises ideas and gives them value in any debate; protagonists only have to refer to custom for emphasis without the need for further argumentation. In this sense, custom becomes a valuable asset that alleviates the gap between significant individualisation (habit) and formalised and rationalised collective action (institutionalism) through the formation of a solid framework that promotes a consistent course

8 On a personal note, I find it easier to go through sites written in my mother tongue. Although the functionality of having one communication language is noble, at the same time, users have the tendency to prefer to visit websites displaying their own language. 9 PLATO, REPUBLIC ¶ I.352d(Robin Waterfield trans., Oxford U. Press, Oxford 1998) (360 B.C.) [hereinafter PLATO, REPUBLIC]. 10 ALASDAIR MACINTYRE, WHOSE JUSTICE? WHICH RATIONALITY? 350 (U. of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame 1998). 11 Id., at 7. 12 Id.

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of action.13 At the same time though, custom can blind and bind its subjects and can, thus, prevent constructive debate and deliberation. In this sense, custom constitutes a liability and can set treacherous precedents and negatively affect relations, especially those ones that invite the merging of conflicting customs. Within the Internet Governance tradition, the debate has set a leitmotif, similar to the one found in the Republic, and has demonstrated the difficulties surrounding the current structural arrangements of the Internet. These difficulties mainly concern the layout of the relationship amongst the various stakeholders and the means they will use to seek solutions; they go beyond the principles of governance arrangements and they focus, instead, on the experiences and knowhow of the participants and the level of association or disassociation these experiences have with custom. For Plato such a leitmotif asks us to make a choice: unobjectionable and apathetic obedience to the rules of the city (custom) or critical and judicious resistance to it? What is the extent to which Internet Governance has been politically stigmatised by custom and how this affects the participatory rights of some actors? Historically, our choices are driven by sequences of customary rules and we, as humans, are defenceless to the force of custom. It is true, as Herodotus clearly exemplifies, that given a choice we will always consider and choose our custom, because we believe that it is superior to the one of others. For if one were to offer men to choose out of all the customs in the world such as seemed to them the best, they would examine the whole number, and end by preferring their own; so convinced are they that their own usages far surpass those of all others . . . . .... . . . Such is men’s wont herein; and Pindar was right, in my judgement, when he said, “Law is the king o’er all.”14 Within a wider socio-political framework, therefore, custom resonates and influences the choices we make. It embraces the rules of our community, the conventional framework of norms, identity, tradition and culture, which is empowered by the common participation and acceptance of all people concerned. At the end of the 17th century, John Locke referred to this as the “Law of Fashion,” which is enforced by the fear of losing reputation and the desire for esteem: Thus the measure of what is everywhere called and esteemed virtue and vice is the approbation or dislike, praise or blame, which, by a secret and tacit consent, establishes itself in the several societies, tribes and clubs of men in the world: whereby several actions come to find credit or disgrace amongst them, according to the judgement, maxims or fashion of that place. .... . . . But no man escapes the punishment of their censure and dislike, who offends against the fashion and opinion of the company he keeps, and would recommend himself to. Nor is there one of ten thousand, who is stiff and
13 Edward Sapir, Custom, in 4 ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES 658, 658 (E.R.A. Seligman & Alvin Johnson eds., New York 1931), available at http://www.brocku.ca/MeadProject/Sapir/Sapir_1931_c.html (last visited Apr. 5, 2009). 14 HERODOTUS, THE HISTORIES ¶ III.38 (George Rawlinson ed., Wordsworth Editions, Ware 1996) (440 B.C.).

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insensible enough, to bear up under the constant dislike and condemnation of his own club. He must be of a strange and unusual constitution, who can content himself to live in constant disgrace and disrepute with his own particular society.15

