Yet, looking at the ease with which governments of some of the oldest, freest societies on earth are shackling and restraining the right to speak, to read, to think, the obvious question to ask is what rights will they go after next? After all, if 300 years of free speech can be rolled back in the interest of "enhancing public safety", why not property rights, due process, freedom of association, freedom of religion or even (gasp!) sexual liberty? Why think that statist restraints on core liberties will confine themselves to just one right?I have a sort of meta-fear as well, fanned by the fact there are so few Americans sounding the alarm over the loss of their liberties. They don't even seem to notice as they're eroded, slowly but surely. The concerns that Mr. Steyn raises should be swirling through this country's political debates and discussions, but they're almost inaudible next to controversies like the size of Kim's derriere or the adventures of Lyin' Brian...
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
What's happening to America? Mark Steyn sums up my fears in one short paragraph:
You and I can't see it yet ... but the FCC chairman has “released” Obama's plan to regulate the Internet, in the name of “net neutrality”. For now, the plan is secret, available only to select bureaucrats including the other FCC members. One of the those members (Ajit Pai, a Republican with an interesting resume and long-time FCC experience) has released a statement summarizing the 322 page plan. The major points:
- It's a major power grab, making the FCC effectively into the “Department of the Internet”. As Mr. Pai puts it: “... if you like dealing with the IRS, you are going to love the President’s plan.”
- It will increase the cost of broadband by enabling billions of dollars in annual broadband taxes.
- It will deliver slower broadband, thanks to new regulations that will inevitably discourage investment.
- It will saddle small ISPs with expensive regulations, and move the industry closer to a monopoly.
- It's unlawful, will certainly be challenged in court, and will likely lose – but only after years of litigation, millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent defending it, and (worst of all) small ISPs spend even more millions fighting it.
- American citizens are being misled about the purpose of the plan. The “net neutrality” rallying cry is but a political lipstick-on-the-pig charade – the real purpose of this plan is to cement bureaucratic control over one of the most vibrant and successful pieces of the American economy, and one of the very few left that the bureaucrats haven't yet managed to ruin.