With the rise of our big-government state, many of us have become almost used to the idea that if government regulators want to do something, then they can. Their power is often considered limitless. And it was on this assumption that President Obama, and his radical FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, based their plans for a government takeover of the internet, under the guise of “net-neutrality”.
Except a small problem for this power grab has arisen: turns out, it probably isn’t legal. In a recent paper by former Solicitor General Gregory Garr, the arguments underpinning the legality of this power-grab were demolished, and even most of the left now concede that, as currently planned, “net-neutrality” would most probably be illegal.
Essentially the issue is as follows. Currently, the internet falls under Title One of the Communications Act. This has been confirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States. The problem for proponents of this government hijacking of power is that the power the FCC has under Title One of the Communications Act is rather limited in scope, and they most probably do not have the authority to enact the sweeping regulations that they desire under the Act.
Conceding this point, many on the left have begun to argue that, notwithstanding previous FCC rulings, and Supreme Court precedent, the internet should be moved under Title 2, which currently applies to ‘common carriers’ such as television, and gives the FCC considerably broader power to regulate and indeed micromanage production. Attempts to move the internet to Title 2 have been repeatedly proposed in Congress, and have repeatedly failed, so now the left want to use regulatory gimmickry to bypass Congress and surreptitiously reclassify the internet by Administrative fiat (a move whose legality is questionable, at best).
Make no mistake, if the radical left succeed in this goal, “net neutrality” will be just the beginning. The FCC will have sweeping, overarching, authority to regulate all content on the internet. These are the same people who impose censorship on television, and online censorship will surely follow soon, not to mention all sorts of other restrictions on freedom.
Never forget that the driving force behind this, Robert McChesney from Free Press, is the man who argued – literally – that this is a necessary prerequisite for a socialist revolution, saying “Instead of waiting for the revolution to happen, we learned that unless you make significant changes in the media, it will be vastly more difficult to have a revolution”.
If the left are successful in this power grab, say goodbye to an open, flexible, consumer-driven internet, and say hello to a big-government, regulated, censored behemoth.