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Plato is aware of both the appeal and the force that custom brings to all individuals and our tension to not abstain from it. He actually believes that for the human soul to feel content it needs the security of custom.16 Although one might question Plato’s argument even within the Athenian society, which did not remain unimpressed and showed signs of admiration towards the Spartan discipline, at the same time one cannot help but wonder whether Plato was indeed on to something. Essentially, custom is what defies societies and humans. It is a reflection of our personas and our contribution to society. We are hesitant towards unfamiliar customs, we resist their intervention in our lives and we are ready to fight in order to preserve our own. We are indifferent towards foreign custom as long as it is not imposed upon us; on the other hand, we become passionate and fanatic when we feel that we are about to lose our own. This already poses a great challenge for our globalized era and it definitely provokes for the issue of multistakeholder participation in Internet Governance. How can, then, custom inspire Internet Governance? Plato offers a psychological interpretation of the “Law of Fashion,” which allows us to collaborate, coordinate our actions and fulfil our common needs and desires. Under this interpretation custom will play a pivotal role and it will also provide incentives for the creation of symbiotic relationships.17 Therefore, the “Law of Fashion” constitutes the natural and substantive expression of human nature and of human needs; it unifies us only later to disunite us. However, if that is indeed what happens, how is the “Law of Fashion” translated in the context of Internet governance and are its participants willing to give up their customary rules and norms and accept new influences that do not necessarily fall within their own comfort zone? We are currently experiencing a governance structure that has brought together interested parties of different backgrounds; custom is starting to becoming an issue with multiple actors offering multiple interpretations: for governments it equates to sovereignty and identity; for the private sector is means technological advancement and economic profit; and for civil society groups it means addressing and preserving human and civil rights. And, at the same time, within each one of these groups, custom is interpreted individually and makes the gap of collaboration even wider. This is evident, at an institutional level, with ICANN and, at a political level, with the threat of China to veto the IGF after its, fifth, scheduled installment takes place in 2010. ICANN is admittedly western-centric and with its control over the “A” Root is admittedly driven by western influences and traditions whilst other axioms are subjected to an indirect exit. As long, therefore, as ICANN is viewed as a western-based institution any expansion of the Root will seem pointless given ICANN’s cultural mapping. The effect of this is that we will experience a more culture-driven Internet, as non-western countries will venture towards a more substantial
JOHN LOCKE, AN ESSAY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING 396, ¶ II.28.10 & 399, ¶ & II.28.12 (BiblioBazaar, Charleston 2008) (1689). 16 See PLATO, PROTAGORAS ¶¶ 320d-328d (Stanley Lombardo & Karen Bell trans., Hackett Publishing, Indianapolis 1992). 17 Especially in times of crisis, preservation of custom and tradition invites the symbiosis between those sharing it. In 1996, the Imia/Kardak crisis in Greece brought together in an unprecedented fashion all the political parties out of respect of the Greek society – its tradition and custom.
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presence on the Internet. This seems, at least, to be the rationale behind China’s threat to leave the IGF due to a prominent presence of western ideas on the Internet, which is manifested through ICANN and the United States Government.18 Essentially, the Chinese threat manifests a strong resistance towards the western culture being imposed on the Internet. Their threat though goes deeper for, if China leaves or vetoes the IGF, they will proceed to similar alternatives costing the Internet almost half a billion users and its nature as an international medium. The ability, therefore, to understand the “Law of Fashion” is linked with the ability to internalise the voices of others, which provide a balance between praise and condemn for any actions we engage in. This internalisation is penetrating and explains our preference and choice towards the one or the other tactic. It is a response to the Darwinian notion of adaptation, because with it life is more fulfilling and without it less successful. Under this prism, we are all victims of the “Law of Fashion” and, therefore, “fashionistas.”19 This is true for our day-to-day activities and it is also true in the context of Internet Governance. Indeed, if we accept that we are driven by the “Law of Fashion,” as defined by our national identities, then the idea to construct a governing body of multi-stakeholder participation on the Internet is an utopia. Any attempt by the various stakeholders to provide a platform of how the Internet is to be governed will inevitably stumble upon the “Law of Fashion,” which is inherent within our DNA. To that effect custom becomes an expression of the animal instinct linked to survival, one that dictates the need to preserve our national uniqueness and sovereignty. The governance structure of the Internet, nonetheless, negates the dominant influence of the “Law of Fashion,” invites the various stakeholders, and predominantly the governments, to make recommendations un-swayed by their national identities and seek solutions irrespective of their national interests. This is not an easy task considering the power that the “Law of Fashion,”can have upon its subjects and its various manifestations; for instance, the “Law of Fashion” can impose a psychological pressure like the one that parents exercise upon their children or, as Locke translated it, the way we absorb and are influenced by the opinion of our peers.20 Plato is critical towards the “Law of Fashion,” a criticism that is shared for different reasons by classical liberalism – the fear is the tyranny of custom, the suffocating, conservative and irrational pressure of tradition. George Grote, the great historian and philosopher of the Victorian age, advocated against custom – the King Nomos as he named it – and whose tyranny was enforced by “the working of that spontaneous ever-present police by whom the authority of King Nomos is enforced in detail – a police not the less omnipotent because they wear no uniform, and carry no recognised title.”21 At the other side of the spectrum, however, King Nomos is responsible for the preservation of cultures and traditions. In contemporary times it is stressed that the wisdom of custom works as a catalyst in our lives. Proponents in favour of customary rules point out, as Edmund Burke argued, that freedom from King Nomos is neither desirable nor feasible.22 It is
See Posting of Milton Mueller to Internet Governance Project Blog, http://blog.internetgovernance.org/blog/_archives/2008/12/5/4008174.html (Dec. 5, 2008, 07:25 EST). 19 SIMON BLACKBURN, PLATO’S REPUBLIC -- A BIOGRAPHY 38 (Athlantic Monthly Press, New York 2006). 20 See LOCKE, supra note 15. 21 GEORGE GROTE, PLATO AND THE OTHER COMPANIONS OF SOCRATES 253 (John Murray, London 1865), available at http://books.google.com/books/download/Plato__and_the_Other_Companions_of_Sokra.pdf?id=duoUAAAAQAAJ &hl=it&output=pdf&sig=ACfU3U2KA1QHUbaRGReO3GOc2lJBu4RLXg. 22 See generally EDMUND BURKE, REFLECTIONS ON THE REVOLUTION IN FRANCE (L.G. Mitchell ed., Oxford U. Press, Oxford 1999).
