From the American Spectator. (H/T ECM)
Yet, without compelling reason, law or even politics on their side, on December 21, on a 3-2 party line vote, the FCC voted to impose its “net neutrality” rules on the Internet. What net neutrality means is that the government now has the power to decide how ISPs and broadband operators manage the access they provide to the Internet. It is as if the government decided to regulate how FedEx delivers its overnight mail, and what routes and what vehicles they use.
The FCC starts out by proclaiming that its net neutrality rules are just meant to ensure equal access by all to the Web. But as George Orwell showed us, that is how socialism started out too, until we later discovered that some were more equal than others. Once the founding principle is laid for government regulation and control, then that power can be used to regulate and control access to the Internet “in the public interest.” In English translation, that means in the special interest of the Ruling Class. There are precedents in China and Iran for how that has worked out in practice.
Dissenting FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell explained further in the Wall Street Journal on December 20 why the FCC’s net neutrality regulation makes no sense:
Nothing is broken and needs fixing, however. The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority. Ample laws to protect consumers already exist. Furthermore, the Obama Justice Department and the European Commission both decided this year that net neutrality regulation was unnecessary and might deter investment in next-generation Internet technology and infrastructure.
But what I have learned in life is that when something doesn’t make sense, that means there is something else behind it that people are trying to hide.
And that is exactly what we have here. For what is behind the FCC’s net neutrality crusade is reflected by an organization calling itself Free Press. That is an Orwellian title in this case, because what Free Press is for is the opposite of a free press. Free Press is one of those pseudo-Marxist front groups that Barack Obama has always traveled with so easily throughout his life. It is a grown-up, slick, sophisticated version of those campus radicals who shout down college speakers with whom they don’t agree.
That is what Free Press is after with its “net neutrality” regulation. It is laying the groundwork for government control of the Internet. Once that it is established, it will be able to shout down websites with which it doesn’t agree, if not shut them out altogether.
The entering wedge for net neutrality so far is not public freedom to access and navigate the Internet, which no one can credibly claim is not currently as free as could be. The entering wedge for now is use of Internet access and broadband services by competing commercial concerns like Netflix and YouTube, which consume huge proportions of bandwidth that can consequently interfere with use by consumers and others.
The problem has not become unmanageable yet, but threatens to be. The concern is that broadband operators will limit use of their service by other commercial operations that are effectively bandwidth hogs, to preserve the viability of their service for the general public, which is exactly what they should do. The supposed purpose of net neutrality regulation so far is to prevent broadband operators from doing this.
The solution is for broadband operators to charge heavier commercial users of their service heavier fees to cover the costs. Those heavier fees can then be used to build even bigger and better broadband and Cyberspace access, sufficient to fully accommodate even the heaviest commercial broadband users.
But that [solution] doesn’t involve the expanded government power that Obama’s FCC and net neut advocates like Free Press are after. So it is not on the table as the answer. Government takeover is the only answer they will consider, just as in health care. But if the government is going to take control over the big investment bucks broadband providers put in the ground or into orbit, America is not going to get the Internet investment and access it needs. That is why America’s Internet access is already lagging behind other countries.
[...]This FCC episode raises a broader question about the Obama Administration in the next two years. Because what we see here is what we are already seeing elsewhere in the Administration as well, from HHS Secretary Sebelius’s takeover of health insurance, to the EPA’s takeover of the economy based on global warming fantasies. That broader question is: Are we going to be governed by democracy and the rule of law in America, or not?
Worth reading. I am trying to write about the problems in Obamacare and with the EPA raising energy costs on American consumers and businesses. But taking over the Internet could be an even bigger disaster if the government can prevent the truth about what they are doing from being reported.