“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people”. —John F. Kennedy
“The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen.” —Tommy Smothers
The Meeting and the Plan
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler is introducing a plan to reclassify high-speed Internet service as a public utility. The Congress has not changed any US law to allow this to happen. But Obama does not follow US law, so his urging the FCC to do this is hardly surprising. Only recently, the president attempted to give away the American Internet altogether—into the controlling hands of dictatorial and jihadist states! (For more on this, click on this link: https://eaglerising.com/11330/push-save-internet-must-begin-now/.)
The FCC will vote on the matter of Internet regulation at its February 26th meeting. Wheeler’s proposal, which comes straight from Obama’s pen, would order that Internet broadband service be declared a public utility, which it is not under the people’s law. Under Obama’s new, authoritarian regime, the FCC would gain three hundred thirty-two regulatory pages worth of power to regulate the network-access arrangements that Internet providers offer to content providers, such as Netflix, Facebook, or Google.
As things stand, Internet providers are permitted to charge content providers for direct access to their networks, which gives them the needed capital to speed up streaming and downloading for broadband end-users. It is a free-market arrangement that keeps incentives in place for companies to continue to upgrade and improve their capabilities, so that the Internet continues to change quickly and responsively, according to the needs of consumers.
The FCC is supposed to ensure that broadband companies are “fair” to content providers by disallowing “slow lanes” for unpaid, or less profitable, traffic flowing through the Internet. Obama has chosen, politically, to call this new policy “net neutrality,” although it has a definite tax-and-regulate agenda attached to it that guarantees anything but a neutral Internet. Indeed, it makes the Internet all the more susceptible to being weaponized against conservatives by a government that hates Constitutional conservatism with a passion that would make a racist blush.
The New Obama-net: Less Innovation at a Higher Cost
So, what all of this would mean is that companies would be forced to upgrade all areas of the Internet in order to be in compliance with government rules that would, most assuredly, come with penalty fees attached as the consequence of breaking them. Such forced expenditures, beyond any budgeting that has already been planned, would necessitate the passing on of these costs, or the incurrence of fines, by way of fees that will ultimately be charged to customers. Consumers would, in the end, have to pay more for their Internet data packages and receive less quality in return, courtesy of the same government that gave Americans Obamacare.
Innovation would slow down and investment in new infrastructure would come to a halt, while companies would find themselves forced to shore up old gaps in the existing system, in order to avoid fines—thereby saddling themselves with more of the older technology, rather than spending those same funds on developments that might potentially allow them to leap-frog over the old shortcomings altogether, potentially making life better for end-users more quickly than retreading the Internet with older technology would do. But government intervention in a marketplace is never about improving the lives of people; it is always about controlling lives.
Beware of Government Ideas of “Fairness”
Obama argues that services like Netflix should not have to pay market rates for the distribution of its content, if those rates are not “fair.” But the truth is that, as long as there exists a truly free market, where there is competition and thus the risk that an overcharging company will get undercut by someone who can do the same job for less, it is not likely that a company like Netflix would get overcharged. When prices are set by the invisible hand of the free market, prices tend to be more than fair.
The government’s idea of fairness is always a political calculation, made to win the approval of greedy voters. And such ideas generally end up with the all-too-visible hand of the government pick-pocketing businesses, that would otherwise continue their investments in improvements to their products. Politicians do to bribe voters with other people’s money. And this slows down the growth of investment in new technology and infrastructure, or even forces lay-offs if the new taxes result in untenable losses to a company’s profitability. There is always danger in over-regulation of the marketplace. Eventually, the government will use its regulatory authority to target companies it thinks are too conservative and ease up on the regulation of the companies that it likes.
FCC Forbidden Speech
Scoundrels and scalawags possess endless creativity at finding new ways for the government to use every ounce of power at its disposal to regulate human behavior. The ability to tax the Internet can only increase the power of the government’s anti-freedom agenda in our country. And nobody will fully enjoy their First Amendment rights anymore.
Regulating the Internet will not make it more free or independent, as Obama claims. It will facilitate government intrusion into everything Americans are allowed to say or write. There will be FCC votes to allow or disallow certain kinds of traffic, certain types of downloads, or even the use of certain words on web sites. Remember, the FCC can fine a broadcaster, if the government receives complaints about the content of a particular broadcast, which means that, by extension, if enough readers of this particular article complain about its content, this web site could be fined in the same way, under FCC stewardship of the Internet. Comedian George Carlin used to do a comedy routine ridiculing FCC censorship rules. (To see Carlin’s R-rated routine, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbZhpf3sQxQ.)
Costing Lives, a Possible Outcome of Obama-net Policies
Rapid response to market forces will no longer be the order of the day, with a strong government hand the Internet. The Internet will slow down in its development, a reality that could potentially cost human lives. Imagine how many lives have been saved by the fact that the Internet exists. Medical research solves problems with much greater speed than a quarter-century ago. Back then, a medical researcher writing a letter to a colleague in Berlin would wait, on average, two weeks before receiving a response. Today, a reply takes only minutes! How many lives have been saved or improved, due to faster medical research?
A new, virtual-reality Internet is not far off, and with it comes the kind of innovation that would allow researchers to coordinate movements with one another in a virtual space, in ways that could work to enhance certain kinds of research. What life-saving innovations might lie in store? And how might government regulation decelerate, or even squelch, such innovations?
Government Control Is Obama’s Goal
The FCC has tried before to regulate Internet behavior, only to be stopped by the courts. The current FCC chairman is emulating John Marshall, who, in Marbury v. Madison (1803), ruled that his Supreme Court had the right of judicial review. President Jefferson expressed concern that this precedent was unhealthy, because it would make of the Constitution “a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.” Obama, of course, has no such reservations about the Internet being made into a mere thing of wax in the hands of the FCC. Indeed, for Obama this is the point entirely.
But Wait, There’s More!
ConstitutionAlly offers a petition to sign, before the February 26th FCC vote on Obama’s Internet regulation scheme. SAY NO to letting government regulate your online freedom: http://action.politicalmedia.com/17314/constitutionally-say-no-to-fcc-internet-takeover/?ifr=820
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com