Two weeks after the Federal Communications Commission voted to regulate the Internet as a utility, the masters of the universe at the FCC, three unelected Democrats, are finally allowing Americans to see the actual order on exactly how they intend to ruin one of the major free speech and free market successes in the world.
Boy, do they have a plan. Their new rules for the Internet requires 313 glorious pages of vague, regulating terminology, allowing the agency to make up the rules as it goes along. Ever since the FCC started sidling up to the Internet like a dirty old man next to a supermodel, conservatives and other free marketeers have been channeling Cassandra, warning the nation that “net neutrality” was a pretext for the FCC to issue regulations putting them in charge of the Internet as a whole. That is just what has happened.
Reason magazine reports, “And yet even though the rules are now available for all to see, it remains somewhat unclear how exactly they will work in practice.” The New York Times notes the FCC is “set to decide what is acceptable on a case-by-case basis. The regulations include a subjective catch-all provision, requiring ‘just and reasonable’ conduct. What counts as ‘just and reasonable’ will, naturally, be up to the whims of the FCC.”
The even more shocking devil is in the details of those 313 heretofore unseen pages.
Sounding the alarm from the beginning of the net neutrality charade has been Phil Kerpen, head of American Commitment, a nonprofit group focusing on the free market, economic growth and personal freedom.
Mr. Kerpen’s Twitter feed was alight last Friday with several remarkable revelations from the FCC order, including the fact that the Internet’s “definition change the FCC adopted domestically is precisely what Russia has been pushing internationally to give U.N. control of the Internet.”
That’s right — what Mr. Obama’s government has just done is codify in the United States what the world’s despots have been furiously working for at the United Nations — an Internet controlled by tyrants and central planners.
I asked Mr. Kerpen what shocked him most upon seeing the full FCC regulation order. “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.”
Only a control-obsessed, fascist government would argue an “Enforcement Bureau” is necessary for the free flow of information. Governments citing fairness, safety and efficiency are just an appetizer as they snuff out that pesky individual freedom you so enjoy. Standing by is always a smug, self-satisfied socialist hiding in the shadows.
Or in this case, an organization referenced 62 times in the FCC’s Internet-molesting tome.
“This order mentions an extremist group called Free Press 62 times,” said Mr. Kerpen. “It’s a group whose founder has said he wants to “remove brick by brick the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles.”
What is this group so relied on by the three Democrat commissioners at the FCC? A 2010 Americans for Prosperity Foundation report discussed the agenda of Free Press, which “has positioned itself as the leading advocate of sweeping new government controls of our communications system, including television, radio, newspapers and the Internet,” with an ideology that “seeks to destroy private ownership of all elements of the communications system, with the goal of collectivizing of our country’s communications, with all of the attendant government control.”
So, what did the full release of the FCC order expose? They have adopted Internet regulations that mirror what tyrants around the world are salivating for at the U.N. Equally disturbing is their reliance on a George Soros-funded, Marxist-influenced organization whose founder advocates destruction of capitalism and government control over communications.
So now it is clear why FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler went to such lengths to hide the details from the American people until their monster was cut loose.
What can we do about it? Mr. Kerpen told me, “We need Congress to step in and pass legislation that blocks this order. The problem right now is no Democrats are willing to break with the White House and incur the wrath of these extremist groups … . So Democrats in Congress need to understand there will be a political price to pay if they sit on their hands and let the FCC implement Obama’s plan. The free-market side needs to put the pressure on.”
His group, American Commitment, is helping to do just that.
With Mr. Wheeler testifying before Congress this week, the time to be heard is now.
• Tammy Bruce is a radio talk-show host, author and Fox News contributor.