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not feasible because subconsciously and by instinct we are taught to surrender to the power of King Nomos; we appreciate and acknowledge our own identity through the acceptance from others. And, similarly, it is not desirable, because logically King Nomos cannot be substituted; it is rooted within social structures and has successfully been integrated in our everyday life activities.23 In this regard, Simon Bluckburn, citing Burke, states: “The opposition between the hope for a ‘rational foundation” for ethics, and contentment with nothing beyond a foundation in custom and convention, is one of philosophy’s great divides.”24 Therefore, for many, it is rather upsetting that cherished values are nothing more than conventions and customs and, hence, lack any reasoning or precise justification. The “Law of Fashion,” nonetheless, is neither obsolete nor immune from political thought and the way we absorb and experience current practices and states of affair. We, humans, struggle between our ideologies and the way we experience King Nomos or the way King Nomos is translated to us. We are led to believe that if our ideologies fall outside the parameters of King Nomos then we are traitors to our own cultures, our own identities and we have betrayed our nations; we are fed the guilt of all those who fought for their beliefs before us and were not willing to compromise to the externalities that penetrate governance arrangements.25 But, it is at this instance that we have to realise that even King Nomos is not as autonomous as we like to believe; its principles and dogmas are crafted by those who interpret it and, to this end, not only is this interpretation subjective, but it also hides agendas that provoke us to question whether King Nomos is indeed a principle that should be followed dogmatically. Burke, for instance, was fashioning his ideas at a time during which Britain was experiencing political fulfillment, albeit the situation was shaped under a more conventional framework, and his ideas were consequential to the unstable and deceptive situation that was evident during the years of the French Revolution. In a similar vein, Plato’s political and philosophical investigations were influenced by the dark historic times he was experiencing during which Athens was enduring uncertainty, revolution, experimentation, war, which eventually led to the city’s decline. His own experiences led him to investigate the role that custom plays in everyday life and to finally conclude that we need to establish a more concrete framework that will be detached from the adamant nature of the “Law of Fashion.” He was certain that the power and control of King Nomos was not that good after all.26 Plato actually had a point – how could he stand watching the decline of his own city, of his identity in apathy? How could he accept that, irrespective of the results, which ultimately were detrimental to Athens, the Athenian interpretation of King Nomos was indeed superior to others and, hence, able to provide solutions? Perhaps loyalty and obedience to King Nomos should not be that plausible after all. If it results in the destruction and degeneration of civilisations and cultures then perhaps it is anachronistic and should not be followed. Or, King Nomos, like other facets of political life, is susceptible to externalities and should be read and understood in every context. Over the past century we have learned that believing religiously in our customs and identities can lead to terrorism and alienation, fear of others and of the
See BLACKBURN, supra note 19, at 40. Id. 25 These externalities can vary but, in essence, they are manifested when elements of other customs seek to penetrate a specific one. This is more obvious in international governance arrangements, like for instance, the Iraq situation and the way some Iraqis have viewed the effort of the West to establish democracy based on traditions and customs as personified within the western culture. 26 See BLACKBURN, supra note 19, at 41.
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unfamiliar or the foreign. But, at the same time, we neither wish nor are we able to deny our identities; through them we lead our lives; we develop to become worthy representatives of our history and tradition. Inevitably, therefore, we find it very difficult to disassociate ourselves from the “Law of Fashion” and be open to foreign elements that might interfere with it, with us, with our customs. So, why should it be different for the Internet? In Protagoras, Socrates attempts to explain the force of King Nomos by providing a logical alternative. Book I of the Republic is merely a narrative, which focuses on the discussion among two men of wealth: Polemarchus and his father Kefalos. Through the words of Socrates, Plato suggests that if we cannot define the things we investigate, then, we do not really know what it is we are investigating. Socrates shows that the two men cannot provide an accurate definition of what virtue entails. Their efforts do not seem to convince Socrates – in the end, why does it really matter and which unwritten rule instructs us to define everything? The “Law of Fashion” can apply notwithstanding our inability to precisely determine what it is. No one can really provide a sufficient explanation concerning the rules of grammar, however, we always pressure and direct children, students and our peers to follow and adhere to them. Therefore, we really can recognise, acknowledge and appreciate what we cannot define.27 This is indeed true and it is not necessarily a bad thing. We humans have the tendency to be passive receivers of certain things, like custom, whilst for other things we feel the need to deliberate and our approach is more critical. However, there are instances when even custom invites a certain degree of criticism, because if we follow it unwittingly progress and cooperation can be potentially hindered. Short-sightedness can place obstacles in the way of coordination and can hinder the ability of humans to view things clearly and objectively. Let’s take the Internet for example. Objectively, the Internet is a medium of unprecedented capabilities and of great potential. It is the doorway to the exchange and transfer of knowledge, it is the tool to educate and open eyes that are wide shut, it is the means to communicate with no time restriction. Nevertheless, this objective reality of the Internet has been substituted by the subjective coercion of the “Law of Fashion” and is manifested by a certain degree of inability or unwillingness by the stakeholders to provide input, which is detached from their custom. Their contribution is a result of the subjective bias of the “Law of Fashion,” which makes “enhanced cooperation” a difficult task.28 Therefore, ideologically speaking, the tension between progressivism (the rule of logic) and conventionalism (the “Law of Fashion”) is strong and intense; it may be lifted, nonetheless, if we rationalise and reject the unyielding character of conventionalism. It is important, first of all, to not consent to social conventions and customs irrefutably. There is always room for criticism and thought that will depend on other facets of conventionalism and custom. We do not need to start constructing ideas from the beginning; on the contrary, we may stand on its current foundations in order to erect new ones. This requires, of course, compromise and the willingness to forego customs that thwart progression. Moreover, obedience to convention and custom serve particular purposes, justify their overruling power and they provide, at the same time, a framework that is normally of a different kind. Conventions serve our needs and wishes, which are occasionally different from one to another. However, goals of coordinated efforts, of seeking peaceful solutions, of communication and of seeking ways to transfer human dignity and trust are all but noble conventions that we all
See id., at 42 “Enhanced Cooperation” is one of the main principles within the Tunis Agenda. See Tunis Agenda, supra note 1, ¶ 69.
28 27

