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Net neutrality rules: Content regulation and the destruction of personal freedom

Written By | Mar 18, 2015

SAN ANTONIO, TX – March 18, 2015 – The Democrats have realized that they must put a halt to the dissemination of free information on the internet, and they have found a way to accomplish that through what they refer to, in the most Orwellian manner, as “net neutrality.”

There is nothing neutral about the 313 pages of regulations the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently voted in favor of. The new rules will provide control over every aspect of the internet to the unelected government bureaucrats at the FCC.

Government intrusion into the internet will inevitably, just like it has in the United Kingdom, lead to price control, preferential treatment for favored groups and websites, and ultimately, to regulating content as basic as individual Twitter and Facebook posts.

Read Also: Europe endangers net neutrality

Two weeks ago, the FCC forced through, on a party-line vote, 313 pages of rules and regulations that they will apply to the Internet, if legal challenges against those rules are unsuccessful. As has become customary with controversial proposed laws and regulations that the Democrats intend to use to nationalize parts of the economy, the document was not revealed to the American people until two weeks after the order was voted on, and passed, by the FCC.

The 313 pages of rules and regulations were passed to address a problem that doesn’t exist, by an entity that does not have any legal authority to address the issue. The document is a mess of broad regulatory language that will allow the unelected bureaucrats at the FCC (without any oversight by Congress) to make the rules up as they go.

According to the New York Times,  “…the full text of the new order also raised uncertainties about broad and subjective regulation. One catchall provision, requiring “just and reasonable” conduct, allows the F.C.C. to decide what is acceptable on a case-by-case basis.”

FCC commissioner Tom Wheeler, one of the three Democrats who voted in favor of the freedom-killing regulations, described an even more concerning issue when he was interviewed in the February 4 edition of WIRED magazine when he said , “…my proposal includes a general conduct rule that can be used to stop new and novel threats to the Internet. This means the action we take will be strong enough and flexible enough not only to deal with the realities of today, but also to establish ground rules for the as yet unimagined.”

Read Also: Latest Obama Drama: ‘Net Neutrality’ is back… Big time

Frank Minter, writing in Forbes , described why these net neutrality rules have been so celebrated by Marxists and other statists. This article was written prior to the passing of the rules, which explains why the author uses future tense: “Establishing that the FCC has the authority to regulate the Internet is what they’re after, as it would give the FCC a Trojan Horse, a gift they’re framing as a safeguard to Internet freedom. These regulations that supposedly will keep the Internet open and fair can next be grown into a governing authority over Internet content, as once happened in radio.”

The influence of Marxist, anti-capitalist groups like George Soros’ Open Society and a group called ‘Free Press’ is made abundantly clear in the 313 page order itself. According to the Daily Caller, the founder of the group Free Press, Robert McChesney, a communications professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, has not been shy about his true intentions. Professor McChesney, whose group is mentioned 46 times in the 313 page document , made the following comment in a 2009 essay, ““In the end, there is no real answer but to remove brick by brick the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles.” Additionally, in a 2009 interview with The Socialist Project he said, ““We need to do whatever we can to limit capitalist propaganda, regulate it, minimize it, and perhaps even eliminate it. The fight against hyper-commercialism becomes especially pronounced in the era of digital communications.”

It is safe to assume that Professor McChesney’s group will continue fighting for more government control and less freedom.

Tammy Bruce, at the Washington Times spoke with Mr. Phil Kerpen, head of American Commitment, a nonprofit group focusing on the free market, economic growth and personal freedom on the internet.

Ms. Bruce asked Mr. Kerpen what shocked him most upon seeing the full FCC regulation order. Mr. Kerpen stated, “The amazing thing about the 300-plus pages of rules is that there is still so much we don’t know. There’s this incredibly vague “Standard for Internet Conduct” that basically means they are going to decide what is or isn’t allowed on the fly. And there’s a process for ‘advisory opinions’ from the ‘Enforcement Bureau’ that means companies are going to go ask permission from low-level staffers before they offer a new service or deploy a new technology.”

These rules will undoubtedly affect every American’s internet experience; prices will rise, internet connections will become slower, and content will be regulated. There has never been a time in history when the power hungry ruling class has granted itself power and chosen not to assert it, and this time is no different; Mr. Wheeler says he has flexible and strong power to deal with what he refers to as “threats to  the internet,” and this phrase will be defined by the unelected bureaucrats at the FCC, who will also determine what penalty will be enforced on individuals who refuse to modify their “threatening” behavior.

When the government in the UK began regulating the internet about a decade ago, they promised that they would not intrude on individual freedom and expression on the internet. Inevitably, that was a lie; according to James Bloodworth at The Independent,  “…around 20,000 people in Britain have been investigated in the past three years for comments made online, with around 20 people a day being looked into by the forces of the law, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.”

Another British newspaper, The Guardian , outlined at least ten cases in which individuals were sentenced to jail for a period of, at minimum, 6 weeks, for messages written on their social media accounts.

The Twitter for the Scottish Police Dept. on January 2, 2015 also made very clear how little protection freedom of speech is afforded in the U.K. when they sent out this horrifying, Orwellian tweet, “Please be aware that we will continue to monitor comments on social media & any offensive comments will be investigated.”

The radical left, like Prof. McChesney, has been working on how to co-opt and nationalize the internet for over a decade, and they now have the ability to do just that. These regulations, if not halted by the judiciary, will have an astounding detrimental effect on freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and in a few years it is all but guaranteed that we will be discussing the arrests of Americans for posts on their social media accounts.

James Richard

James Edwards is a tireless advocate for federalism and minimizing the impact the federal government has on all of our lives.