It doesn't matter if you pay for something -- sometimes, you just don't deserve it.
And sometimes you do, like when you invent something, build it, and then invite others to participate.
My point is that by having the US singled out as "special", we help to sustain a Web where the US controls a vast number of domain names (other than just *.us), and unfairly so.
The US is "singled out" because it invented, created, and implemented the Internet. It then allowed other countries to join in.
we help to sustain a Web where the US controls a vast number of domain names (other than just *.us)
Everybody who signed up for a .COM domain name knew that it was under US jurisdiction; they had lots of other choices available, but they chose a gTLD under US jurisdiction. Many did so deliberately because they wanted their domain names under US jurisdiction, protected by US free speech laws and removed from European and UN censorship. It was the US laws and regulations that made .COM so popular.
I would strongly object to having my .COM domains administered by the UN, the EU, or some international body. I do not want to be subject to European restrictions on free speech, European trademark law, or European intellectual property law, which are dangerously anti-democratic, protectionist, and anti-competitive.
and unfairly so. In the interests of treating countries fairly (that is, that countries like the USA don't get special privileges they have abused and will abuse again in the future), we should modernize certain TLDs. That is all.
What would be "unfair" is for the US to build a successful business under its laws, and then for other nations to come in an take it away under some pretext of "fairness" and "international law". That's the way European colonialism and imperialism used to work; no more, fortunately.