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should aspire to. We should not underestimate such conventions no more than we underestimate conventions of grammar, because we need to fulfill this need. Conventions are consequential to the needs that have been determined by our nature and constitute part of tradition. They are not unwarranted, or better yet, if we were to characterise them as such that would be simplistic and it would only reflect half of our realities. As Simon Blackburn explains, it is not unwarranted to be instructed in which side of the road we should drive our cars; what is unwarranted is that this instruction is customised with a detail: the need to be at the left or right side of the road.29 In Aristotle, the tension between logic and custom is accumulated in a different way – expressing support towards the idea of custom by distinguishing three important elements: These three things are nature (physis), habit (ethos), and reason (logos). (i) First, one must have a certain nature, for example, as a human being, and not another kind of animal, and so have a certain kind of body and soul. (ii) Some [capacities] are of no help to be born with (enia te outhen ophelos phunai) since our habits (ethe) make them change; some are by their nature ambiguous (dia tes phuseos epamphoterizonta, 1332b1-2), by habits [tending] either to the worse or to the better. (iii) Other animals live by nature (physis) most of all, though some in slight respects by habit (ethos) as well, but humans live also by reason (logos), for they alone possess reason, so these things should be made consonant with one another. For many act in accordance with reason, contrary to their habits and to nature, if they are persuaded some other action is better.30 What Aristotle tries to tell us is that rejection of our physis or ethos does not necessarily convey rejection of our identities. We do not often resonate the magnetism of custom and when we do our understanding is that “reason” is derived by political and rhetorical statements and by testimonies before parliaments or courts, which anyhow are consequential to nature and habit. Therefore, King Nomos is once again the rule of all. What we are missing, therefore, is the element of logos, which gives us the ability to examine both our physis and our ethos. It gives us the opportunity to investigate and examine the core of our nature and habits and tailor them according to our beliefs. Such an action does not negate our identity; on the contrary, it allows us to refine it. For the Internet the problem is the same as we approach its governance impelled by our nature and habits, a belief that makes compromise a difficult task. The manifestation of reason is compromise and, to this end, the stakeholders need to learn to put, where necessary, reason before physis or ethos. The stakeholders may bring the custom within the debate, but, by no means, should a fight for custom become the essence of the debate. Plato is indeed correct in stressing the necessity of constructive criticism and, since he believes that we, as humans, have different needs that derive from different natures, contrary to our belief, he will approach issues of convention and habit in disbelief. Plato believes that we should not allow King Nomos to dominate, because, according to him disorganised societies will inevitably encourage disorganised habits and they will enforce, disorganised policies. Plato is certain that disorganised societies do exist and this takes place partly due to the religious belief in the “Law of Fashion,” the inherent and almost apostolic duty that urges us to be suspicious
29 30

