When bureaucrats talk about increasing our "access" to x, y or z, what they're really talking about is increasing exponentially their control over our lives. As it is with the government health care takeover, so it is with the newly approved government plan to "increase" Internet "access." Call it Webcare.
By a vote of 3-2, the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday adopted a controversial scheme to ensure "net neutrality" by turning unaccountable Democratic appointees into meddling online traffic cops. The panel will devise convoluted rules governing Internet service providers, bandwidth use, content, prices and even disclosure details on Internet speeds. The "neutrality" is brazenly undermined by preferential treatment toward wireless broadband networks. Moreover, the FCC's scheme is widely opposed by Congress — and has already been rejected once in the courts. Demonized industry critics have warned that the regulations will stifle innovation and result in less access, not more.
Sound familiar? The parallels with health care are striking. The architects of Obamacare promised to provide Americans more access to health insurance — and cast their agenda as a fundamental universal entitlement.
In fact, it was a pretext for creating a gargantuan federal bureaucracy with the power to tax, redistribute and regulate the private health insurance market to death — and replace it with a centrally planned government system overseen by politically driven code enforcers dictating everything from annual coverage limits to administrative expenditures to the makeup of the medical workforce. The costly, onerous and selectively applied law has resulted in less access, not more.
Undaunted promoters of Obama FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's "open Internet" plan to expand regulatory authority over the Internet have couched their online power grab in the rhetoric of civil rights. On Monday, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps proclaimed: "Universal access to broadband needs to be seen as a civil right ... (though) not many people have talked about it that way." Opposing the government Internet takeover blueprint, in other words, is tantamount to supporting segregation. Cunning propaganda, that.
"Broadband is becoming a basic necessity," civil rights activist Benjamin Hooks added. And earlier this month, fellow FCC panelist Mignon Clyburn, daughter of Congressional Black Caucus leader and Number Three House Democrat James Clyburn of South Carolina, declared that free (read: taxpayer-subsidized) access to the Internet is not only a civil right for every "nappy-headed child" in America, but is essential to their self-esteem. Every minority child, she said, "deserves to be not only connected, but to be proud of who he or she is."
Calling them "nappy-headed" is a rather questionable way of boosting their pride, but never mind that.
Face it: A high-speed connection is no more an essential civil right than 3G cell phone service or a Netflix account. Increasing competition and restoring academic excellence in abysmal public schools is far more of an imperative to minority children than handing them iPads. Once again, Democrats are using children as human shields to provide useful cover for not so noble political goals.
The "net neutrality" mob — funded by billionaire George Soros and other left-wing think tanks and nonprofits — has openly advertised its radical, speech-squelching agenda in its crusade for "media justice." Social justice is the redistribution of wealth and economic "rights." Media justice is the redistribution of free speech and other First Amendment rights.
The meetings of the universal broadband set are littered with Marxist-tinged rants about "disenfranchisement" and "empowerment." They've targeted conservative opponents on talk radio, cable TV and the Internet as purveyors of "hate" who need to be managed or censored. Democratic FCC panelists have dutifully echoed their concerns about concentration of corporate media power.
As the Ford Foundation-funded Media Justice Fund, which lobbied for universal broadband, put it: This is a movement "grounded in the belief that social and economic justice will not be realized without the equitable redistribution and control of media and communication technologies."
For progressives who cloak their ambitions in the mantle of "fairness," it's all about control. It's always about control.
Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is email@example.com.