As Capitol Confidential noted the other day, net neutrality is an issue that that is dear to the left, but has flown under the radar of most Americans. It’s a rather technical and arcane subject, but can be summed up rather simply: Net neutrality rules enforced by the Federal Communications Commission would allow government bureaucrats to micromanage the Internet — thus sucking out the lifeblood of the digital economy and threatening the dynamism and freedom we’ve come to take for granted online.
Proponents of net neutrality claim that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) abuse their position as “gatekeepers” to the Web, and the public needs government to establish strict “rules of the road” to protect us from their scheming. Trouble is, the evidence of abusive practices by ISPs is anecdotal and thinner than an iPod mini. The digital economy is currently so dynamic and cutthroat that free-market forces work quickly to correct any undesirable hiccups that arise — all without any micro-managing of the tech industry by government.
Net neutrality advocates insist we need government to preserve an “open” and “free” Internet and claim the market has failed. But they cannot point to any market failures that make the Internet less open or free. In short, the Internet isn’t broken. And it doesn’t need a government fix. No matter. The left presses ahead, because the facts are irrelevant. The goal is to put government in charge of digital policy, taking away your freedom as a consumer to shape the Internet with your own choices.
This would stifle the enormous private investment and innovation that has created the modern Internet — in part, because industries would be relegated to playing “Mother May I?” with the FCC before releasing its latest innovation. And that’s the best-case scenario. The Reason Foundation’s Steve Titch argues that if government-enforced net neutrality rules were in place five years ago, the iPhone as we know it wouldn’t exist. But on a more basic level, only a committed leftist could believe that more government involvement in … well … anything results is more economic dynamism and gains in personal freedom.
As noted in the video below, produced by The Heartland Institute, government isn’t in the business of preserving freedom, but of exercising power to regulate industries and control people. And this is an important thing to keep in mind — especially since President Obama recently reiterated his commitment to have government enforce a net neutrality regime on your Internet.
All of this is a threat to free speech. Blogs and Talk Radio are the only outlets for Conservative and Libertarian thinking, since TV is 100% controlled by the left. Your thoughts.