See BLACKBURN, supra note 19, at 44 ARISTOTLE, POLITICS ¶ VII. 12.1332a40 (Ernst Baker trans., Oxford U. Press, Oxford 1998) (350 B.C.).

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“Listen, then, I say that justice is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger.”31 There are times in human history when we are led to believe that there are certain customs worthier and that it is just to impose them upon others. Nevertheless, it is also at these times that various voices emerge to express concerns over this authority and this interpretation of justice. Most of us are of the opinion that justice should be available to everybody irrespective of strength or power. John Rawls teaches us that justice consists mainly of two components: the first is that each person engaged in an institution or affected by it should have an equal right to the most extensive liberty compatible with a like liberty for all. The second is that inequalities, as defined by the institutional structure of fostered by it, are arbitrary unless it is reasonable to expect that they exist to function to everyone’s advantage, and provided that opportunities furnished are open to all.32 However, even the most romantics would argue that justice, as discussed in the Republic, offers a view, which seems to sit comfortably with current state of affairs. Stronger deliver justice based on their subjective interpretation and their interests and the weak receive the potential benefits. This latter case in not necessarily true though. Whilst the recent invasion of Iraq, for instance, used justice as its justification, the Iraqis are still waiting to reap its rewards. Not only did the strong fail in this situation dramatically, but this incident has also questioned the constitution of the abovementioned statement, for justice, under this prism, is subject to the needs of the stronger and does not work to the benefit of all. It operates holding the “Law of Fashion” as its flag and represents the ulterior motives of its enforcers. At this point a remark is necessary: custom does not mean power, rather power is a means through which custom is enforced. History repeats itself and the invasion in Iraq is a mere repetition of an historical event that urged Plato to submit to a discussion on justice. Around 40 years before Plato wrote the Republic, Thucydides told the story of one of the most outrageous events of the Peloponnesian War, when the powerful Athenians demanded the surrender of the small and independent island of Mylos. The Athenians rejected the pleas of the inhabitants of Mylos for justice and mercy and insisted that, from their own point of view, the fate of the island rested in their hands. After the unsuccessful attempt by the Mylians to convince their conquerors that their personal interests were not in attacking them but in allowing the island to sustain its neutrality and not take sides, the Athenians destroyed the island, killed its men and captured the women and children. The Athenians represent the Machiavellian men of Realpolitik who are aware that we live in a world where we fight for our survival. We live in a world where the powerful convince us that some customs are worthier than others and justice means the surrender of the weaker in the name of protecting the general welfare. The actions of the Athenians would find support in the Darwinian idea that a world, where we fight one another, is not only morally acceptable but also inevitable and, therefore, it is pointless to even try to stop it. The Realpolitik is the law of nature.
31 32

PLATO, REPUBLIC, supra note 9, ¶ I.338c. See JOHN RAWLS, A THEORY OF JUSTICE 60 (Oxford U. Press, Oxford 1971).

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The winners win and the losers lose. This logic reflects the state of the world since the Industrial revolution and also reflects the current state of affairs within the context of Internet Governance. It might be the case that all stakeholders within the debate are meant to participate on an equal footing, but, it is questionable, whether in reality the stronger prevail over the weaker. At an individual level, no one can really convince us that the governments of the United States, China and Russia, for example, have the same degree of influence and demonstrate the same amount of flexibility like the governments of the least developed world; or, that small and medium sized enterprises possess the same economic influence with corporations like Microsoft or Google, which are willing to consciously neglect the values of civil society and put in question fundamental issues.33 And, at a more collective level, the IGF seems to be dominated by governments and businesses with the participation of civil society being limited and disorganized.34 However, is there any truth to such an interpretation of justice? I guess it depends on the way one views justice. If, in reality, justice is nothing more than a social relationship, then the Athenians are right and the citizens of Mylos cannot say anything. For the Athenians their reputation and dignity remains intact. Their “Law of Fashion” dictates and justifies their actions. In the name of securing their own interests, the Athenians do not act out of the ordinary. Although their actions break the chains of social relationship with the Mylians, in reality the Athenians do not care, since they are the more powerful and, therefore, the future of their alliance with Mylos is irrelevant. For the Athenians their actions set an example for the other states and demonstrate, in general, that imperialistic views do not recognize and are not sympathetic towards the weak. The actions of the strong spread fear to the weak and the consequences they will have to experience. Of course, the superiority of a specific segment of the stakeholders within the IGF is not manifested in the same level nor has the severity of the Athenians. It is clothed in a more diplomatic fashion, often shaped under the premise of a promise – a promise that justice will be delivered. Within the context of the IGF power and authority are measured according to the duty the various stakeholders exercise over the Internet. The private sector ensures the technological evolution of the Internet, Governments guarantee its policy-making aspect and enforcement, whilst civil society is entrusted the task of voicing concerns of rights on the Internet. If we were to codify the duty of each stakeholder, we would logically conclude that each one contributes to the tradition of the Internet; however, in reality the history of the Internet demonstrates that political decisions influence technological ones and that civil and human rights can be sacrificed in the name of technological innovation. This reality manifests that the private sector succumbs

