Net Neutrality

A majority of my acquaintances on Diaspora are celebrating the approval of the so-called net neutrality rule, which makes the Internet a “public utility” – like telephone services and radio stations – and makes the Internet subject to federal regulation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. Naturally there are pros and cons as in any new government policy, but handing control of the Internet to the most corrupt government in our nation’s history doesn’t sound anything like the promise of the word “neutrality” to me.

I know, I know, this ain’t North Korea. Not yet, anyway. But consider that Federal Commissions and Agencies (all federal commissions and agencies) are comprised of appointees under the Executive branch of government, who write rules and regulations that are not debated or voted on by accountable elected people. They are simply imposed upon the regulated industries and people without debate and without accountability, and they carry the full force of law.

We complain about the corruption and unprecedented power of the NSA (a federal agency under the Executive branch), the TSA (another federal agency under the Executive branch), the Veteran’s Administration (another), the Food and Drug Administration (yet another), and now we’ve handed the most powerful propaganda instrument and medium of information exchange in history over to the FCC – and this is a good thing? This actually empowers the government to regulate free speech either directly or indirectly.

We’re at war, just in case you think all these drone strikes and military maneuvers are just “police actions.” The government has not been able to curb the recruitment of radicalized Muslims into ISIS by the use of social media and other Internet means – until now. It’s good that the government now has the regulatory authority to intervene, and hopefully put a clamp on recruitment of Americans into ISIS. But you know, anyone can be declared an enemy of the State and have their Internet presence shut down. The very first thing that corrupt governments do when threatened by civil rebellion is to shut down access to the Internet, because resistance can be quickly and effectively organized and coordinated on-line. Today it may be ISIS. Tomorrow, who knows? Republicans? Christians? Pro-Lifers? That would make my liberal friends happy. But then when they find themselves opposing government policies such as compulsory government “education,” or “health and safety” regulations that impose mandatory population control policies, government seizure of private property, raiding pensions to finance another unjust war, or conscripted military service? Online protest can be squashed, and any coordinated effort to resist tyranny would be much harder without the Internet which we have become so dependent upon.

Safe for whom? Only for those in power. There’s nothing neutral about this so-called net neutrality ruling. Some are rejoicing today because they think that the FCC will forbid Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from blocking access to certain web sites or content. But most folks could switch to another ISP if need be. I think we’ll find that it’s a lot harder to switch regulatory agencies or overturn unjust federal regulations.

I also think that we’ll find that the cost of Internet access will rise sharply. Complying with new government regulations always involves increased cost, and the FCC’s new expanded power will require more bureaucrats to police and enforce the new regulations, so ISPs will be forced to collect new fees to fund the FCC’s new authority. Yet another new hidden tax to fund yet another new hidden government power grab. And new restrictions on liberty and free speech “as needed” to support an ever-expanding government.

Control of information is control of the people. I’m reminded of Senator Amidala’s commentary when the Chancellor of the Republic became the ruler of the first galactic empire: “So this is how liberty dies… to thunderous applause.”

You who are celebrating “net neutrality” today, remember what I have said when the Emperor slams the door on Internet free speech.

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