The Tangled Webs We Weave
August 26, 2010 by Ben Crystal
In his recent piece “What Websites Do You Read?” my fellow Bob Livingstonian, Chip Wood, opened a discussion on his favorite off-ramps, rest areas and destinations on the Information Superhighway. The attendant comments section included a plethora of possible places all of you thought worthy of at least a gas’n’go on the trip to enlightenment. Many, if not most, of the sites listed not only by Chip, but also by you denizens of Personal Liberty Digest, were noteworthy for the excellence of content, breadth of subject matter and depth of information. Some were… less so (Dailykos? REALLY?)
No matter the political bent of the site in question, whether it be Personalliberty.com or even barackisahottie.com (or whatever) — if it tickles your fancy, you can find it in cyberspace. In fact, if you can’t find it, and you have opposable thumbs, you can MAKE it. So, good news for you MSNBC devotees, you can get keithnrachel4eva.com up and running whenever you’re ready.
Unless the FCC doesn’t like the idea.
Actually, as of today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can’t stop you from throwing up a website devoted to most anything — even things which aren’t real, like Rachel Maddow’s talent. But, what if a government agency, with fully vested enforcement authority, pulled you over in your sporty new Dell and cited you with a ticket for excessive conservatism? What if they simply closed the off-ramp to your favorite website?
Welcome to the web under Net Neutrality.
Government regulation is like a wedding or Michael Moore behind the counter at a Dunkin’ Donuts; it never gets smaller or less expensive for everyone else. Net Neutrality, as originally conceived, was supposed to ensure equal and unfettered access to the Internet for everyone. An idea designed to guarantee that Internet Service Providers and wired heavyweights couldn’t price smaller companies and content into the broadband slow lane. Net neutrality, in theory, was an okay idea. But in practice it will be a governmental cyber-boot on America’s online neck.
Tuesday afternoon the Second Amendment group Gun Owners of America (GOA) publicly logged off from the net neutrality coalition Save the Internet, citing its potential for government encroachment on information freedom in the age of Obama. According to GOA communications director Erich Pratt:
"Back in 2006 we supported net neutrality, as we had been concerned that AOL and others might continue to block pro-second amendment issues… The issue has now become one of government control of the Internet, and we are 100 percent opposed to that,"
Liberal bloggers rushed to suggest that GOA was actually leaving Save the Internet to avoid association with tinfoil-hat brigades like ACORN and the attack poodles at Moveon.org. But with groups including the Christian Coalition still on the Save the Internet friends’ list, Democrat attacks on the GOA are as empty as the inside of Joe Biden’s cerebral CPU.
Truth be told, the wingnuts have done a better job of leaving their footprints on the web. The monolithic nature of liberal ideology makes the leftist flock easy to herd.
People who think Bill Maher is funny, or consider MSNBC’s primetime lineup a legitimate news source, are easy pickings for digital gurus who wave flashy Internet interaction in front of them. And Net Neutrality in the hands of the FCC plays right into the Obama handbook. Pseudo-academic Joe Palermo, writing on the redoubtably leftist Huffington Post:
“..progressive news and information sites, along with MoveOn.org and other Internet organizing networks, played a key role in this dramatic shift in communications technology away from the Right and toward progressive social change. We need to lock in this advantage.”
Which FCC-controlled net neutrality would do in bank-vault fashion. Much like the not-so-dearly departed Fairness Doctrine (which liberals support), FCC reclassification of the Internet as a type II technology (essentially categorizing it as a telephone service) will open the door to the Feds shifting from addressing web traffic to web content. Given the left’s all-out war on any and all dissent, smearing it as racist, hateful or evil (Nancy Pelosi’s recent call for official investigation into Ground Zero Mosque opposition comes to mind), it would mean that outlets like Personal Liberty Digest could face governmental direction on content, or be relegated to some low-speed, lower-tier Internet backwater.
The left and their media have continually tried to confuse the citizenry with technobabble and double-talk. But FCC Internet regulation represents the ultimate Orwellian fantasy — total information control.
There is a place where net neutrality already exists, although they don’t use such a cavalier moniker. Residents call that place whatever they’re told to. We call it the People’s Republic of China.