33 Content provides, like Yahoo, Skype, Microsoft and Google faced a dilemma as to whether they should amend their services, including having internal content monitors, in order to be able to operate within mainland China. Also, complying with Chinese laws, Microsoft had to censor the content of its blog service Windows Live Spaces, asserting that continuing providing Internet services is more beneficial to the Chinese. 34 At the May 2008 consultation rounds in Geneva, civil society did not have a strong presence. Although there are various coalitions seeking to promote various issues ranging from privacy to human rights, there is still a feeling that civil society fails to show a united front. Whether this is because of the lack of a coherent structure or due to its weak structural arrangements, the fact remains that civil society does not seem to be standing equally with the rest of the stakeholders.

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to the temptation of governmental needs and is willing to put in jeopardy the concerns of civil society groups.35 This abovementioned duty is in line with the Kantian notion of the “Categorical Imperative”36 – the idea that moral obligations derive from the concept of duty. Kant believed that any obligations imposed by moral law are the results of “categorical imperatives.” A “categorical imperative” is an obligation binding on us irrespective of our will or desire. This thesis offers a convenient explanation of the actions of the Athenians as well as it offers a good excuse of the control that some groups are exercising over others in the IGF. It is for this reason that we cannot accept it as an excuse for either the Athenians or any of the stakeholders. The result remains the same: the powerful will do what they have to do and the weak will suffer what they have to suffer. What other sources do we have at our disposal? Aristotelian moral philosophy dictates that morality37 and progress are interlinked. When solid social structures are in place, when the fame, the benefit and the peace of the soul are consequences of noble and moral actions, then the thesis of Aristotle might be correct. It fails, however, to justify the actions of the Athenians, who they will benefit out of the misery of the citizens of Mylos. By attacking Mylos, the Athenians knew exactly what they would gain and what they would have to sacrifice and they had no doubt that attack was the best option. Perhaps they were right. We may even argue that their actions will make them loose their sleep, that they will not have a clear conscience. According to David Hume, it is likely that an immoral person “may often seem to be a loser by his integrity.”38 We can certainly hope for something like that; but our hope might just be wishful thinking. Because, generally speaking, the Athenians will not feel guilty, since they will have achieved their goal, and, even if they do, they will say that an immoral conscience only demonstrates sensitivity from which they will, logically, be able to free themselves. Nevertheless and especially in relation to the Internet morality and progress do not walk hand in hand and, thus, Aristotle’s account fails to provide sufficient justifications. It is immoral when countries with advanced Internet usage make it difficult for developing countries to participate; it is immoral when businesses with big market shares hinder the participation of small and medium-sized businesses; and, finally, it is immoral when civil society groups do not have the opportunity to actively voice their own concerns within this multi-stakeholder framework. These stakeholders act in such a fashion because they are protecting their own interest; like the Athenians they have to secure their “Law of Fashion” because this “Law of Fashion” is associated with their own role within the debate. They think and act individualistic rather than united in an arrangement that requires a collective and not a nonconformist logic. If this philosophy does not change then stakeholders will always be bound by the “Law of Fashion”

The decision of Google to provide a censored platform in order to secure entry in the Chine market only demonstrates this point. For more information, see Google Censors China, BBC NEWS, Jan. 25, 2006, available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4645596.stm (last visited Apr. 5, 2009). 36 See generally IMMANUEL KANT, THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE METAPHYSICS OF MORALS (Lewis White Beck trans., Prentice Hall, New York 1989) (1785). 37 Morality can acquire three different interpretations: (i) a code of conduct that distinguishes right from wrong; (ii) moral scepticism – a code of conduct that is espoused by rationale people under specific conditions amongst various alternatives; (iii) morality and ethics are the same thing. In the context of this paper morality is associated with the third interpretative approach. 38 DAVID HUME, ENQUIRY CONCERNING THE PRINCIPLES OF MORALS § IX.22 (Tom Beauchamp ed., Oxford U. Press, Oxford 2002) (1751).

