The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Net Neutrality

In still another example of his obsession with government control, Barack Obama today announced a plan to"save" the Internet. It's euphemistically tied to "Net Neutrality." Sounds good, doesn't it? After all, who isn't in favor of a neutral Internet?

But wait. The Internet is neutral. In fact, over the past few decades, with relatively little government involvement, the Internet has flourished. And bolstered by the private sector, it has exploded, providing amazing growth that has benefited billions around the world.

Yet, Barack Obama feels he must save the Internet by applying heavy-handed big government regulation in the form of FCC oversight and control. What could go wrong?

The Internet isn't broken. In fact, it's doing just fine. Market forces will allow it to grow and change to keep pace with hardware/software technology and the demands of the people that use it. The FCC can add nothing good to this trajectory. In fact, if anything, its regulations will serve as an anchor that will retard the Internet's growth.

But that's what big government proponents do. They throw out anchors that they re-label as something that sounds innocuous, but are in fact a drag on personal liberty, commerce, privacy, whatever. The internet isn't broken. It doesn't need to be fixed by this president.

UPDATE (11/11/14):
I am no fan of Senator Ted Cruz, but yesterday he was on target when he tweeted: "Net Neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government."

Think about it. If the FCC gets involved, over time its control will grow—guaranteed. Every small technological tweak, every "controversial" new service, every innovative idea will have to pass muster among a group of know-nothing government bureaucrats who will be susceptible to the views of the politicians who appoint them and lobbyists who 'bribe' them. And remember, a conservative administration could use the power of the FCC to filter content it didn't like just as a progressive administration could use the power of the FCC to serve constituencies they need.

Like most things that are proposed by big government proponents, their intentions may be good, but the net effect of their integration of government into areas where it doesn't belong will be disastrous.

UPDATE -II (11/11/14)

The Wall Street Journal editorial board comments:
On Monday [Obama] urged the Federal Communications Commission to apply to the Internet century-old telephone regulations designed for public utilities. In a video posted on Youtube, Mr. Obama endorsed the regulation of Internet access providers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

These rules weren’t at the cutting edge of innovation even in the 1930s. As former FCC attorney Randolph May notes, this regulatory framework was written into the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 to oversee monopoly railroads. The Communications Act drafters then copied the 1887 law, replaced the references to railroads and clarified that the new regulations would apply to telephones as well as telegraphs. Eighty years later Mr. Obama has decided, in his market wisdom, that these rules should apply to the Internet.
It seems to me that those who espouse a Leftist ideology are consistently looking backward, not forward. That's absolutely nothing new for Barack Obama. In fact, his ideas about net neutrality are just the latest example of backward-looking thinking.