The Federal Communications Commission’s decision to start regulating the Internet is the culmination of a plan that has followed a classic leftist pattern: create a “problem,” declare that only big government can solve it, possibly solve it, and then use that power to further your agenda. FCC Commissioners voted three to two – strictly along party lines – to make the power grab. Regulation of the Internet is necessary, proponents of so-called “net neutrality” argue, in order to prevent big Internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast from restricting or inhibiting access to parts of the World Wide Web. Net neutrality is thus a classic example of a solution in desperate need of a problem, for you have to search far and wide to find someone in America who hasn’t been able to go where he or she wanted to go on the Internet, and – assuming they paid for the bandwidth – at lightning speed.
You don’t have to know much more about net neutrality to deduce that it’s a bad idea than to consider the people and organizations that have been pushing the concept. MoveOn.org, George Soros’ Open Society Institute and the Pew Charitable Trust are among the leftist powerhouses that have provided the money necessary to move Internet regulation forward. The Wall Street Journal’s John Fund reports that the idea was originally proposed by Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor and an admitted socialist. “At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies,” McChesney told the website SocialistProject in 2009. “But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”
And so we’re left to consider once again the great question of the age: is big government the answer to every problem, whether real or perceived? Every time something goes wrong, or any time someone identifies a potential risk, the default leftist response is more government, more regulations and more bureaucrats. But, we all pay a price for such expansion of the nanny state. Any segment of the economy that struggles under the thumb of an intransigent, unimaginative and all-powerful regulatory agency inevitably suffers. We thus trade the potential of free-market prosperity for the certainty of bureaucratic intolerance. Distilled down to its essentials, the leftist argument ultimately concludes that the positives of government mandated equality outweigh whatever risks of the free market we might have to deal with, because the leftist utopian equality imposed by the state is an equality of mediocrity.
The stated goal of net neutrality sounds so very wonderful: to ensure that each and every American has equal access to the Internet and to ensure that ISPs cannot arbitrarily limit that access. The Internet is a public resource, the argument continues, and should be regulated like any other public communications resource, such as the television and radio stations. If the consequences of the FCC’s power grab were truly benign, few people would care. But, the fact is that we know from bitter experience that once a regulatory agency decides to sink its claws into a particular sector of the economy, it will dig deeper and deeper until it exerts what amounts to a death grip.
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