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and their actions will always have immoral and unjust implications for certain groups of stakeholders in the name of progress. Through the voice of Socrates, Plato asserts that success resides where governance operates to the benefit of those governed. Successful governance operates independent of the “Law of Fashion” and irrespective of power since “no art or office provides what is beneficial for itself—but as we said long ago it provides and enjoins what is beneficial to its subject . . . .”39 Plato believes that injustice within social groups contributes to discord both internally and in relation to external relations. Consequently, the same takes place in each unit, in each one of us: “And then will you tell me that if injustice arises in one it will lose its force and function or will it none the less keep it?” “Have it that it keeps it,” he said. “And is it not apparent that its force is such that wherever it is found in city, family, camp, or in anything else it first renders the thing incapable of cooperation with itself owing to faction and difference, and secondly an enemy to itself and to its opposite in every case, the just? Isn't that so?” “By all means.” 40 We should really applaud Plato for the remark he makes, which cannot be further from the truth. Injustice, and especially the one operating under the influence of custom, overawes our ability for action and makes us acquiescent to the will of the strong. It detracts from us the thirst for participation and progress and for that reason it is dangerous and immoral. We are succumbed to the will of the powerful, to the ones that convince us of their moral judgments and motives. The impuissant become the sheep that follow their master; they become the governments of the least developed countries, the businesses that try to compete against the big corporations and the civil society groups that try to place themselves within the Internet Governance debate. And, the shepherds of Internet Governance will dominate the debate and preserve their customs at the expense of the more vulnerable. As Plato accurately remarks: Because you think that the shepherds and the neat-herds are considering the good of the sheep and the cattle and fatten and tend them with anything else in view than the good of their masters and themselves; and by the same token you seem to suppose that the rulers in our cities, I mean the real rulers, differ at all in their thoughts of the governed from a man's attitude towards his sheep or that they think of anything else night and day than the sources of their own profit.41 V. CONFLICT AND PROGRESS The notion of governance is fluid with equivocal structures and susceptible to customary externalities and dynamics; it is a concept that is formed at different levels of social and political interaction and has different characteristics. From the socio-political establishments to family institutions to the playground, governance invites a divergent of structures, is influenced by a variety of characteristics and exists to provide solutions to different modes of coordination and unity. In family structures, governance is an art exercised by parents who impose their will upon their children, making decisions that are based in their experiences and justifying them in what
39 40

PLATO, REPUBLIC, supra note 9, ¶ I. 346e. Id., ¶¶ 351e-352a. 41 Id., ¶ 343b.

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they think is best for the family. In the playground, governance is normally exercised by children who have acquired a position of “leadership” either by default, by age or by being the children with the most toys. Children in such positions will frequently determine the way the game will be played, who gets to participate and they will use their position and dominance to educate their peers. Finally, in socio-political structures, like the Internet, governance equates to the science of organizing a collaborative and inclusive mechanism. Just like in the playground and the family, governance on the Internet is consequential to experiences that have a close nexus with custom and are manifested through power. The exercise of power within different governance structures is not based on abstract theories, rather on what Foucault calls “conceptual needs.” These needs are nothing more than experiences and their satisfaction emanates from the cognitive knowledge of history – history of identity, of tradition and custom. For this reason, within any governance structure “we need a historical awareness [to understand] our present circumstance.”42 This is not necessarily a bad thing considering that custom is the driving force behind the exchange and transfer of knowledge and ideas. Nevertheless, historical awareness or custom can frequently become an obstacle to progress and vision. As we move towards territories, like the Internet and the Environment, where pressuring questions emerge, we go back to our custom for answers and security. The “ecosystem” there is familiar and answers to any questions seem less pressuring. This, however, can create problems that have to do with the way we shut other traditions and customs out and we inhibit progress and cooperation. Plato himself does not reject custom nor does he deny the idea that we should respect and preserve our customary rules. He is warning us though that uncompromising reliance to custom can have detrimental effects and can lead to disorganized governance arrangements. Once custom becomes an issue, issues of power will offer the solutions and the direction justice will take. Foucault believes that the state’s power invites both an individualizing and a totalizing form of power, which also explains the reasons for its strength. “Never, I think” - he says, -“in the history of human societies – even in the old Chinese society – has there been such a tricky combination of the same political structures of individualization techniques and of totalization procedures.”43 The same situation occurs in the governance structure of the Internet. “Individualization” shows its face through the lens of custom and “totalization procedures” need to be constructed according to principles of justice. Not justice the way Plato and current affairs portray it, rather the way Rawls and other like-minded philosophers understand it. The Internet, nonetheless, and, subsequently, its governance experience a situation that has been taking place for years in international affairs. Its unique characteristic though is its unvarying demand for inclusion. In this context, therefore, the issue focuses on seeking ways to ensure that traditions will be preserved but at the same time will merge with and evolve through other similar or diverse ones. In international coordination schemes this is an inevitability, which, if approached under a certain degree of flexibility, can potentially become beneficial for the progress of such multi-tier governance arrangements. Macintyre accepts that there are external elements that come to influence the structure of every tradition and determine its progress: “epistemological crisis” and “conflict-management” between rival traditions.44 In the first instance, tradition, according to its own standards, is not able to provide answers
42 Michel Foucault, The Subject and Power – Why Study Power: The Questions of the Subject, in 3 POWER: ESSENTIAL WORKS OF FOUCAULT 1954-1984, supra note 2, at 326, 327. 43 Id., at 332. 44 See MACINTYRE, supra note 10, at 360.

