February 09, 2011
"I'm totally for small government except when it conflicts with my pet projects."
I got so angry when I saw Glenn's link to a Reason piece about the FCC's latest attempt to regulate the Internet that I had to calm down before I could write a post. That's because the jurisdictional power grab may already be a done deal:
Sickening. The FCC has no congressional authority or jurisdiction over the Internet.
In a very odd coincidence, I was having nightmares about the FCC just last night. There is no better example of an agency which needs to be abolished, yet that does not happen, no matter who is in charge or what the circumstances.
Even when the Republicans have a majority, it seems that THE FCC WILL NOT GO AWAY.
Back in December (when the FCC's threat to Internet freedom was much under discussion) a number of prominent bloggers and journalists were calling for the abolition of the FCC. Ed Morrisey put it well:
That was nearly two months ago, and there's no perceptible movement I can see towards that goal. Instead, the FCC has now deliberately thumbed its nose at the Internet, at bloggers and at libertarians.
With Obama as president, the FCC is in the hands of the left. You'd think that would make it a perfect time for a major push by Republicans to do something about this unconstitutional agency that's now threatening the Internet, right? What could possibly be going on?
Forgive my flight of paranoia, but I think it takes two to work in collusion, and my worry is that support for the FCC is not be limited to the left. As M. Simon pointed out earlier, there are people on the right who think along the following lines:
One of these pet project is a pro-censorship outfit called the Parents Television Council. Founded by prominent social conservative Brent Bozell (a leader of the the CPAC boycott), the organization is literally obsessed with the FCC and jurisdiction, and constantly harangues its members to contact them about this or that show.
Where the PTC stands on Internet censorship, I don't know. However, they do not limit their efforts to broadcast television; they have a major effort devoted to fighting programming they don't like on cable TV. This they disguise as "consumer choice" protectionism. Your cable TV dollars are subsidizing bestiality! And something must be done!
In a manner uncannily reminiscent of the way the left clamors for the FCC to enforce "net neutrality" when they really want the government's foot in the door, the PTC argues that the government should intervene in the market and force cable companies (and DIRECTV) to allow subscribers to pick and pay for only one channel (at a dollar a month). That's about as logical as saying that I shouldn't be "forced" to "subsidize" filthy radio like Howard Stern if I subscribe to, say, XM Satellite Radio, and that I should only have to pay for the programs I actually want to listen to. Access to a medium doesn't come packaged that way.
But if you think that kind of meddling is the government's business, you'll love the FCC and the PTC. And of course the PTC activists would love nothing more than to be in charge of the FCC.
That's how things work.
Some "small government conservatives" like big government.
Especially when it's their big government.
There are plenty of people who would love to make it happen here.
And they are not all on the left.
posted by Eric on 02.09.11 at 12:50 AM
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