He who is brave in daring will be killed. He who is brave in not daring will live. Of these two, one is advantageous and one is harmful. Who knows why Heaven dislikes what it dislikes? Even the sage considers it a difficult question...
- Lao-Tzu, Chinese Philosopher, Founder of Taoism (fl. B.C. 600)
If you’ve ever read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, at the turn of the last century, when businesses were left to their own devices, the state of the meat packing industry was absolutely horrific. In the wake of the public outcry over the conditions portrayed in Mr. Sinclair’s book, the government regulation that ensued was well needed, so you won’t get any argument from me that there’s never a time when the government needs to be involved in certain industries to ensure that cutting costs and maximizing profits doesn’t result in endangering the public.
When we’re speaking of government regulation, however, there’s a gargantuan difference between government regulation of something as cut and dried as, “is the food safe?” or “is the building safe?” and putting the Internet as we know it under government control. The FCC now seems poised to do just that in appointing themselves as the Overlords of the Internet.
When it comes to this impending government control of the Internet, the first thing you have to ask yourself is, why do people feel compelled for the government to come in and control the Internet when there’s nothing broken that needs to be fixed in the first place? Why this left-wing compulsion towards placing the government in charge of everything?
When speaking of business and government, many liberals will always see business as the greater of two evils or perhaps the one and only evil out of the two, but for my liberal friends with so much distrust for business and so much faith in government, do you not remember your left-wing pride in protesting an American government at war in Southeast Asia, holding the Nixon White House to account for the abuses of Watergate, or calling for an even more recent administration to stand charges for war crimes? This is the same government you would allow to place itself in charge of the Internet?
If you judge it from the perspective of history, it makes no sense at all to always place all your faith in governments over business. All you have to do is look at the last hundred years to see that for every food safety horror and BP oil spill in this world you can find horrors a million times greater, and I mean that literally – horrors a million times greater – that have been perpetrated by governments on humanity.
It’s kind of scary to think that every single totalitarian government in the world has taken control of their people’s access to the Internet, and now our government plans to do the same. Even scarier to see our own government using the exact same rationale as the totalitarian governments, arguing that government control of the Internet is in “the public’s best interest”. Do you seriously doubt we could end up on the slippery slope to Chinese-style control of the Internet, simply becuase it’s OUR government? That OUR government is nothing like the government of the Chinese and how dare anyone question the noble motives of OUR benevolent leaders?
Perhaps it’s best we remind ourselves that this great nation of ours, this shining city upon a hill whose beacon of light guides freedom-loving people everywhere is also the very same country where our second president, John Adams, passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, four laws which were used to impose fines and jail time on people critical of the Adams Administration. Completley unconstitutional and yet it was the law of the land until it expired at the end of Adam’s term.
Perhaps we should also remember that this is the same America where our most beloved president of all presidents, Abraham Licoln, closed newspapers and jailed editors who sympathized with the South.
We’d be well served to also recall that this is also the same America that was home to the authoritarian rule of President Woodrow Wilson and his Sedition Act of 1918 which forbade the use of “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the United States government. With a definition like that, you can nail pretty much anyone you want, can’t you?
Or for more recent history, simply look back on the 2008 campaign where we saw an American news media that was “90% in the tank for Barack Obama.” Those aren’t my words, by the way, those are the words of the former Chairman of the Democrat National Committee, Terry McAuliffe. The media was so head over heels in love that “the coverage of Barack Obama was embarrassing. It was an embarrassment.” Again, those aren’t my words, those are the words of former Democrat Governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, one of the greatest stalwarts of the entire Democrat party. So with 90% of the media in their back pocket, surely you’d think the Obama Administration would be nothing but thankful. Far from it – if you look at all the sniping, griping and complaining the Obama Administration has aimed at Fox News, you’ll see that for this administration, even one questioning voice is one voice too many.
So don’t ever imagine that things would be completely different here with OUR government in control of Internet vs. the reality of every other country where the government controls the Internet. Don’t think it’s laughable to suggest we could end up like China, that it couldn’t happen simply because… well, we’re Americans!
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the governments of countries like Venezuela, Iran and China putting the clamps on their people’s use of the Internet is something totally different and that government control of the Internet could never end up like that in OUR country, because we’ve already seen the kind of authoritarian intolerance for public dissent from our own government many times in 230 short years of history.
Why even put our government in a position where it can be seduced by its own authoritarian temptations in the first place? It’s like driving a crack addict all around the neighborhood where he used to score and then dropping him off at the corner. Net Neutrality is a recipe for an Orwellian Nightmare, pure and simple, and we, as citizens, should do everything humanly possible to keep this great government of ours far, far away from the seductive idea of putting itself in control of the Internet.