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through its own “problematic,” while successful modes of enquiry have become sterile.45 These standards exemplify a certain degree of persistence to custom and clearly illustrate what Plato was afraid that was taking place in the Athenian society. Is the Internet governance tradition in such an “epistemological crisis”? Not yet, although over the past few years the tradition of Internet governance has experienced a political intervention by various bodies – both governmental and non – and is facing challenges to an apparent set of unresolved and difficult issues that have emerged during its earlier formulations (“problematic”). Unlike the previous situation though, the tradition of Internet governance is currently facing the challenge of conflict management between rival traditions. In this situation, solutions may arrive through constructive dialogue, which “transpires when protagonists are compelled to recognize in a rival tradition a cogent approach to their own previously intractable problematic.”46 This requires “rational superiority” – acceptance that the tradition of the Internet is superior and, therefore, it is only rational that some aspects of all traditions and customs will have to be sacrificed for solutions of coordination and progress to become feasible. It also requires the willingness of the protagonists to engage in a learning process of the traditions of others; to understand their nature and acknowledge that other traditions might be able to provide the answers that theirs cannot. “Rationality” - Macintyre argues - “requires this acknowledgement of defeat in respect of truth . . . .”47 If this level of rationalization is achieved, certain philosophical notions, as justice, will be interpreted in accordance with tradition. “The rational tradition itself organizes, structures and interprets the raw data so as to give rational justification and philosophical solution . . . .”48 The Aristotelian philosophy, for instance, investigated and rationalized the meaning of citizenship in the Greek “polis;” the Internet Governance philosophy investigates and should rationalize the meaning of multi-participatory modes and what it means when various customs come to merge. As long as a tradition’s rationality stays attached to its practical life, it will remain intelligent.49 This practical life is custom. And, therefore, Macintyre is correct when he argues: We, whoever we are, can only begin enquiry from the vantage point afforded by our relationship to some specific social and intellectual past through which we have affiliated ourselves to some particular tradition of enquiry, extending the history of that enquiry into the present . . . . For each of us, therefore, the question now is: To what issues does that particular history bring us in contemporary debate? What resources does our particular tradition afford in this situation? Can we by means of those resources understand the achievements and successes, and the failures and sterilities, of rival traditions more adequately than their own adherents can?50 Unequivocally our thesis becomes that the commitment of the stakeholders participating in the Internet Governance tradition has been misinterpreted and needs to be re-defined. The tradition of Internet Governance is agonizing between the Skyla of “exclusive” custom preservation and
See John Flett, Alasdair’s Macintyre’s Tradition-Constituted Enquiry in Polanyian Perspective, 24 TRADITION & DISCOVERY: THE POLANYI SOCIETY PERIODICAL 6, 10 (1999). 46 ALASDAIR MACINTYRE, THE RIVAL VERSIONS OF MORALITY ENQUIRY 146 (U. of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame 1990) 47 Id. 48 Flett, supra note 45, at 11. 49 See id. 50 MacIntyre, supra note 10, at 401-02.
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the Harybdis of its enforcement in the name of justice. We cannot remain committed to our custom without jeopardizing the future of the Internet; we cannot accept its imposition as just because we have already experienced some of its implications. This implies that all stakeholders, irrespective of position, historical awareness and power, should understand how miserable we, the Internet users, feel: “You will understand it most easily, if you come to the most perfect injustice, which makes the unjust man most happy, and makes those who are wronged and will not be unjust most miserable.”51

51

PLATO, REPUBLIC, supra note 9, ¶ 344a.