The left’s misdirection on government Internet censorship

Seton Motley President, Less Government
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In Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

Foolish inconsistency ain’t a whole lot better.

To wit:

Other Ideas Concerning Internet Censorship

… it would be a mistake to adopt the … approach … The problem … is that they go after all the wrong problems …

… There are a whole bunch of issues involved with breaking the Internet and the way it works …

Internet Censorship: Not Today, Not Tomorrow

Internet censorship is coming to America …

Internet Censorship Legislation

Every site with user-generated content, including this one, would be put at risk …

Internet Censorship

Advocacy groups … would launch an immediate constitutional challenge to the bill’s censorship mandates …

There are myriad more citations from whence these came, but you get the idea.

Are these network neutrality-related quotes — culled from conservatives, libertarians and free marketeers concerned about net neutrality’s very dangerous and very obvious threat to the First Amendment?

Ummm, no. They are from far-left outfits.

Those quotes are from Google chairman and President Barack Obama crony Eric Schmidt, Free Press, Firedoglake and Censorship in America, respectively. They’re referring to two bills — the Stop Online Privacy Act and the Protect IP Act — currently wending their ways through Congress.

What have these same joints had to say in the past about the unmitigated free-speech assault that is net neutrality?

A Note to Google Users (Eric Schmidt)

There’s a debate heating up in Washington, DC on … “net neutrality” — and it’s a debate that’s so important Google is asking you to get involved.

… the phone and cable monopolies, who control almost all Internet access, want the power to choose who gets access to high-speed lanes and whose content gets seen first and fastest …

Obama FCC Caves on Net Neutrality — Tuesday Betrayal Assured (Free Press)

Late Monday, a majority of the FCC’s commissioners indicated that they’re going to vote with (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski for a toothless Net Neutrality rule …

…The rule is so riddled with loopholes that it’s become clear that this FCC chairman crafted it with the sole purpose of winning the endorsement of AT&T and cable lobbyists, and not defending the interests of the tens of millions of Internet users …

Fake Net Neutrality Proposal to Get Rubber-Stamped Today (Firedoglake)

Julius Genachowski’s pretend net neutrality plan …

… Genachowski’s own statement … portends the expected disaster. The list of “supporters” of his rule include front groups being paid by the telecoms, and the Communication Workers of America, which has always lined up behind AT&T on net neutrality.

Guest Opinion: Protect Internet From Corporate Censorship (Censorship in America)

… a new draft proposal by the Federal Communications Commission set for a vote today that promises to preserve network neutrality might actually do more harm than good …

…The big telecom companies have claimed network neutrality violates their First Amendment rights by limiting their ability to act as editor of our online experience. But free speech is a two-way street and includes access to information …

… what threatens the Internet’s valuable democratic and participatory nature now isn’t the government, but corporate censorship …

Let us remember that there is literally no such thing as “corporate censorship” — at least as far as the Constitution is concerned. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …” It provides protection only from/against — the government.

You may or may not like what companies at any time do or don’t do. But whatever it is — or is not — it is never a First Amendment violation. By definition.

And as we’ve seen all around the world — in Iran, Egypt, China, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc.  — it is governments that are incessantly in the business of blocking subjects’ access to Internet content.

Domestic leftists, meanwhile, are angry that our government — again, the only constitutionally recognized censorship agent — didn’t, via their illegal net neutrality power grab, grab more anti-First Amendment power over the Internet.

Free Press is suing — to mandate the government impose even greater unauthorized Web authority.

Confused? You should be. The leftists sure seem to be.

In actuality, they’re not. They are in fact intentionally sowing said muddle — to get the anti-free speech, anti-free market, huge-government outcome they want.

Lest we forget, there’s another net neutrality quote:

At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.

This from avowed Marxist and college professor (please pardon the redundancy) Robert McChesney. The Godfather of the Media Marxist media “reform” movement — an anti-First Amendment (as rightly defined) branch of the leftist poison tree.

Media Marxist groups like the aforementioned (McChesney co-founded) Free Press don’t mean “free press” as you and I — or the Constitution — do.

This is all a disingenuous front by these alleged “consumer interest” and “public interest” groups — that are in reality nothing but government interest groups that are seeking to dramatically increase the government’s role — in media, and everything else.

As the McChesney quote clearly indicates.

“Get rid of the … phone and cable companies and … divest them from control.”

Meaning have the government commandeer control of — and eliminate — the free speech, free market Xanadu that is the private Internet.

And leave the Leviathan as your sole Internet Service Provider (ISP).

How is that congruent with a rightly defined free-speech, free-press First Amendment?

Answer: It’s not. Even. Close.

Seton Motley is the president of Less Government and editor in chief of StopNetRegulation.org, a project of the Center for Individual Freedom.