The squirrely phrase “net neutrality” means different things to different people. It’s about as opaque a concept as there is. So, on the surface, the looming federal takeover of the Internet set to befall the world on Feb. 26 to protect “net neutrality” isn’t transparent at all. Until you do a little digging and discover that under the terms of its White House-approved 332-page plan the FCC will be outlawing any practice of any ISP anywhere that the agency decides is “unjust.”
Initially, as some contend, it will be about the size of the pipe, not the stuff that flows through it. But switching attention from the pipe to the quality of the flow will be a simple matter of redefining “unjust.” For instance, an ISP could be fined for “unjustly” hosting a blog or other site the FCC deems inaccurate or unfair. And there are plenty its White House master already doesn’t like, such as Drudge.
The current FCC regime “may promise forbearance,” concludes the Wall Street Journal, “but watch out, because that’s not how government works. The nature of bureaucracies is to grab power and expand it. Once the FCC assumes the authority to set ‘rates, terms and conditions’ across the online economy, expect a political land rush. The Beltway struggle for advantage will be so intense and the stakes so high…”
As our favorite Texas senator, Ted Cruz, says (in additon to his superb video mockery of our finally transparently-dishonest president) “…five unelected bureaucrats [are going to] regulate and control every aspect of the Internet….”
There’s even a side motive coming from leftist Democrats who want the old liberal alphabet news media (MSNBC & cBS, etc.) to regain the dominance they’ve lost to the Net and its many conservative and libertarian voices.
So, twenty years after the Web arose from the GUI (the graphical user interface) and launched the freest communications and business marketplace the world has ever seen—vibrant and profitable for all concerned—the federal vulture is going to swoop down and rend it.
And, not incidentally, set its talons for a broad censorship of ideas and opinions the Democrats and their mendacious president don’t like.