NET NEUTRALITY UNDONE-The five-member Federal Communications Commission has voted three to two to repeal net neutrality regulations.
The three men who cast their votes in favor of repeal were Republicans Ajit Pai, Brendan Carr, and Michael O’Rielly. You did not elect any of these men. Prior to today you might not have even known the names of two of them. And yet they have made a decision that could potentially have a massive impact on your life and the lives of all Americans.
I do my best to listen to as many different arguments across the political spectrum on important subjects like this one as I can, and in my opinion, there are some substantial arguments being made in favor of the repeal that have yet to be decisively debunked. If you think there are no legitimate arguments against your position on this issue, it’s because you live in an echo chamber.
That said, I remain strongly opposed to the repeal for one simple reason: the vast majority of Americans oppose it. A recent poll from the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation found that 83 percent of Americans favor existing net neutrality regulations, including 75 percent of Republicans. Even if you don’t like that poll I’ve yet to see a single survey that doesn’t make it abundantly clear that this repeal is something the overwhelming majority of Americans do not want, and yet three unelected bureaucrats are ramrodding it down their throats anyway.
If you are a populist, or even someone who just generally believes in democracy, you will see that this is gravely disordered. As someone who believes strongly that humanity would fare far better if the will of the people were allowed to rule rather than the will of an elite class of manipulative sociopaths, I see it as inherently immoral for unelected power to impose an important policy decision on the public against their will.
This to me completely invalidates the FCC’s decision today. Regardless of which side of this issue you are on, the fact of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of Americans are happy with current internet regulations and don’t want them messed with. If the positions were reversed and the vast majority of Americans were saying they wanted to gut the previous administration’s net neutrality regulations and the FCC was refusing to, I’d be saying exactly the same thing. Three unelected officials have no business overriding the will of the public.
It is the responsibility of the minority who wants net neutrality regulations repealed to win the war of ideas in public discourse. The fact that this change is being forced through without the case having first been made to the American people is disturbing; even with its most despicable actions U.S. power structures generally work to try and persuade the American people that they’re invading or bombing this or that country for a very good reason, and they’re not even doing that here. They’re just inflicting a massive policy change on the public without its consent, and this to me suggests that something very shady is happening.
People are right to be extremely guarded about internet regulations. Throughout the history of human civilization access to information has been controlled and manipulated by those in power, countless generations of which have given rise to the profoundly sick power-serving society we find ourselves in today. The invention of the internet gave humanity its first ever access to widespread unhindered democratization of ideas and information, and if we’re ever to overthrow the pernicious power structures which perpetuate the continual omnicidal trend toward war and ecocide which threatens our species with extinction, widespread internet access will surely play a role in that effort.
America’s unelected power establishment is acutely aware of this, which is why attempts to censor the internet on a large scale are becoming increasingly common. So, it’s perfectly understandable that when a former Verizon lawyer becomes Chairman of the FCC and begins aggressively spearheading a crusade to fix a problem Americans didn’t even see as a problem, people will be suspicious. It is the duty of Ajit Pai to win Americans over to his position, not force it down their throats and then whine when he receives death threats for it.
Here is what FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly had to say during the debate about net neutrality in 2015:
“It is important to note that Internet access is not a necessity in the day-to-day lives of Americans and doesn’t even come close to the threshold to be considered a basic human right… People do a disservice by overstating its relevancy or stature in people’s lives. People can and do live without Internet access, and many lead very successful lives.”
Do those sound like the words of someone who is trying to ensure that humanity has widespread internet access to you? This man cast the third and final vote to repeal net neutrality last week.
The internet is the frontier of humanity’s development as a species. Three unelected bureaucrats have no business manipulating it in a way the overwhelming majority of Americans do not want. Regardless of whether they feel internet access should be a human right or not, defending that access undeniably is. People are aware of this. Their rulers’ contempt for them is showing clear as day, and people are becoming aware that they must defend themselves from unelected corporatists who do not serve their interests.
(Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet and utopia prepper who writes on Medium where this piece first appeared. Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.