The Internet is not safe. Congress wants to regulate it. The most recent idea is to sic the Federal Elections Commission on Net freedom.
Recent hearings on something called the DISCLOSE Act disclosed that the act would “extend the FEC’s control over broadcast communications to all ‘covered communications,’ including the blogosphere.” Or so say the Center for Competitive Politics’ Bradley Smith and Jeff Patch, writing on Reason.com.
It’s hard to imagine a worse idea. No groundswell of citizens demanded this. So of course Congress is considering it.
Would they really try to regulate the blogosphere?
The lead “reformers” in Congress say all they want to regulate are political ads on the Internet, not bloggers. But, as Smith and Patch note, the actual language of the current bill quite clearly leaves open the blogosphere for regulation. They also doubt the good intentions of the would-be regulators, explaining how, in the early days of McCain-Feingold advocacy, “the ‘good government’ crowd . . . denounced a deregulated Internet as a ‘loophole’ in campaign finance law, a ‘poison pill,’ ‘anti-reform’” etc.
How can respectable Americans advocate regulation of speech, as if the First Amendment did not exist? It’s as if they are baffled by plain language: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging freedom of speech, or of the press. . . .”
How can they live with themselves?
For me, it’s a consolation to know that at least censors in Congress can still be thrown out, peacefully, with votes.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.