Trump Begins Re-Privatizing the Internet
By: Edward Woodson
One of the most frustrating responses to the Trump presidency has been the willingness of commentators who call themselves conservatives to bash the president on a host of issues while conservatives are racking up more victories than were achieved during the whole eight years of the Bush White House.
From RedState.com founder Erick Erickson to the trained establishmentarians of the New York Times and Washington Post, the media is more than willing to highlight any critic of the president on the right, including those who are advocating for the insane proposition that the president should be removed from office on the basis of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.
Yet, while these Republicans-in-name-only are bashing him, the president has been busy rolling back dozens of Obama-era policies, putting a conservative on the Supreme Court, and pushing the most conservative budget plan that’s ever come out of Washington. But perhaps the most important, yet underappreciated, aspect of the Trump presidency is his desire to unshackle the Internet from the hands of the state.
Since the days of the dial-up modem, the Internet has been a classic example of the benefits of market economics. Thousands of companies have been transformed from start-ups to billion dollar corporations as entrepreneurs discovered niches in the new sector. From AOL to Google and every company in between, the growth of the Internet has fueled a generation of economic opportunity and advancement. Market competition has wired close to all Americans together, with nearly 90% using the Internet today.
The Obama White House charted a course to reverse those gains by enacting policies late in the administration to essentially nationalize the Internet. With barely a protest on the right, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enacted on a strict party line vote on the policy of “Net Neutrality,” a concerted effort to turn the web into a government-run monopoly. The arguments adopted by the FCC were laid out by Marxist professor Robert McCheney, who openly and brazenly declared his desire destroy private telephone and cable companies. “[T]he ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”
Ultimately by placing the control of the web in the hands of the state, the government would be able to control data and content and then subsidize it. Obama officials openly flirted with the notion that the government should force websites to register with the state, so it should not surprise anyone that the FCC — which has a long history of censorship and punishment for content-related matters of television and radio stations — was driving the bus on this issue.
But then Mr. Trump came to town. Congress, emboldened by his victory, took a critical step in rolling back the Obama-era FCC regulation. Using the critical Congressional Review Act (CRA), the House, Senate, and president rejected the FCC scheme to impose strict regulations on Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Now Ajit Pai, new Chairman of the FCC, has set out a laudable goal to reprivatize the internet by eliminating the Net Neutrality provisions adopted by the previous administration. Pai has been harassed by liberal activists and has even been the target of racists attacks just for being intent on restoring Internet freedom. None of this would have happened under a Clinton presidency, but the Trump White House has slowly begun a roll back of an ever-encroaching government and that, more than anything else, is why the left — and some on the right — hate him.
Mr. President, keep up the good work.
Edward Woodson is a lawyer and now host of the nationally syndicated Edward Woodson Show, which airs daily from 3 to 6 pm EST on gcnlive.com.